Most people know that Superman has myriad physical abilities, like super strength and flight, but his religious beliefs are also a superpower.
Warning! Contains spoilers for Batman/Superman: the best in the world #3!
While most people know SupermanEqually important to the character are the more flashy superpowers, like his super strength and invulnerability, the Man of Steel’s religious beliefs. They help reinforce the character’s strong moral code, but they can also have a more practical use in battle. So they can even give him an edge over other unbelieving heroes like Batman.
Although both of his creators were Jewish, Superman was raised a Christian by his parents, the Kents. However, despite this, he does not believe in the exact restrictions of religion. Based on everything he’s encountered in his heroic career, Superman believes in some kind of God or higher power. But it seems that he doesn’t believe in the God of any specific religion, which frees him from having to believe in other commonly accepted religious beliefs, such as the existence of a hell.
In Batman/Superman: the best in the world #3, written by Mark Waid with art by Dan Mora, Felix Faust traps Superman, Batman, and Billy Batson in an illusory version of Hell. While Batman is overwhelmed by the illusion, Superman on the other hand is quite calm, allowing him to find where Faust is hiding and put an end to his magic. Batman later realizes that the reason Superman was able to keep his cool was because he didn’t believe in Hell, which allowed him not to be fooled by Faust’s trick.
Although he uses his superhearing to discover Faust’s location, what allows him to see through the illusion is his deep faith that God would not create a cruel afterlife full of eternal suffering. Given how often supervillains try to trick superheroes into thinking they’re in hell, Superman’s religious belief that hell doesn’t exist is extremely helpful. Also, since Superman is generally vulnerable to magic, it’s especially important that the strength of his conviction can bolster his defenses against a tactic commonly used by magic users. It also gives him an edge over other superheroes, who may not share Superman’s belief. Although Batman is an atheist in DC Comics and therefore doesn’t believe in Hell either, the Dark Knight is still unable to see through Faust’s illusion. Thus, he does not have the same certainty in his religious beliefs as Superman. This shows that mere belief is insufficient to break through this kind of illusion magick. It takes abnormally strong faith, such as Superman possesses, to have conviction powerful enough not to be deceived.
Superman’s religious belief is part of what makes him such an amazing superhero. While his superpowers allow Clark to fight off threats far beyond what a normal human could face, his beliefs in righteousness and morality are what truly make him a hero. Without such a devotion to morality and justice, Superman would be far more likely to believe that an unjust and cruel hell like the one Felix Faust showed him exists. Although Superman’s son Jon may be an atheist in DC’s future, it’s clear that faith is important to Clark. SupermanThe religious belief Hell doesn’t exist is part of what gives him the strength to fight through this kind of villainous deception and is therefore even more important than his more physical superpowers.
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Batman/Superman: the best in the world #3 is available now from DC Comics.
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