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Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Doctor Who as a Religion? Pt. 2

In my last post asserting that Whovianism can be a religion, I discussed the community aspect of Whovianism. This time, I will cover two "requirements" of religion: central stories/myths and ethics.

Central Stories/Myths: Stories that help explain the beliefs of a group these are told over and over again and sometimes performed by members of the group. They may or may not be factual.

In Whovianism, the central stories/myths requirement is easily fulfilled. Whovianism has its roots in the TV show and the EU (expanded universe, not European Union). I don't think I really need much more explanation of how Whovianism has stories that are central to its existence. One thing I will add is that not all the episodes are "central" stories. Let's be honest, some episodes, especially from Classic Who are somewhat like filler. Then, there are the episodes/series like "Trial of a Time Lord" and all the regeneration episodes that are so important. These episodes pave the way for major plot points and are usually two-parters (or more), like "Silence in the Library" and "Forest of the Dead" (introduction [and death] of River Song), but can sometimes be one part, like "Blink". Most people who call themselves Whovians (this craze of DWeeks is not even worthy of me addressing at all) re-watch the episodes multiple times. Some of us would argue that these stories are real--can you prove that Ten didn't cause Pompeii?

That brings us to Ethics. 

Ethics: Rules about how to behave; these rules are often thought to come from a deity or supernatural place, but they might also be seen as guidelines created by the group over time.

The Doctor governs himself by strict rules, but even he is flawed and can break his rules. "Good men don't need rules, today is not the day to find out why I have so many of them," he says in "A Good Man Goes to War". Some of his principals include non-violence (especially guns), acceptance of life in all its forms, and helping others.
As my co-blogger, Seth, would say, the Doctor doesn't always stick to his rules. Seth highlights that the Doctor has used guns, but I will say that it is rarely--possibly never--to kill. A favourite example is Ten's water-gun in "Fires of Pompeii", and my rebuttal is that it didn't actually cause death to the High Priestess (that we know), it just stung.
I think that the Doctor's code of ethics and how he follows them is very important to understand if someone is going to say that their religion is Whovianism. One must understand that we cannot blindly follow the Doctor. Just as he has, we must sometimes say that his actions were wrong, but seemed right in the heat of the moment, or was the only way to avoid his own demise. Questioning the Doctor's actions is, and must be, at the heart of religious Whovianism

As a "fandom" we do have rules set for ourselves that we generally are pretty good at obeying. Because we are largely and online phenomena, some of these rules are just netiquette, but there are other things that aren't, like how it is largely understood that we have an obligation to help our fellow fans in times of need. My prime example of this is a personal one. An admin of a Doctor Who Facebook page posted something about her troubles with depression, etc. and as someone who has also struggled with that I had to sort of commiserate with her. It is noted that many young fans are drawn to DW because of the Doctor's emotional state, especially post Last Great Time War.

Please comment--I'd love to hear your thoughts of this!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

The Clock Strikes Twelve: The Twelfth Doctor is...

...Peter Capaldi

The death of one Doctor and the introduction of another, is always an awkward time. There will be people who hate the new actor, there will be people who love him right off the bat. Some people will need a bit convincing, but no matter who steps through that door tonight, all that can be asked of us, is that we give him a chance.
People did not like it when Peter Davison sat up after Tom Baker, people raged against Colin Baker, people quite after Sylvester McCoy, people dismissed Paul McGann, people rolled their eyes at the leather wearing Christopher Eccelston, people criticised the antics of David Tennant, people judged Matt Smith on his age.

Even if you hate this new Doctor, and you think there is no going back, know this. In what seems like the blink of an eye (but, um, don't blink), we'll have another. That is how Doctor Who works.