I have always loved science fiction, and Doctor Who is a great example of sci fi that embraces the human element. Cheesy, campy, goofy – sure. But also charming, heartbreaking, inspiring and wonderful. Just like the newest series of Doctor Who is an updated version of the old silly classic, the Doctor’s story can be seen as a re-imagining of mythology and folklore.
“He's like fire and ice and rage. He's like the night and the storm in the heart of the sun. He's ancient and forever. He burns at the centre of time and can see the turn of the universe. and... he's wonderful.”
Because we’re always telling and retelling stories, right? We’re always reinventing and recreating the same old stories because the same old stories mean a lot to us. Like the Doctor, stories have the same old heroes, just with different faces. So we create these stories and then pretend it’s weird when people Fan Girl about them, but myths and religions are just made-up stories, too. So what’s the difference between the Doctor and Odysseus? Jesus and Harry Potter?
“Who am I then? Nothing...? I'm just a story?”
The Doctor is constantly waking up to realities of the universe all around him. As much as the Doctor has seen all of time and space, there is actually very little he knows about the grand scheme of things.
“Turns out I've had the most terrible things happen. And the most brilliant things. And sometimes, well, I can't tell the difference. They're all the same thing. They're... they're just me. You know, Stephen King said once, he said, 'salvation and damnation are the same thing.' And I never knew what he meant. But I do now.”
The Doctor, although an alien called a Time Lord, struggles with his own humanity. He clings to it and loves it, is disgusted by it, can’t escape it, doesn’t want to escape, must escape.
“The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. Hey. The good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice-versa, the bad things don't necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant.”
Life, to the Doctor, is a beautiful, wondrous gift and blessing. Heaven on Earth, because the Kingdom is here and now. And so is Hell. Tragic, terrible, and awesome.
"Across the entire universe, never stopping, never faltering, never fading. People and planets and stars will become dust. And the dust will become atoms and the atoms will become... nothing. And the wavelength will continue, breaking through the rift at the heart of the Medusa Cascade into every dimension, every parallel, every single corner of creation. *This* is my ultimate victory, Doctor! The destruction of reality *itself*!"
He reminds us that You Are Not Alone. The loneliest man in all of time and space, and he’s not alone, and neither are you.
“When you're a kid, they tell you it's all... grow up. Get a job. Get married. Get a house. Have a kid, and that's it. But the truth is, the world is so much stranger than that. It's so much darker. And so much madder. And so much better.”
And isn’t that what a religious life is all about, anyway?
“Do you wanna come with me? 'Cause if you do then I should warn you, you're gonna see all sorts of things. Ghosts from the past; Aliens from the future; the day the Earth died in a ball of flame; It won't be quiet, it won't be safe, and it won't be calm. But I'll tell you what it will be: the trip of a lifetime.”