Whovianism: Doctor Who As A Religion?
Guest contributor Nina Madsen wonders if Doctor Who can be a religion.
How do we define religion? Going to some important building and hearing stories from an old book about a big man in the sky? A way of understanding the universe? In both cases, Doctor Who could very well be described as a religion. We watch the show, we admire and adore the Doctor, and we lose ourselves in the mysterious, fictional universe.
But if Doctor Who was to be looked upon as a religion, who would then be God? The Doctor, of course. As we’ve seen on the show, the Doctor would die for us; he would sacrifice almost anything to save just one human being; he would go to extreme lengths to save the Earth.
Of course, there is the question whether or not any “Whovians” (Doctor Who fans) actually believe that there is a real Doctor, a real TARDIS, parallel universes and all that jazz. I’ve seen pictures in which someone claims that the Doctor, his companions, or the TARDIS appears in the picture – the Eleventh Doctor (played by Matt Smith) sitting next to The Beatles, the faces of the Ninth Doctor (played by Christopher Eccleston) and companion Rose Tyler (played by Billie Piper) appearing on the “V-J Day in Times Square” photograph. Some of these are edited, like the latter, some of them are probably just coincidences, but some people might believe that they’re real.
It’s actually all about perception and belief. If one believes in all of this, you would have to believe in time travel. Time travel is at the centre of everything Doctor Who is. And as the world is, we know that right now there is no way that time travel is possible, at least not to mankind. It depends on how you look at it, though. Really, we all travel in time. Every year we all move forward a year, but there are theories – like Albert Einstein’s Special Relativity theory – about travelling through space at the speed of light for what you would perceive as 5 years, then returning to the people who’ve been living 50 years on Earth at normal speed. You would only have aged 5 years, and they would’ve aged 50. That is technically time travel; it’s just not possible yet.
Of course, this isn’t how the Doctor travels in time, he uses the TARDIS, wormholes, vortex manipulators, etc., but believers of the Doctor Who religion might believe that these will be the future means of time travel. Or that they exist somewhere already, far away. This brings me on to the next point:
Many find it hard to wrap their minds around the fact that the universe is infinite, but it’s a rather universally accepted scientific fact, and if we believe that it’s infinite, isn’t it only common sense to also believe that there are living creatures on other planets than Earth? What are the odds that in an infinite universe, the only place that the planet is the right distance from the sun, the only place that there is gravity would be the Earth? I wouldn’t bet on it.
There are other civilizations out there, other species, which means it makes all the more sense to believe that the Doctor Who universe is a possibility. In fact, in Doctor Who, practically the only civilization that isn’t aware of all the other planets and species is the human civilization, so maybe the religious Whovians believe that we are all unaware that the Doctor Who universe is our universe, and they made the show to perfectly disguise this fact. Because who would believe that a Science Fiction show was actually telling the truth of the universe?
I’ve read a few blog posts written and discussed by people who believe that Doctor Who is a religion. One of them mentioned that: “Watching Doctor Who is like having a relationship with God.” This man was convinced that even though he hadn’t watched more than a few episodes of the show, it had brought him the answer to the question of God. And there are more than this one man. Whovianism is well on its way to becoming a real religion. Will you join?