Finding Christ in Steven Universe

Top Line2

Being born in a Christian home I believed that anything and everything was complementary to Jesus Christ and Christianity, especially my favorite cartoon series. As I got older and became a believer I realized that almost nothing is complementary to Jesus Christ and Christianity, much less my favorite cartoon series. However because cartoons are essentially fiction I could try to find middle ground between the messages in the series and the message of the Gospel. But after a while I realized that trying to find Christ in entertainment is not only tiresome but often fruitless. Cartoons are made primarily to entertain not edify so any connection I can find to Christianity is more or less a coincidence. Recently however one show has had enough Christian coincidences contained in it that I am compelled to wonder if I’m the only one noticing them. That show is Steven Universe, which is in my opinion, the most awesome cartoon currently in existence.

Show Line

For those who haven’t heard Steven Universe one of the is the newest animated series on Cartoon Network created by Rebecca Sugar; former writer and storyboard artist of the same studio’s popular series Adventure Time. Best described as a coming of age story Steven Universe follows the life and adventures of a boy named Steven as he figures out his place as one of the Crystal Gems; a quartet of heroes who protect humanity by wielding weapons and abilities from the magical gems attached to their bodies. Steven inherited his magical gem from his late mother and throughout the series he learns new abilities while dealing with magical monsters, the Gem’s conflicting personalities, and just being a curious, musically-inclined, always-willing-to-help little boy.

At this point you might be wondering how one could possibly find Christ or Christianity in such a show and at first I didn’t. I only saw a series of magical adventures and a possible middle ground message of “putting away of childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11). That was until the 20th episode that one Christian coincidence made me remember and reconsider the other Christian coincidences that I previously disregarded.

(Warning: The following will have spoilers to elements of Steven Universe)

Caoch Steven Enjoy

In the episode “Coach Steven” the most intellectual and protective of the Crystal Gems, Pearl, is concerned that Steven is too focus on achieving physical strength rather than inner strength. Disheartened, Pearl starts off a musical soliloquy where she eventually states:

“And I want to inspire you
I want to be your rock
And when I talk
It lights fire in you”

The song itself was beautiful as Pearl’s voice actress Deedee Mango-Hall carried the lyrics with such conviction, but what struck me the most was the use of word “rock”. My mind immediately thought of Jesus’ beatitude of building your house on the rock (Matthew 7:24-27), and Jesus himself being the cornerstone of the church. It’s so rare for me to hear the word “rock” used in that way during sermons or worship, much less in a cartoon about a magical boy.

Indirect Kiss Enjoy

Another Christian coincidence was in the episode called “An Indirect Kiss.” After realizing that he doesn’t have his mother’s magical healing tears Steven is worried that he will never be useful to the Crystal Gems and won’t be allowed to be with them because of it. However his lady friend, Connie, reminds him that he doesn’t need powers to be with her and starts leaning in to kiss him. Suddenly Connie twinges in pain and realizes that she can see without her glasses; her eyesight has been healed. It turns out that Connie was taking a drink out of Steven’s juice box and came into contact with his saliva. It is concluded that Steven doesn’t have healing tears but healing spit. At that point I couldn’t help but remember the stories of how Jesus heals the blind; where Jesus uses His spit to restore a person’s sight. (Mark 8:22-25) (John 9)

Aslan Parallel

It was when these coincidences were considered that I reassembled a collection of coincidences that form together what I like to call the “Aslan Parallel.” In C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, Alsan was the name of a sentient lion who was a literary metaphor for Jesus. During a Crystal Gem mission in a desert Steven befriends a lion, who he also names Lion, who has some very interesting characteristics. Although Lion was found in the wild he is actually tame. While technically being Steven’s pet Lion only selective obeys Steven’s commands, only helps Steven in dire moments, and mostly wonders off doing whatever he wants. While giving Steven and Connie a ride Lion takes a detour into the nearby ocean revealing that he can walk on water. Aside from being able to open teleportation portals and smash structures with his magical roar, Lion can deliver a magical sword to Steven by taking a royal bow and having the sword emerge out of his head. So just to recap: Lion is a tame lion, who does what he wants but helps in dire times, and can walk on water. All that Lion needs now is to have the sword emerging out of the mouth instead of his head and have a voiced played by Liam Neeson for the parallels to be complete on an almost transcendent level.

To be clear

To be clear I am not suggesting that there is direct Christian influence in the creation of Steven Universe. For all I know the “I want to be your rock” line was inspired by Beyoncé’s “You are my Rock” while the healing spit and “Aslan Parallel” are just whimsical hodgepodge ideas created for the sake of humor and entertainment. Not to mention that most of the episodes have almost no middle ground connections to Jesus Christ or Christianity. The newest episodes, “Mirror Gem” and “Ocean Gem,” are long awaited epic moments of action with hints of greater adventures to come. These coincidences are as superficial as the Zeitgeist Movement’s Christianity-to-Paganism connections, and are merely speculations born from the mind of a Christian fanatic. What I am trying to say is that it is rather amazing that a cartoon show that engages me in every secular way actually reminds me of Jesus Christ and Christianity. I am also gratified to realize that Jesus didn’t need to be referenced directly in order for me to be reminded of Him; a factor that I plan to implement in any future artistic endeavors. However I do hope that at least one member of the staff at Cartoon Network is at least aware of these Christian coincidences. I can’t be the only one who notices them.

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21 comments

  1. 30and11 · October 27, 2014

    This post is just what I was looking for! my son just recently found out about Steven Universe and I’m usually very wary of anything coming from cartoon network and wasn’t familiar with this series. Your review was super helpful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • artisticlayman · October 27, 2014

      Technically this isn’t a review but I’m glad you found it helpful. Thanks.

      Like

  2. Alex · December 8, 2014

    muahahaha. Let me savor the experience of being the one to inform you that steven universe is HEAVILY new aeon/witchcraft. How did you think the part about the lunar temple with the moon goddess pertained to christ. Even the way they explain magic in the cartoon is actually based on advanced techniques known to thelemites and chaos magicians. Not surprising since the creator comes from adventure time, a hotbed of magical symbolism, and some magic thats not so symbolic and very much verbatim witchcraft, i.e. everything peppermint butler does.

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  3. Alex · December 8, 2014

    not to mention the obvious fact that gems are BASIC terrestrial magical tools used by FREAKIN ALL WITCHES

    Like

    • ArtisticLayman · December 8, 2014

      “To be clear I am not suggesting that there is direct Christian influence in the creation of Steven Universe.” These are coincidences that I noticed and since they are not worshiping the devil or nature (or anything for that matter) the show is about as which craft oriented as Harry Potter.

      Like

  4. Imagine Jones · March 17, 2015

    “Cartoons are made primarily to entertain not edify so any connection I can find to Christianity is more or less a coincidence.” There’s nothing edifying about a religion that teaches it’s ok for the innocent to pay restitution for the guilty. (Blood sacrifices to appease Jehovah)

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  5. Anon · April 12, 2015

    There is also a lot of open minded social messages trough, if I am not mistaken the creators apparently put gay couples in the background as a shout-out towards its growing GBLT fanbase and as Steven can fuse with the other female characters and be comfortable in that role it also allows for a variety of different interpretations and the implied crush Pearl had on Rose . I dont have any problem with this I think for some children this might be refreshing but I know some Christians might find this alarming but I still hope they will give this cartoon a chance

    Like

    • artisticlayman · April 14, 2015

      I’m not aware of with any gay couples in the background.

      The messages are very alarming indeed though I am hoping that I can still enjoy the show anyway.

      Although oddly enough most of the young kids I meet through my family don’t really watch it.

      Like

      • anon · April 24, 2015

        Even more than that, the creators had stated on the internet that all gems (except Steven because he’s part human) don’t have a gender since they are sexeless aliens.

        Appart from the agender/trans representation, in the season finale it was revealed that Garnet was a fusion all along (that’s why she has two gems). She’s really two separate gems that are so in love that prefer to be fused all the time than being appart for one second. Like all other gems of the show, both look very feminine (and have female voice actors), so they could really be interpreted as a lesbian couple (I guess that some dubs would use a male voice actor for the red gem, the one that’s a little more masculine, to pass the character as male).

        The show it’s still enjoyable, but it is indeed alarming that so many children’s shows have LGBT characters on them now (Jeff mothers on Clarence, Korra and Asami from Avatar, Princess Bubblegum and Marceline from Adventure Time, Ruby and Sapphire forming Garnet on Steven Universe and the gems being agender/non binary).

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      • Anon · April 24, 2015

        It’s not alarming trough I think a lot of Christian families would find this a best way to tell children that other families exist. I know a gay couple who are raising a child together how am I doing to tell my child this without making it into a black/white thing? it’s not such a problem with other families because there are Muslim children. children raised by Atheist parents all in the school so that isn’t a huge issue. But a gay family is pretty rare and I find this cartoon explaining homosexuality with subtle the best way to do this. It isn’t being forced it isn’t being talked about the entire time and it isn’t show in graphic it just shows that different people exist and we need to accept that.

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  6. Anon · April 24, 2015

    Have you seen season 2? it’s been officially confirmed that Garnet is a fusion of two Gems who are according to the Steven Universe website are both Feminine and in a recent episode they are confirmed to be in a relationship. Probally the closest thing a show on Cartoon Network confirms to have a lesbian paring. I really suggest this might be an eye opener to learn to children about different families as well.

    Like

  7. Michael Cline · July 24, 2015

    Careful, acceptance of this show is creeping far too close to tolerance and unconditional love for modern American Christianity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sarah Smith · December 26

      Chrstians, espeically in cities and near them, are a lot more Christian than the hateful protectivists who use religion as a weapon and an excuse to back up their insecurities. I’m mostly familiar with Catholics who have long recognized the inconsistencies in Jesus’ teachings when held up next to the churches stances. People who have been open to homosexuals, people who ARE homosexuals, and people of all colors, and people who don’t believe people of other religions should be shunned or hated. People who believe in the all embracing love.

      Like

  8. Missmeliss · August 9, 2015

    Found this article interesting but since recent episodes in season 2, with a very romantic kiss between ruby and sapphire who make up garnet, it has become obvious there are definitely lesbian relationships. It seemed sisterly in season one, but I wonder if you have seen these recent episode in season 2 and maybe changed your opinions some?

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  9. Pingback: Steven Universe and Christianity | Rantings from inside my head
  10. Blue Lense · August 13, 2016

    Ignoring the can of worms that is Fusion. I see something that is deeply woven into the narrative, and that is the overarching theme of reconciliation. As of the two part special “Bismuth” Steven shows a complete aversion to lethal measures and has sought to understand and befriend his enemies throughout the series. This show has thus far taught that reconciliation is not easy, and it won’t always work, but it should always be pursued, and that is at the heart of the gospel.

    Like

  11. Shelley Wellington · August 23

    I think the Christian allegory runs a lot deeper than this. Compare the lyrics of the opening theme, for instance:
    “We are the crystal gems / We’ll always save the day / and if you think we can / we’ll always find a way.”
    with:
    “For God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

    The reading of Steven as a Christ-figure is further reinforced by his status as a human/gem “hybrid”, much like Christ is supposed to have both divine and human natures. Rose (the “father”–well, mother, but let’s not split hairs) became incarnate in the form of the son, Steven. One can plausibly find the “holy spirit” in the form of the magical powers contained in his gem and in the gems of the other Crystal and Homeworld gems. Or something.

    Beyond this, the “message” of the show is very Christian–in an elemental sort of way. Steven’s interactions with the humans of Beach City (and even the Gems themselves) is redolent of the teachings of Jesus as portrayed in the Gospels. Steven encourages love, forgiveness, moral courage, generosity, concern for the weak and marginalized, etc.

    I could go on. The show can be read very successfully (although not seamlessly) as some sort of Christian allegory, and there are many more examples, both superficial and more meaningful, that one can use to back up this claim.

    But this is not to say that this was at all intentional–I don’t believe that it was. Rebecca Sugar, after all, is Jewish, and there is nothing that leads me to believe she has any particular interest in Christian theology/myth. Nevertheless, I find it encouraging to think that people who may be predisposed to Christian modes of religious observance may find Steven Universe an inspiration for drawing the most positive and socially beneficial lessons from their faith and discourage “fundamentalist” beliefs that tend to obscure these messages.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Caitlin · December 9

    I just started watching Steven universe and I was reminded of the same things! I’m so glad I found this article!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Sarah Smith · December 26

    It occurred to me the other day also Catholic literally means Universal. ❤

    Like

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