Over the course of Doctor Who, the Doctor has had many names, been called by many titles. The Oncoming Storm, the Predator, great warrior, Sweetie, the Raggedy Man, clever boy, lonely angel, the lonely god, the Time Lord Victorious. The Doctor is someone people have died for, without hesitation or regret. People have prayed to him for salvation, have wondered why he doesnt come. Hes even appeared in church iconography. There was an article on Cracked.com a while back, called How Doctor Who Became My Religion. The author said of the Doctor that I mean the Doctor is a god. But one we can see and understand. And he loves us more than all the other creatures in the universe. He would die for us, but what he really wants to do is live with us. And this, to him, was good because it meantThere is the possibility of a god who roots for us, loves us, and grieves for us just like the Doctor. Does all this make him a god?
What Do We Call A God?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the lowercase definition of a god is a being or object believed to have more than natural attributes and powers and to require human worship. So the question becomes: does the Doctor fit this definition? He certainly has more than natural attributes and powers. His mind moves so quickly we cant even follow it. He can travel through time, can stop armies, can save people and shake societies to their core. Does he require worship? Thats a trickier question. In The God Complex, the Doctor told Amy that he took her with him because he was vain, because I wanted to be adored. One interpretation of the Companion-Doctor relationship is indeed that he requires a sort of hero-worship. And the Tenth Doctor once told a cat-nun that there was no higher authority, that if he declared what she was doing was wrong, it was wrong. Could that be requiring worship? Even if the Doctor doesnt require worship, he certainly receives it. In The Last of the Time Lords, the Doctor was able to defeat the Master through the power of prayer (and some science mumbo-jumbo). In Journeys End, the Doctor was brought to Earth by the combined prayers of his friends. And both Amelia Pond and the boy in Night Terrors met the Doctor when he answered their prayers for help. The darkest facet of worship is sacrifice, and the Doctor is certainly the recipient of sacrifice. Any companion who travels with the Doctor sacrifices their chance at a normal life completely. He will always own a portion of their souls. Many of them literally lose the life they had before, as did Rose, Martha, and Amy. Donna sacrificed her mind, Clara sacrificed her life, River sacrificed her everything. Plenty of one-shot characters have sacrificed their lives to the Doctor too. So the Doctor has the powers of a god, and he is (functionally at least) worshiped as a god. So he is, basically, a god. What does that mean, then?
Rebecca Kulik lives in Iowa, reads an obsence amount, watches way too much television, and occasionally studies for her BA in History. Come by her personal pop culture blog at tyrannyofthepetticoat.wordpress.com and her reading blog at journalofimaginarypeople.wordpress.com.