Harley Quinn + The Joker = True Love?



(The FreeThinking Theist)


December 13, 2016

Does Harley Quinn really love the Joker? As many of you know, I love comic books and although I do not purchase them any longer (at least on a regular basis), I still try to keep up with many of the story lines and hit most of the movies in which my favorite childhood heroes are portrayed.

I have always loved Batman. One thing is for certain: Batman would not be nearly as cool if it were not for the crazy criminals that he fights to keep Gotham City safe. Of all the villains Batman has ever faced, the Joker is arguably the most sinister.

A relative newcomer to the DC Comics universe is a woman named, “Harley Quinn.” Some have described the love she has for the Joker as unmatched. In fact, many think the love she has for the Joker is the epitome of love! This relationship was portrayed in the recent movie “Suicide Squad.” Indeed, Harley longs to be with the Joker and seems to be willing to do anything to be in his arms. Harley Quinn demonstrates that she lives for the Joker, she is willing to die for the Joker, and she is willing to kill for the Joker. Her life revolves around the Joker and she is devoted to following him no matter the costs!

Many guys can only imagine what it would be like to have a beautiful woman willing to do anything to be next to them. Most would love to know what it is like to know the kind of love the Joker knows.

Or does the Joker know?

Although it has been said that Harley Quinn and the Joker are a great example of true love, I think this relationship is the farthest thing from it. In fact, this relationship makes me sick to my stomach! I contend that this relationship is not true love at all; rather, it is the epitome of evil.

You see, according to the Suicide Squad movie, the Joker kidnapped and brainwashed Harley against her will. The Joker forced himself upon her and causally determined her to be unable to resist him. Left to Harley’s own devices, she would always reject the Joker if given a choice, but the Joker took any ability away from her to choose otherwise. She has been manipulated, she has suffered psychological trauma, and she has been raped against her will (even though the Joker has forced her to think and act in accords to his will).

You see, the Joker has no idea what it truly means to be loved. All he has is a kidnapped woman who has no choice but to follow him. She literally has no ability to do otherwise — she is basically no more than a programmed robot.

Now, I’m sure the Joker would have preferred it if Harley Quinn would have freely chosen to love and follow him as that would have brought him more glory, but since she would not freely choose to be with the Joker, he had to force himself upon her against her will. The Joker simply became “irresistible” as she had her ability to resist stolen from her. Now she has no ability but to follow him and utter the words “I love Mr. J.”

This relationship is not the paradigm of love as many comic book junkies imagine. No, true love requires a legitimate and genuine choice on the part of both parties involved. Both persons must freely choose to enter into a romantic marriage relationship for it to count as true love. Otherwise, the most a person could hope for is something akin to Stockholm Syndrome. But that is not true love; rather, Stockholm Syndrome is psychological trauma. This is not true love — this is pure evil!

Surprisingly, many Christians (not to mention Muslims) have a view of God like that of the Joker. They contend that you and I have no choice in regards to if we will follow God or not. Many theologians incorrectly think that God does something to certain individuals in which these people then become incapable of anything other than following Him. Indeed, they refer to this as “irresistible grace.”

Some Christians suggest that humans still possess something called “compatibilistic free will” and are still responsible for their beliefs and behaviors even though God causally determines all  of their thoughts, wants, and desires which guarantees certain actions. Some would say this is exactly what the Joker did to Harley Quinn, and that Harley “freely” loves and follows the Joker although she is incapable of doing otherwise. On this view, however, God is worse than the Joker because God is ultimately responsible for every person’s wants and desires which guarantees every person’s thoughts and actions, and then God holds everybody eternally responsible and accountable for things He was actually responsible for.

God is not like the Joker. God is a Maximally Great Being, the paradigm of goodness, and is perfectly loving to all people. God wants a true love relationship with each of us and invites us to freely love and follow Him. Unlike the Joker, you see, God is a gentleman. He loves us unconditionally and invites you and I to love Him in return. Unlike Harley Quinn, you have a choice to love God into eternity, or to divorce yourself from Him forever.

Unlike Harley Quinn, you are genuinely responsible for your thoughts (2 Cor 10:5) and your following actions (1 Cor 10:13).

Stay reasonable (Isaiah 1:18),

Tim Stratton


Thank you to Suzanne Stratton (my mom) for the awesome artwork!


About the Author



(The FreeThinking Theist)

Timothy A. Stratton (PhD, North-West University) is a professor at Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary. As a former youth pastor, he is now devoted to answering deep theological and philosophical questions he first encountered from inquisitive teens in his church youth group. Stratton is founder and president of FreeThinking Ministries, a web-based apologetics ministry. Stratton speaks on church and college campuses around the country and offers regular videos on FreeThinking Ministries’ YouTube channel.

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