Superman isnâ€™t a Jesus analogue because, unlike Jesus, his moral vision is not imposed. The word of Jesus is the word of God and therefore what he says goes, dictation straight from the Almighty. Superman is the exact opposite: a man whose moral vision comes not from a source exterior to humanity but from humanity itself, via Ma and Pa Kent, who are themselves immensely decent people. He ultimately isnâ€™t a received savior, regardless of the origin of his powers; heâ€™s Superman, the apotheosis of what human virtue can be. Heâ€™s an aspirational figure first and foremost.
(…) Superman isnâ€™t Superman because of some tragedy which informed his growth. Pa Kent does not die because of a failure on Clarkâ€™s part â€“ indeed in most versions of the story, Pa dies when Clark is already Superman. Clarkâ€™s knowledge of Krypton doesnâ€™t make him a superhero either; again, this is something he finds out later, too late to traumatize him. Clark is Superman because he decides to be Superman without being prompted. Thatâ€™s more complex and nuanced a story than “somebody did something to me.” Supermanâ€™s story, which informs his entire character, is one of someone who chooses to be good of his own free will and agency, with no influence other than moral upbringing.
This complements my own observation that the best Superman is where Clark Kent is the person and Superman the persona, rather than the way around. I love the moral paragon argument above, but I take a more cynical view that the most interesting Superman stories are ones in which, just like the rest of us, he lapses. Fundamentally, Superman is not Jesus, he’s the opposite as MGK points out. That should also extend to the question of his infallibility. Free will and reason itself are subjective processes, and Superman is Superrational. Which for mankind, isn’t super at all.
An interesting corollary is the question of whether Superman’s goodness is the yin that drives the yang of Luthor’s badness. Read MGK’s essay on Luthor – great analysis of the character, and I fully agree that there’s no villain his equal, because other villains are just… villains.