~ 21 September 2003 ~

Pop Goes Religion

A New York Times article on the upcoming new television season highlights the increased spirituality that is evident in this fall’s lineup:

Today’s spurt of spirituality, at least the kind expressed by DMX, the rapper who ends his concerts with a prayer to Jesus, seeks a cozier, more direct connection to God: open, low-maintenance and not bound by strict orthodoxy, be it Roman Catholic or Buddhist.

“Joan of Arcadia” takes that homily to heart. Joan is a typical teenager (smart-mouthed, moody, underachieving), and God appears to her in human forms she — and TV audiences — can readily accept: a cute teenage boy, the school cafeteria lady and the local TV news anchor.

It seems that pop spirituality always likes to package God in a form they can accept–a form quite contrary to the God who is presented in the Bible. The God presented in the Bible is anything but cozy and manageable, so he need not apply for the latest pop culture deity openings.

There’s something that really bothers me about depictions of God by any actor. It’s one thing for someone to play Jesus in a Passion film, but for someone to play God the Father seems wrong. This bothered me when I saw clips as a child of the George Burns “God” movies and has continued to the present-day Bruce Almighty, a film which I have not seen.

Regarding Bruce Almighty, I’ve had many Christians tell me that it is a really good film and that it doesn’t depict God in a bad light. Granted that I have not seen the film and am speaking only from a perception of the film based on reviews and previews, my question is how can any person, much less Morgan Freeman, reflect the glory due the creator of the universe in way that is not dimished? After all, are we not to make for ourselves an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth (Exodus 19:4)?

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