The Gospel according to The Simpsons, Bigger and Possibly Even Better!
The Simpsons is one of the longest running, funniest, most irreverent, and, according to some religious leaders, the most theologically relevant show on television today. Journalist Mark Pinsky explores the religious and spiritual aspects of Bart, Homer, and the rest of cartoon’s first family––a show strongly denounced by many conservative Christians back in 1989, but now viewed favorably by fans from all across the theological spectrum.
Pinsky looks at the use of God, Jesus, heaven and hell, the Bible, prayer in the Simpson household, the evangelistic next-door neighbor Ned Flanders, and the town’s church and pastor, Rev. Lovejoy. He also discusses whether the character of Lisa is the voice of Jesus, and explores the many moral dilemmas that the characters, in particular Bart and Homer, face. Pinsky concludes with a discussion that suggests that, on the whole, The Simpsons is supportive and not subversive of faith. This is must reading for any Simpsons’ fan, and an insightful exploration of how religion and faith influences popular culture.
The Gospel according to The Simpsons, Bigger and Possibly Even Better! Edition: Leader’s Guide for Group Study
Introducing a complete revision of the study guide to the best-selling book The Gospel according to The Simpsons, complete with new studies on episodes of The Simpsons as well as studies for discussing other popular animated comedies such as Family Guy, King of the Hill, and Futurama.
The Springfield Reformation: The Simpsons, Christianity, and American Culture
Initially shunned by many in the Christian community when it made its television debut almost twenty years ago, after four hundred (and counting) episodes, and a feature-length film, few can deny that The Simpsons exhibits an astute understanding of Christianity in American culture. Its critiques of that culture are worth studying in detail. Jamey Heit’s The Springfield Reformation investigates how The Simpsons blends important elements of contemporary American religious culture with a clear critique of the institutions and individuals that participate in and uphold that culture. Though The Simpsons is clearly a product of American popular culture, its writers offer up a well-planned, theologically informed religious climate in the cartoon world of Springfield. This world mirrors America in a way that allows the show’s viewers to recognize that Christianity can hold together a family and a town that is rife with “sin,” while at the same time exposing these very shortcomings.
Heit focuses on distinct topics such as: god, the soul/the afterlife, prayer, the Christian ethic, evangelism, science versus religion, and faith (particularly in response to the question of why bad things happen to good people). He also explores the connections between various episodes, discussing how these connections, manifest an honest critique of Christianity in America. Engagingly written and guaranteed to appeal to smart, religiously curious fans of the show, Heit maintains that The Simpsons is not only a legitimate theological voice, but also that this voice offers a valuable addition to discussions about Christianity in America.
The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D’oh! of Homer (Popular Culture and Philosophy)
This unconventional and lighthearted introduction to the ideas of the major Western philosophers examines The Simpsons — TV’s favorite animated family. The authors look beyond the jokes, the crudeness, the attacks on society — and see a clever display of irony, social criticism, and philosophical thought. The writers begin with an examination of the characters. Does Homer actually display Aristotle’s virtues of character? In what way does Bart exemplify American pragmatism? The book also examines the ethics and themes of the show, and concludes with discussions of how the series reflects the work of Aristotle, Marx, Camus, Sartre, and other thinkers.
Exploring religion in film, the spirituality of television shows, and meaning found within popular culture.
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