Pop Culture and the Normalizing of Anti-religion


For some time, I’ve seen trends in the way pop culture turns society’s values upside down. TV has become a favorite vehicle for this process.

First comes humor or sympathetic inuendo, then regularity, and eventually a politically correct attitude and legal protection.

Take abortion for example. First came the stories of back alley abortions. In this case, legal protection came next. Then regularity, or normalcy, followed by a politically correct attitude that sneers at pro-life.

Or pornography. First “adult bookstores” and people that frequented them were joked about. Then TV programs like Cheers and Friends normalized viewing porn, and now it is considered free speech and protected by our constitution.

Go back further to divorce which once was considered something shameful. Along come shows like The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family, and we started talking about blended families as a normal part of the culture. Laws that once limited who could file for divorce soon became “no fault,” and now it is a rare occurrence even for a pastor to suggest divorce is something God hates.

We could go on to sex outside marriage or gay rights or animal rights or spanking children or any number of topics. You get the idea.

Well, the latest subject under attack is … God. Or so it would seem. A new movie is out, starring a good number of A-list actors, called The Invention of Lying. Today our paper (the Whittier Daily News) ran a review. The premise, it seems, is innocuous enough. The characters in the story world do not know about lying. Consequently everyone tells the truth, all the time (no fiction or tact—evidently, “telling the truth” means a person has to say whatever is on his mind). Until one loser writer invents lying.

At that point, however, the movie, according to the review, turns from silly to thoughtful because it begins to address The Biggest Lie—religion—exploring what that one lie can do to help or limit the human race.

Did you catch that? This is not a discussion about whether religion is a lie or not. That, apparently, is a given. We’re moving on, in other words, in the cultural upheaval process, to normalizing this belief.

Coincidentally, I saw something similar, albeit on a smaller scale, last night on a TV show called Lie to Me. Two of the “good guys” were sent to a cult to see if the leader was perpetrating tax fraud. In the process, one of the good guys makes a disparaging comment about prayer or God—I don’t remember which. The other good guy said, What’s wrong with praying when you need help? Good guy #1 says any other time people talk to someone who isn’t there, it’s called delusional. Then the show moved on.

The statement sat there unchallenged.

Seems I remember hearing that book buyers need to hear the title of a book seven times before it really starts to register. I wonder if it’s the same with “God is a lie.”

How long before our culture is adding to the “truth bucket,” alongside such fallacies as gays are cool, God is a lie and so is religion?

Published in: on October 6, 2009 at 4:07 pm  Comments (7)  
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