Aug 15, 2005

The Simpsons and Christian Pluralism

Did anybody see The Simpsons last night? A very interesting episode. Though thoroughly hilarious as usual, its message was a bit disturbing--though I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Homer and Bart were in the process of converting to Catholicism (with their priest played appealingly by Liam Neeson), while Marge, Ned Flanders, and Rev. Lovejoy are desperately trying to keep them from falling into the errors of "popery."

After the rip-roaring rescue of Bart by taking him to a Protestant theme park ("The Catholics don't have anything like this!"), the episode ends with Bart asking why the Protestants and Catholics can't just get along and accept each other. After all, they're all Christians and their differences are minor points of doctrinal minutia.

Though seeming to uphold the value (perhaps even truth) of the Christian faith, the episode not-so-subtly teaches that doctrinal truth doesn't matter, and that the 500 year-old dispute between Catholics and Protestants was/is trivial. Wrong on both counts.

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