I was reading the beginning of this discussion:

But Religion Gives People Hope and Comfort...

And I've been noticing the religion in TV shows a lot more lately too - almost EVERY single TV show has found a way to bring a Catholic church and the Act of Confession into the show at some point. Even shows where no one is AT all religious and religion is never once mentioned EXCEPT in that one Confession scene: Smallville (in 8x16 "Turbulence"), One Tree Hill (in 2x05 "I Will Dare"), Veronica Mars (in 2x17 "Plan B" as well as previously in 2x12 "Rashard and Wallace Go to White Castle" - but at least in this case it's involving a plot with Mexican and Irish people so it makes some sense that they'd be Catholic),  Desperate Housewives (they do the confession thing a lot when convenient for Bree and Gaby, and it's usually twisted into something humorous but the things the women are confessing to are truly "sins")... and just so many more. To go on the Catholic theme, in American Dreams episode 1x16 "Act of Contrition" is very blatantly about the little kid will preparing for his first Confession, and meanwhile a girl is having an illegal abortion (the show takes place in the 1960s) and whether this is acceptable or not is being discussed. In Heroes there is a TON of religious symbolism and references and the Petrelli family seems to be especially religious (Catholic). Peter and his mother are hiding out in a beautiful church in 3x21 "Into Asylum", and then Peter goes up to those red candles that are in the front of Catholic churches and starts talking to God, because he's upset.  Peter says, "I asked to be extraordinary, and I promised to make the world a better place. So when I got my chance, I lived up to my end of the bargain. For what? I'm running for my life. A lot of people are running for their lives. They're hurt, and they're dying, and I can't... help them. Do you even care? What you put people through? And they... kneel here. Before you. And they ask for help. Do you even listen? And I'm tired of fighting. And I'm angry. I'm angry at my father, Nathan... at my mother. At you. We had a deal. I think it's about time you lived up to your end. Please just... show up."

He essentially asks God for a sign (he asked him to "show up") and then the candles "miraculously" extinguish/blow out, warning him of the dangerous men who have come into the church immediately prior and are there to capture Peter and his mother and basically hold them hostage simply because they have abilities.  Now don't get me wrong, I loved the speech, and I loved the scene, and I LOVE Peter Petrelli (and am kinda obsessed with the actor who plays him, Milo Ventimiglia, I've seen everything he's done except that new movie Armored and like 1 or 2 of his old movies lol but Peter is just a wonderful character regardless of Milo). I loved the emotion, and I loved Peter finally getting a real "moment" on the show which he hadn't had for a long string of episodes. But there is something so... idk... I mean God actually showed up. The show heavily implied that God exists and it makes even an atheist like me thankful and happy for the existence of God in that moment. In real life God doesn't exist, but in that episode of Heroes he kinda did. And in retrospect it's annoying! They could have had a scene where Peter didn't believe in God, and instead it wasn't taking place in a church, but essentially the same sentiment was established. Instead Peter is talking about how he "made a deal" with God?! Really? We never saw him make that "deal" - we knew he wanted to be extraordinary - and then he ended up actually being extraordinary - but this was actually the first time on the whole series that we saw Peter do anything that implied a belief in God. I just don't even know what to say about it except... the religious stuff is everywhere.

In ER Luka was having a crisis of faith for a bunch of episodes in season 7 (ending in this "confession" scene in season 7, episode 15, "The Crossing": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UW8ehQVlYIc and keep in mind this truly is one of my favorite moments in the series) because, well, his wife and two kids died in a war, and he's a doctor, and when he came home and saw his daughter Jasna and his wife Daniella both still alive, he couldn't really save them both. Daniella was bleeding out, and his daughter wasn't breathing. So he started doing CPR on his daughter and was breathing for her - he was the only thing keeping her alive. He tells the Bishop (played by James Cromwell who was nominated for an Emmy for his role as the Bishop in these episodes of ER),"If I had picked up Daniella at that moment and goten her to the hospital, she could have had surgery, you know? - she could have lived! But... I couldn't leave my little girl. I waited and prayed. I prayed someone would come." and the Bishop finishes his story for him, "and no one came?". And Luka confirms, "and no one came." So yes, prayer didn't work. BUT... right before the Bishop dies he offers his words of wisdom. What are they? "You couldn't sacrifice the one to save the other. Even if you had you'd still blame yourself. These things can't be explained. Why it happens. The providence of God, the mysteries of life and death. They're the very fiber of our faith. They were gifts of love and life. You are a gift of love and life. Don't turn your back on them - God, father of all mercies, for the death and resurrection of your only begotten son, who reconciled himself to the world and sent the holy spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins, through the ministry of holy church, may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you of all your sins. In the name of the father, and of the son, and (as his heart stops and the tone of the heart-monitoring machine starts to go off) of the holy spirit, Amen." 

So... in all seriousness... what the Hell does that mean?! The bishop just forgave Luka for his "sin" that was truly doing nothing wrong and he shouldn't have needed forgiveness for. And he explained "yeah, prayer doesn't always work, and good people die young... no one really knows why... oh well". That's really satisfying, now isn't it? Wait... no... I don't think it would be a good enough answer for me if I was Luka. The reason I like that scene so much is because I really love seeing my favorite strong male characters vulnerable and hurt and crying and all that stuff and I liked finally hearing the story of how Luka lost his family... I don't think the religion aspect of the scene made me like it though, except maybe the part where Luka was explaining the reason he lost his faith was because of his children and wife dying and his prayers not being answered, I probably did like that...

Some shows don't do the Catholic thing but they still will have people go into churches for an episode because they're "lost" and need "guidance" and then some other person will find them in the church and "guide" them and you're supposed to assume "God" helped lead those 2 people together or something because it all happened in a church. For some reason Kyle XY and the season 1 finale is coming to mind... LOL.

And sometimes people will be Jewish or other religions and still somehow a carefully tactful and non-specific thing will happen that will make everyone believe in the power of faith and love and idk it's usually cheesy and makes the general point that "religion is good".

In the Christmas "Community" episode, "Comparative religion", Shirley wants everyone to wear "What Would Baby Jesus Do?" bracelets, which they all obviously don't want to do, and then she keeps talking about her Christmas party and wants everyone to come... which eventually leads to the awkward and hilarious scene where everyone admits to their religions - Troy is Jehovah's Witness so he can't celebrate things, Abed is Muslim, Annie is Jewish, Pierce thinks he's Buddhist but really has accidentally joined a cult, Brita is an atheist, and Jeff is agnostic. All of the religions are made-fun of except Judaism where they more make fun of people's anti-semitism, and except of course for Shirley's normal-generic-"Christian" religion. Everyone throws things at Jeff when they find out he's Agnostic and they say Brita, the atheist, believes in "nothing" as a joke. In the end there is some cutesy lovey moment where they all agree in believing in friendship and love or something and it still ends up with a "yay Christmas" message but there is still something distinctly pro-Christianity or at least very clearly not-anti-Christianity in the episode.

I don't know, I could go on forever... but I just notice all these things and would love to know what you all think about them or others in TV shows that I don't watch that you do. :D


Now on a random note, Saturday (yesterday) morning, when trying to render this new fanvid of mine:


for the first time, yesterday morning, the only part that didn't work and rendered as only black was the "divine intervention" lyric at 0:35 in the video LOL. How ironic. ;) I just though I'd mention it. :D Also by the way, that Peter Petrelli Heroes scene I was discussing above I used at 3:03-3:05 in that video. ;)

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I friggin' loved Highway to Heaven AND Touched by An Angel. Haven't seen either show since discovering my atheism, but I don't imagine I'd have any problem with them. It's fiction. I also don't have any problem with God in Heroes or anywhere else, because it's fiction. That is exactly where God DOES belong!

My favorite author, Piers Anthony, is agnostic yet he writes all manner of fantasy adventures, including an entire series dedicated to the literal incarnations of the supernatural. He can do it because it's make-believe and fun.
I friggin love Piers Anthony... I've read just about everything he's ever written. He's brilliant. Back to Tv.. Thank God for 'House'... LOL
That is a good point Galen... I mean I do enjoy the fictional religion stuff... but I still think there's something implying religion is fact in some of the show and a line people are afraid to cross as far as atheism is concerned, etc...
It's easy.

Let's be honest, here, okay? Think about it. How many actors or actresses have gotten nominated for awards mostly thanks to a scene in a movie or TV show where they "argued with God"? That scene in Heroes with Peter in the church is in so many dramas I've lost count.

For some reason, making something about God apparently adds dramatic credibility to something. And this isn't an American or even recent phenomenon... it's been true for as long as there's been entertainment.

And this is because it's easy.

It's easy to give a character a monologue of him yelling at God. Because it's easy to act this out:
"Act angry, yell, and stare at [the sky/ceiling/statue/picture]". Hell... I've done it. It's easy. And, for some reason, it never fails: it always grabs the audiences heartstrings and next thing you know, that actor/actress is sitting at the Emmy's hoping it'll be his/her name they call as the winner.

It's easy. And there is no other reason then that. Sure, movies have been made to affirm some religion. However, if you want to make a movie more credible- more likely to be considered "good"- add God.


Because it's easy.
I have another simple answer: Whenever a piece of fiction incorporates anything other than christianity, the christians whine and bitch about it being 'satanic' or 'anti-christian', and end up trying to get it boycotted. And don't even think about depicting anything pro-atheist (anyone remember all the Golden Compass hulabaloo?).
Anyone seen "Saving Grace?" Holly Hunter produces and portrays a beautifully-written and acted character who's a hard-drinking, sexually promiscuous detective in Oklahoma City. She defies all cliches, is smart, funny and kind. The characters are all interesting, off-beat and fun to watch.

Unfortunately, she's shadowed by an ANGEL who seems determined to bring her to God.

I finally had to quit watching, although I miss Holly's "Grace," and hope she dumps the angel and just lives her life. I think the Xtians wouldn't want to see a woman like Grace live the life she lives and get away with it, so they have to bring her to salvation through her own personal angel. Otherwise, (GOD FORBID) girls might see Grace as a potential role-model and then, the earth might explode! Or something....


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