The Gospel according to The Simpsons:
January 4, 2001 10:22 AM   Subscribe

The Gospel according to The Simpsons: A study finds that 69% of the episodes have at least one religious reference, while 11% of the episodes have a plot revolving around some religious issue.
posted by tamim (23 comments total)
"Oh! This isn't gonna be about Jesus, is it?"
posted by Fenriss at 10:29 AM on January 4, 2001

Rev. Lovejoy: Homer, I'd like you to remember Matthew 7:26.
``A foolish man who who built his house on sand.''
Homer: And remember... Matthew ... 21:17!
Rev. Lovejoy: ``And he left them and went out of the city into
Bethany and he lodged there''?
Homer: Yeah... [regains his nerve] Think about it! maintains a list of religious references on the Simpsons.
posted by rschram at 10:57 AM on January 4, 2001

The author of this article must be seeing a whole different Simpsons from the one I watch. He calls Flanders "one of the only inspiring characters in the series." I guess he'll take whatever he can get.
posted by owen at 12:44 PM on January 4, 2001

Flanders/God: "(Gasp!) My unicorn! Oh, what have they done to you, Gary?"
posted by Skot at 1:02 PM on January 4, 2001

This is so hilarious. These guys haven't a clue!

" The show specializes in mocking the generic pseudo-religion found in American popular culture. 'It's really about the religion that we see through the filter of the movies and television,' he said. 'So we are dealing with a copy of a copy. ... This only raises a bigger question. When you have a satire of a satire, does that mean that you are actually being positive?' "

Again they're trying to lay blame on movies and television. It means the media is making fun of what people like these guys have turned religion into over the past two thousand years, which is a joke. I love how religious Christian zealots keep trying to pass the buck to the media. Gee whiz. Things like Witch Trials. Crusades. Televangelists. Insisting on mass producing crucifix statues for profit with J.C. still on the cross when he came down off the damned thing. Entire wars being waged in the name of God when God plainly had nothing to do with it. That's what's made religion so laughable by the 21st century. The media just reported what it saw. Comedians just make fun of what's there.

God, these boobs makes me ashamed to admit I'm a Christian.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:09 PM on January 4, 2001

Save me, Jebus!
posted by RakDaddy at 2:21 PM on January 4, 2001

Zach, you should be an Orthodox Christian, women aren't allowed to enter without a scarf over their head. Does god really care what you wear to church? Anyway, can't I just believe in God, Jesus and the holy spirits at the privacy of my own home?

Take up the White Man's burden
Send forth the best ye breed
Go, bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait, in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild
Your new-caught sullen peoples,
Half devil and half child.

posted by tiaka at 2:28 PM on January 4, 2001

I think it's clear that The Simpsons does not mock spirituality so much as they knock religion, or as noted, the "pseudo-religion" common in popular culture.
posted by dhartung at 3:28 PM on January 4, 2001

They satirize pretty much all aspects of popular culture, and there's no reason religion shouldn't be included.
posted by kindall at 3:42 PM on January 4, 2001

but i don't even like jebus!
posted by sugarfish at 3:54 PM on January 4, 2001

"Ganesh will be angry!!!"

posted by tomcosgrave at 4:17 PM on January 4, 2001

Here are 2 of my favorite:
"God; (he's) my favorite fictional character." Homer Simpson
"God has no place within these walls, just as facts have no place within organized religion." also Homer Simpson
posted by thirteen at 4:39 PM on January 4, 2001

mmm, sacrilicious.
posted by pb at 4:48 PM on January 4, 2001

My personal favorite:

Flanders: "Why me, Lord...? I've done everything the Bible says, even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff."
posted by Dirjy at 5:58 PM on January 4, 2001

Do all of you know about the awesome ThreeWayAction thread about the Simpsons? Get your "I lurve that quote too!" thrills from a bunch of Simpsons fans.

My favorite, inspiring character is the Dubya-ish Ralph Wiggums.

Eh, okay, this is cross-pollination. Not a self-link, just so you know.
posted by acridrabbit at 8:44 PM on January 4, 2001

Does god really care what you wear to church?

Well, according to the New Testament, yes. If you interpret this passage in a certain way, you certainly could come to that conclusion (among others):

Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head--it is just as though her head were shaved.

If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head. A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man;neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.

For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head. In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.

Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering.

If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice--nor do the churches of God.

---1 Corinthians 11:1-16 (NIV)

Of course, there are other ways to interpret that passage, too, including the view that Paul was really basing his advice on the current culture and cultural standards in Corinth (where the church he was writing to advise was located), and that the statement doesn't really apply anymore. But Orthodox usually means following the old rules, eh?
posted by daveadams at 10:04 PM on January 4, 2001

thirteen, the second quote was actually said by Superintendent Chalmers after he hears interm-principal Ned Flanders thank God on the school PA system.

Better line from that same episode is said by Groundskeeper Willie, "There's nary a small animal that can escape a greased Scottsman."

posted by mzanatta at 10:05 PM on January 4, 2001

posted by thirteen at 10:11 PM on January 4, 2001

I emailed ChildCare Action Project a while ago, posing as a bemused Christian and asking their views on The Simpsons. They replied:

'I have not conducted an analysis of any of *The Simpsons* TV shows, but as far
as family entertainment, it is not an option for us. We won't watch it. Of
the on episode I've seen plus the commericals for it I have seen full male
rear cartoon nudity, extreme adolescent arrogance against fair parental
authority, blatant promotion of freedom from accountability and consequences,
too much independence and autonomy too soon for adolescents, foul languge,
belittlement of the father figure, and, being an ex-nuclear worker, many lies
about nuclear power, and a latge number of other ignominies.'
posted by Mocata at 3:19 AM on January 5, 2001

"Ralph, Jesus didn't have wheels."
posted by mecawilson at 6:51 AM on January 5, 2001

Just for the record, in order for me to become an Orthodox Christian, J.C. himself would have to appear before me in an apparition, with a check for an incredibly large sum of money that would actually not bounce when I put it in the bank, and He'd have to promise I will get laid regularly whenever I want for the rest of my life by a beautiful, intelligent woman who actually laughed at my jokes.

And even then I'd try to get out of it.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:59 AM on January 5, 2001

I sleep in a drawer.

posted by capt.crackpipe at 9:35 PM on January 10, 2001

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