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The Simpsons


... Apu is Hindu, Lisa is Buddhist) ... I learned long ago, Lisa, to tolerate others, rather than ... Why does Lisa return to celebrate Christmas in 'She ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Simpsons

The Simpsons
  • Religious Critic or Spiritual Guide?

Is Religion incompatible with humour?
  • Is it okay to be Christian and laugh at religious
  • Did Jesus ever laugh? Or make jokes?
  • Can God manifest through humour?
  • Is The Simpsons seen as anti-Christian because
    It is unquestionably the most culturally-literate
    show on television, except for perhaps Jeopardy.
    Each episode contains dozens of references to
    film culture, literature, rock and roll (thus the
    rapping rabbis who sing "Don't eat pork, even
    with a fork can't touch this"), politics,
    history, philosophy and above all television
    culture itself-- Bart and Lisa many times refer
    to the damage that television has done to their
    memory or patience or imagination 56 and the
    FOX Network is always highlighted as a purveyor
    of junk TV. Because many evangelical Christians
    do not swim in this culture the humour and
    cultural literacy manifested will often pass them
    by leaving only images of a drunken father and a
    rude little boy.

  • Does God Exist in The Simpsons?
  • How is God depicted? Perfect teeth. Nice
    Smell. A Class Act all the way.
  • Is God mocked in the Simpsons?
  • How many fingers does God have? How many do the
    rest of the characters have? Does this make any
  • Is God shown to have a plan - even for Homer?

The Devil
  • How is the Devil depicted in The Simpsons?
  • Does the Devil exist?
  • How is Hell depicted?
  • Would you rather go to The Simpsons Heaven, or

Personal Prayer
  • Are you there, God? It's me, Bart Simpson. I
    know I never paid too much attention in church,
    but I could really use some of that good stuff
    now. I'm... afraid. I'm afraid some weirdo's
    got my soul and I don't know what they're doing
    to it! I just want it back. Please? (Bart
    Sells His Soul)
  • Dear Lord The gods have been good to me. For
    the first time in my life, everything is
    absolutely perfect just the way it is. So here's
    the deal You freeze everything the way it is,
    and I won't ask for anything more. If that is OK,
    please give me absolutely no sign. OK, deal. In
    gratitude, I present you this offering of cookies
    and milk. If you want me to eat them for you,
    give me no sign. Thy will be done.

  • If these two characters - Homer and Bart
  • were allowed by the writers and directors of
  • The Simpsons to triumph on each show, it
  • could be argued that the program was morally
  • objectionable... But in fact they do not.
  • Homer's stupidity and greed never pay off
  • (as when he gains so much weight in order to
  • be considered disabled and allowed to work at
  • home) and Bart's pranks are either thwarted
  • or turn to ultimate good (as when he prompts a
    teachers' strike and has to bring them back to
    the bargaining table in the end.) Moreover Bart
    and Homer are balanced by the observant
    Christians Marge (who tells Homer never to make
    her choose between God and her man because he
    just can't win) and Lisa (who refuses to watch
    pirated cable TV because of her wish to honour
    the 8th Commandment and win Heaven). They
    represent the voices of sanity and piety and they
    always (or almost always) triumph in the end. -

The Bible
  • How does The Simpsons portray the Bible (I.e., is
    it taken literally?)
  • What use do Homer, Rev. Lovejoy, etc. make use of
    the Bible?
  • Does this make the show anti-Christian?
  • "If the Bible has taught us nothing else -- and
    it hasn't -- it's that girls should stick to
    girls' sports such as hot-oil wrestling,
    foxy-boxing and such and such." (Lisa on Ice)

The Bible - Revelation
  • How is Prophesy and Revelation presented in The
    Simpsons? Is Christian prophesy of the End Times
    taken seriously?
  • What are the criteria for getting into Heaven,
    according to the episode Thank God its
  • What did you think about the criticisms of other
    faiths, science, and homosexuality in the
    fictional movie Left Below in this episode? Is
    this a criticism of fundamentalist views?
  • Do you think this episode is anti-religious?

Miscellaneous (Judaism)
  • How does The Simpsons treat other religions?
    (Krusty is Jewish, Apu is Hindu, Lisa is
  • Krusty Id like to thank God for all my
    success, even though I never worshipped him or
    believed in him in any way.
  • Krustys dad an orthodox Rabi, who did not give
    son a bar mitzvah because he feared his son would
    act up.
  • Krusty reconciles with dad and has a bar mitzvah
    - but continues to be an alcoholic, gambler,
    prescription drug abuser, etc.
  • What does this portrayal say about Judaism? Is
    The Simpsons anti-jewish?

Miscellaneous (Hinduism)
  • How is Hinduism presented in The Simpsons?
  • Homer No offense, Apu, but when they were
    handing out religions, you must have been out
    taking a whiz.
  • Vegetarianism. Apu wears a tee-shirt with a red
    circle and slash superimposed on a cow, with
    Barts slogan, Dont Have a Cow, Man! and he
    secretly substitutes tofu for beef in his hot
  • 2. Reincarnation. Sideshow Mel, one of Krusty the
    Clowns television sidekicks, says You only live
    once. Apu pipes up, Hey, speak for yourself.
  • 3. Meditation. Apu has a secret stairway in the
    Kwik-E-Mart that leads to a rooftop garden,
    where, he tells Lisa, I go when I need some
    refuge from the modern world.
  • 4. Pluralism. I learned long ago, Lisa, to
    tolerate others, rather than forcing my beliefs
    on them, Apu tells the girl. You know, you can
    influence people without badgering them always.

Miscellaneous (Buddhism)
  • Lisa I still believe in God. I just think
    there's another path to him. Or her.
  • Lisa (gasps) Richard Gere?
  • Lenny Ooh! The world's most famous Buddhist.
  • Gere Well, what about the Dalai Lama?
  • Lenny Who?
  • Carl You know, the fourteenth incarnation of the
    Buddha Avalokitesvara.
  • Lenny Who's Buddha?
  • Richard Gere It's a good thing Buddhism teaches
    freedom from desire - 'cuz I've got the desire to
    kick your ass!

Miscellaneous (Serpent-handling, Santeria, Voodoo
- the religion(s) of Moe?)
  • Moe I was born a serpent-handler, and Ill die
    a serpent handler.
  • Moe Santeria, what can't you do?"
  • Moe I think I will return to good old fashioned
  • Using other faiths solely for laugh effect?

Family Values - Episode case studies
  • Does The Simpsons uphold family values?
  • Why does Homer leave Heaven in Thank God its
  • Why does Lisa return to celebrate Christmas in
    She of Little Faith?
  • How does Marge save Homer in Homer vs the
  • What brings Homer back to the Church fold in
    Homer the Heretic?
  • Does the family replace religion in The Simpsons?
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