National Edition

Religion and culture continue to merge in popular media

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 8 2014 3:50 p.m. MST

This undated image released by A&E shows Phil Robertson from the popular series "Duck Dynasty." Robertson was suspended for disparaging comments he made to GQ magazine about gay people but was reinstated by the network on Friday, Dec. 27. Religion scholars say the use of the organ in worship services was the first time religion merged with popular culture. The two influences have fed off of each other since.

A&E, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

Religion scholars say the use of the organ in worship services was the first time religion merged with popular culture. The two influences have fed off of each other since.

Fox News' "The Five" caught up with the centuries-old trend recently.

Co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle cited the popularity of the History Channel mini-series "The Bible," Pope Francis as Time magazine's 2013 Person of the Year, the best-selling book "Killing Jesus" by Bill O'Reilly and the popularity of A&E reality show "Duck Dynasty," featuring the faith of its Robertson family, as proof that "people are hungry for something beyond the materialistic, sexually charged culture that seems to dominate our lives."

Fox network panelists talked about the upcoming feature film "Noah," starring Russell Crowe and Anthony Hopkins. Not mentioned were the religious-themed movies "Heaven is for Real," "God is not Dead," and "Son of God," a film about the life of Jesus by the makers of "The Bible" miniseries.

Panelists on "The Five" suggested this latest surge of interest in religion by the media and entertainment businesses was driven by consumers and culture responding to a need for order and spirituality in their lives.

"I think people are so hungry for something more edifying and something more hopeful," said co-host Andrea Tantaros.

In 2006, religion journalist Mark Pinsky opined that the confluence of faith and culture was the result of religion embracing popular culture, according to a report in the Deseret News.

He said that instead of competing with popular media, denominations were coming up with their own alternative media.

"It's a confluence that has changed popular culture and at the same time has helped evangelical Christians 'hold on to their kids,’ ” Pinsky said.

Both Pinsky and the group at Fox agreed that the entertainment business also sees an opportunity to make money on the interest and need for religious messages in film, television, books and other media.

Email: mbrown@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @deseretbrown

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS