Oh, My Pop Culture Jesus: It’s Almost Religious

It never ceases to amaze me how our pop culture tries to insert what are clearly Christian themes into comics, TV shows, and many other forms of media, but then, in order to not offend anyone, tries to pretend that those Christian elements aren’t really there. It’s maddening!

Two examples of this that always bugged me were in Charmed and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Charmed featured White Lighters as major characters in their series and Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s last season had Buffy doing battle with The First, the very first evil.

1422042White Lighters are clearly angels. Just call them angels. The minute you hear what they are, you think angel! White Lighters are beings of the light who guard their charges, healing and guiding them when necessary. Am I crazy or does that sound like a guardian angel? It does, doesn’t it?

And perhaps you could say that many mystical beings have these sorts of functions. But the White Lighters have certain imagery to them that obviously shows that they are at least inspired by Judeo-Christian angels. Most obviously, their realm looks like fluffy white clouds and the wear robes of pure white that look like clerical vestments. The only thing missing is wings.

thefirstNow onto Buffy, where we have The First, a force that appeared before time. This being first appeared to Angel and tempted the vampire into trying to kill Buffy. This same being reveals to Angel that it is the reason that Angel escaped from Hell. When The First later appears in Buffy, it employs a second in command, a defrocked priest named Caleb. Though this one is more ambiguous, it is pretty clear that this being is Satan. It existed before time, like the angels in Judeo-Christianity (including Lucifer); furthermore, this is the being from which all other evil stems. And if this wasn’t enough, the connection with the Caleb, the defrocked priest, makes the connection to Christianity very clear.

Now there is nothing wrong with trying to make TV shows, books, or other media more open and watchable to people who are not of a Judeo-Christian background, but that isn’t what is happening in these shows. They are creating new characters or myths, but simply using the same Christian ones and then saying they aren’t. To anyone with a basic understanding of Christianity, these references are obvious. So writers of any shows, comics, movies, or books, just call a spade a spade or use more diverse or original religious themes in these shows.