Sunday, March 20, 2005

NBC's Apocalyptic theology

"This spring a beleaguered NBC is finding God - and delivering him to viewers - in a six-episode series based on the apocalyptic prophecies laid out in the Book of Revelation," according to a story in the New York Times (registration required).

Yet another case of the liabilities of getting what you ask for, I guess. Christians have been complaining for decades that the entertainment industry is either hostile to, or ignores them. But I'm wondering whether those two options aren't preferable to having TV producers do theology. Those guys aren't exactly known for thoughtful or well-informed work, are they?

The inspirations for the upcoming series (called "Revelations") appear to be Hal Lindsey's The Late, Great Planet Earth, Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, Tim and Beverly LeHay's Left Behind series, and the Book of Revelation.

Eeeeeek! The first three on that list are (in my view) pure theological and ecclesiological hackery, and the last one is simply the most difficult to interpret book of the Bible.

There's something to be said for making people study systematic theology, immerse themselves in church history, and learn a little Greek and Hebrew before allowing them to go out and become de facto apostles.

And if NBC's aim in popular theologizing is merely profit, they might want to look into the circle of Hell that Dante assigns to people who do that sort of thing.


Anonymous said...

I'm late to the fray, and not a Greensboro resident, so I don't read Alex Wayne at all. But his comments about Conservative Christianity, Protestant and/or Catholic, tottering on the slippery slope to Islamic fundamentalism are typical leftist cant and typically ignorant of history and Chritianity. Let me say right off that I'm familiar with all the warts of those professing Christianity through the ages, and do not need to be reminded of Salem witch burnings (which were mainly hangings), the Crusades, Torquemada, etc. etc. But a surprising thing happened along the way. Christianity largely reformed itself, and Islam did not, at least that part of Islam which still professes Jihad. Those persons holding essentially the same Christian believe that mark conservative Christians today stopped the slave trade in Britain and the United States in the early 19th century, and fomented a Civil War in the United States by abolitionist pulpit fulminations. Sure that war had other economic and States rights aspects, but without the Congregational and Presbyterian churches of New England in full cry, the catylist for war may never have come until the 20th century. Well, too much of history,but my point remains this; linking traditional Christian thought with fanatic life-destroyers is absurd, ignorant,and I can only believe fueled by paranoia about the recent election. Get over it, people, George Bush won.

Lex said...

Several years back, when I was covering religion for the N&R, something -- perhaps it was the prepackaged Holy Communion -- prompted me to observe that religious folk are so desperate to see some version of their faith reflected in popular culture that they'll settle even for the fun-house mirror version.