The Bible As Pop Culture Essay

2461 words - 10 pages

Jennifer Squires200279594English 384Noel ChevalierMonday, December-07-09The Bible As Pop CultureThe use of the Bible in secular and popular culture is as common in this age as it ever was. Musicians, writers, film directors etc are capitalizing on familiar stories like never before. But the Bible and pop culture co-exist in the same world and while pop culture is capitalizing on the Bible, the Bible is also capitalizing on pop culture. From references in songs, to fictionalizations of Biblical accounts and even portrayals of Biblical concepts on film, the Bible is present in pop culture and its message is getting across to the masses because the Bible is a large part of pop culture.The first step in this process is to discover what exactly is meant by secular and pop culture. The latter, pop culture, specifically deals with what is popular in a given culture at a given time. Often pop culture is made up of aspects (values, practices, beliefs) of a secular culture. For most people, secular culture means the absence of religion, which is neither a true nor false assumption. Coined by George Holyoake in 1866, secularism offered a substitute for religion with it's basic school of thought that "supernaturalism is based upon ignorance and is the historic enemy of progress" (Benson, 86). Holyoake contested that secularism neither confirms nor denies theism, rather it provides a superior ethical system with a much broader appeal for society. In his essay Considering Secularism, Iain T. Benson counters Holyoake in that by remaining ambiguous regarding a stance on theism, Holyoake is actually denying the idea of a God and thereby putting religion and secular culture in a hostile relationship with one another when in reality religion and popular culture must work alongside each other.Conrad Ostwalt also challenges Holyoake's notion of secular culture as the absence of religion by asserting that evidence does not support the preconceived notion of society that religion and secular culture and thus pop culture are existing in an antagonist relationship and in fact they can exist side by side: "in fact, in most cases if not all, as with Christianity since at least Constantine, religion and secular culture exist in a tandem relationship" (Ostwalt, 3). This ideology is mirrored from the works of Michael Foucault. Foucault theorized that religion and culture mutually inform each other and that "contemporary culture is born out of religious traditions" (Foucault, 33).Foucault's assumption that contemporary culture has religion to thank for its development is certainly true if one examines the past of Christianity. In the Middle Ages, religion was the culture and remained so until roughly the Victorian era when the world evolved much more rapidly (industries, trade, literacy) and opportunities outside the life of the church flourished. With the rise in literacy, due in large part to the Printing Press, the Bible was translated into the vernacular of the people and...

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