Popular religion and popular culture

Popular Religion and Popular Culture: Since Mid-20th Century

Popular faith and popular civilization in the late twentieth and early 21st centuries can besides be understood by the manner in which persons and groups belonging to the mainstream faith prosecute their religion. Expressions of popular faith can frequently be at considerable discrepancy from what is officially supposed to be deemed as sacred. In this regard, popular faith absorbs many properties of human experience that might be looked down on by purveyors of traditional faith. Amongst assorted facets of American life, modern-day popular faith can be best identified in respects of Hollywood movies, dad music, popular literature, amusing books, and the Internet.

Popular Religion and Hollywood Films

The development of Hollywood movies affecting spiritual subjects has been rooted mostly in the scriptural heroic poem.

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As a popular genre during the 1950s and 1960s, cardinal illustrations of these epic spiritual movies include The Robe ( 1953 ) , The Ten Commandments ( 1956 ) , Ben-Hur ( 1959 ) , King of Kings ( 1961 ) , and The Greatest Story Ever Told ( 1965 ) among others. These movies normally had immense cinematic graduated table, monolithic production budgets and box-office famous persons such as Richard Burton, Jean Simmons, Max Von Sydow, Charlton Heston, Deborah Kerr, and Yul Brynner.In the late sixtiess and early 1970s, there were legion horror movies with spiritual subjects, most notably Rosemary ‘s Baby ( 1968 ) , The Exorcist ( 1973 ) , and The Omen ( 1976 ) . In Rosemary ‘s Baby, a immature, guiltless Manhattan homemaker is deceived by a coven of enchantresss into giving birth to the eponymic kid who is really the boy of Satan.

The Exorcist was a horror movie that dealt with a immature miss ‘s diabolic ownership and her affluent female parent ‘s despairing efforts to deliver her girl through an dispossession by two Catholic priests. Serving as the pinnacle of the “demon child” films of the epoch, The Omenis the narrative of a affluent diplomat ‘s household unwittingly following a kid who is really the Antichrist foretold in the Book of Revelation. Representing an interesting blend of narrative elements from both Rosemary ‘s Baby and The Exorcist, The Omen spawned several subsequences every bit good as a remaking.There are a great assortment of Jesus films that have made their manner to the Ag screen. In 1961, MGM ‘s release of King of Kings ( a remaking of Cecil B.

DeMille ‘s 1927 movie of the same rubric ) was the first effort by a major movie studio to bring forth a spiritual heroic poem in which the Christ Event was its chief focal point. That film was followed old ages subsequently other cinematic renderings of Jesus such as The Greatest Story Ever Told ( 1965 ) , the musical Jesus Christ Superstar ( 1973 ) , The Last Temptation of Christ ( 1988 ) , The Passion of the Christ ( 2004 ) , and most late The Color of the Cross ( 2006 ) . By illustration, Martin Scorsese ‘s The Last Temptation of Christ ( 1988 ) portrays the last yearss of Jesus Christ as he is tempted by Satan by glances of what life might hold been like had Jesus non been crucified including marrying and doing love with Mary Magdalene. Based on Nikos Kazantzakis ‘ 1960 novel of the same name, the film ‘s chief point is that Jesus, while free from human wickedness, might hold still been vulnerable to all manners of enticement that humans face, including uncertainty, fearful reluctance, lubricious longing, and sorrow. By facing and finally suppressing all of humanity ‘s failings, Jesus struggled to make God ‘s will while ne’er give uping to earthly enticements. At the movie ‘s terminal, Christ eventually rejects all enticements and the movie concludes with the crucifixion.

As can be imagined, this movie generated a considerable trade of contention due to its capable affair.The Passion of the Christ ( 2004 ) is a movie co-written, co-produced and directed by Mel Gibson. Harmonizing to Gibson, the movie ‘s primary beginning stuff is derived from the Christ ‘s passion narratives found in the four synoptic Gospels despite taking originative autonomies of integrating quotation marks and images from both the Hebrew Bible and New Testament. While intentionally mirroring traditional representations of the Passion in ocular art, the movie recounts word picture of the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus of Nazareth, peculiarly the apprehension, test, anguish, and crucifixion of Jesus.

In malice of unfavorable judgment sing the utmost force, historical inaccuracy, and perceived anti-semitic mentions, the overpowering success of the studio ‘s selling run amongst Catholics and evangelical Christians helped the movie set legion box-office records at the same time. Having earned approximately $ 400 million, The Passion of the Christholds the record for the most pre-release ticket gross revenues and the highest-grossing R-rated movie in U.S. history every bit good as the highest-grossing spiritual movie worldwide. Furthermore, because the movie ‘s duologue is wholly spoken in Aramaic, Latin, and Hebrew with English captions, The Passion of the Christ is besides the highest grossing non-English linguistic communication movie to day of the month.While many spiritual movies since the 1950s were typically based on Christian narratives, other movies have been based in other spiritual traditions. For case, The Message ( Mohammed: The Messenger of God ) ( 1976 ) based upon Islamic history and stirred great contention upon its release.

The movie depicts the historic minute when the prophesier Mohammed receives the Word from Allah during the seventh century A.D. in the Middle East still dominated by polytheism. After this fatal event, Mohammed begins directing his couriers to proclaim the basic instructions and dogmas of Islam throughout the Middle East. The movie ‘s production was complicated by the fact that, harmonizing to the instructions of the Qu’ran, neither any similitudes can be shown of the prophesier Mohammed and his drawn-out household nor the image and voice of God of all time be depicted in any medium. To get the better of this challenge, the lead function of Mohammed was as an absent supporter while the character of Mohammed ‘s uncle served as a replacing for Mohammed who alternately expressed lines and listened off-screen to a voice the audience ne’er heard to avoid the unorthodoxy of picturing images of either Allah or Mohammed.

Film makers Joel Coen and Ethan Coen have wrestled with issues of Jewish movie representations. Two of the Coen brothers ‘ movies, Barton Fink ( 1991 ) and The Big Lebowski ( 1998 ) , are particularly notable for their diverse copiousness of overtly albeit far-out Judaic characters. The Coens brothers have been accused of picturing anti-Jewish cultural stereotypes in their legion movies such as Bernie the Shmatte, a cravenly ambidextrous streetwalker, in their 3rd characteristic movie, Miller ‘s Crossing ( 1990 ) . However, their movie A Serious Man ( 2009 ) is a unusually provocative and affecting portraiture of Judaic American experience during the sixtiess culled from their childhood memories of turning up in St. Louis Park, a suburban Jewish community South of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Pulling to a great extent from the cultural tradition of Ashkenazic Judaism, the movie centres on the Job-like professional and private predicaments of Larry Gopnik, a natural philosophy professor undergoing a crisis of religion. Fighting to do sense of his destroyed life, Gopnik urgently seeking metaphysical advice and religious counsel from three rabbis to go a individual of substance. Ultimately the movie grapnels with theological issues refering to the human agony in ways that strive to accommodate the religious and the absurd.

Popular Religion and Popular Music

The outgrowth of popular music is one of America ‘s greatest cultural accomplishments and since the mid-20th century has had several divine practicians whose lives and recordings in the music industry that helped stimulate the American society by specifying a new mentality where the sacred and the layman coexisted within the mainstream. For illustration, Aretha Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee as one of five kids belonging to Rev. C. L.

Franklin, a celebrated Baptist curate, and Barbara Siggers Franklin, a vocalist and piano player. Franklin ‘s parents had a troubled relationship and separated for the concluding clip when Aretha was six, go forthing her and her siblings to be raised by their paternal grandma, Rachel Franklin. During her childhood, the place was on a regular basis visited by many of her male parent ‘s celebrated friends including Clara Ward, Sam Cooke, and Mahalia Jackson. In the presence of such gospel music fables, Franklin ‘s endowments both as a self-taught piano prodigy and a talented vocalist with an extraordinary vocal scope became evident by the clip she entered her teens. As celebrated in her autobiography, Franklin stated that her early Gospel vocalizing was patterned after Albertina Walker.

Although early maternity about derailed Franklin ‘s gospel calling, one time she decided to return to singing professionally as a dad instrumentalist instead than a gospel creative person. When she signed a contract with Atlantic Records and began working with legendary R & A ; B manufacturer Jerry Wexler to integrate a more gospel component into Franklin ‘s germinating musical sound. By the terminal of the sixtiess, Franklin ‘s appellation as the harnessing “Queen of Soul” was clearly established. Although most of her albums were best Sellerss during this epoch, the release of Amazing Grace ( 1972 ) finally sold over two million transcripts in the United States and has been hailed as “ the best-selling Gospel album of all time.

” Taging a exultant return to her gospel roots, the vocals on Amazing Grace were recorded live at New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, California alongside her male parent every bit good as gospel fable and household friend Rev. James Cleveland with endorsing vocals by the Southern California Community Choir in January 1972.In the late seventiess, Bob Dylan became a converted Christian and released two albums of Christian Gospel music: Slow Train Coming ( 1979 ) and Saved ( 1980 ) .

When working on Slow Train Coming with Jerry Wexler, the veteran R & A ; B manufacturer, Dylan had started to evangelise to him during the recording. Wexler replied: “ Bob, you ‘re covering with a sixty-two-year old Judaic atheist. Let ‘s merely do an album.

” The album won Dylan a Grammy Award as “ Best Male Vocalist ” for the vocal “ Got ta Serve Person ” . When touring from the autumn of 1979 through the spring of 1980, Dylan would non play any of his older, secular plants. Recognizing that there was well vocal recoil to his embracing of Christianity by some of his fans and fellow instrumentalists, Dylan often delivered declarations of his religion from the phase.Another iconic figure in the kingdom of popular music that underwent deep spiritual transition was the state music legend Johnny Cash.Rediscovering his Christian religion in the early 1970s, Cash recalled taking an “ communion table call ” at Rev. Jimmy Rodgers Snow ‘s Evangel Temple, a little church in Nashville, TN because, unlike many larger churches, he said that the curate and fold treated like merely a regular parishioner and non a famous person. His friendly relationship with celebrated Christian curate Billy Graham led to the production of The Gospel Road, a movie about the life of Jesus, that Cash both co-wrote and narrated.

The decennary saw his spiritual strong belief deepening, and he made many evangelical visual aspects on Billy Graham Crusades around the universe. In 1986, Cash published his lone novel, Man in White, a book about Saul ‘s transition into the Apostle Paul. In 1990, Cash besides recorded Johnny Cash Reads The Complete New Testament.Matisyahu is an American Hasidic Jewish reggae instrumentalist renowned intermixing traditional Judaic subjects within reggae, alternate stone, electronica, and hip hop sounds.

Matisyahu was born in West Chester, Pennsylvania as Matthew Paul Miller on June 30, 1979. His household finally relocated to White Plains, New York where he was raised as a Reconstructionist Jew. While Matisyahu was an fervent music lover, he attended Hebrew school at Bet Am Shalom, a temple located in White Plains. At the age of 16, Matisyahu participated in a semester-long submergence plan at the Alexander Muss High School in Hod Hasharon, Israel that allowed him deeper geographic expedition of his Judaic heritage. This overall experience affected his feelings towards Judaism so greatly that he finally adopted Orthodox Jewish life style by going a Baal Teshuva by 2001. Initially he found his manner to the Carlebach Shul on the West Side of Manhattan.

Matisyahu so found his manner to Chabad of Washington Square. From 2001 until 2007, Matisyahu was affiliated with the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic community in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York. Shortly after his embracing of Hasidim, Matisyahu began analyzing Torah at Hadar Hatorah, a yeshiva for returnees to Judaism As one illustration of his devotedness, he will non execute in concert on Friday darks in faithful observation of the Judaic Sabbath. He subsequently recounted such diverse influences as Phish, Bob Marley and the Wailers, God Street Wine and Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach among his musical inspirations.There is a proliferation of musical genres that represent a assortment of spiritual backgrounds from Stryper ( a Christian heavy metal set ) to Creed ( a Christian alternate / hard stone set ) to the Kominas ( a Punjabi taqwacore—Islamic hardcore hood rock—group ) to A Tribe Called Quest ( an African American hip-hop group preponderantly composed of Sunni Muslim converts ) . In the 1980s, Stryper was a Christian heavy metal set from Orange County, California, USA.

The name “ Stryper ” derives from Isaiah 53:5 ( KJV ) : ” But he was wounded for our evildoings, he was bruised for our wickednesss: the castigation of our peace was upon him ; and with his chevrons we are healed. ” The biblical mention is besides portion of Stryper ‘s logo on most of their releases. ( They besides incorporate chevrons into most of their outfits and their logo. ) Once the set embraced the name of Stryper, drummer Robert Sweet created a acronym which is: Redemption Through Redemption, Yielding Peace, Encouragement, and Righteousness. Not merely did Stryper enjoy great mainstream success during the latter half of the 1980s, they are innovators in the mainstream popularisation of Christian metal music and even achieved a Grammy Award nomination. Stryper finally broke up in 1992, which besides marked the waning popularity of heavy metal as a musical genre.In the late ninetiess and early 2000s, Creed was a popular, multi-platinum merchandising American alternate / post-grunge stone set from Tallahassee, Florida frequently identified as a Christian stone set.

The set was ne’er signed to a modern-day Christian music label, did non execute in Christian music locales and ne’er got any widespread regular drama on Christian wireless, Creed ‘s first three albums focused on subjects of Christian religion and spiritualty. Subjects within their song rubrics such as “ Higher ” , “ My Sacrifice ” , “ What ‘s This Life For ” , “ My Own Prison ” , “ With Arms Wide Open ” , and “ One Last Breath ” the set ‘s wordss allude to Christian divinity although they often refuted the Christian label.Similar to the Christian stone motion, The Kominas ( whose name means ”bastards” in Punjabi ) are a Taqwacore hood set acclaiming from the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts. The Muslim hood three dwelling of Basim Usmani, Shahjehan Khan, and Adam Brierly stone out with vocals rubrics of “Dishoom, Baby” or “Sharia Law in the USA.” One of the Kominas ‘ best known vocals, “ Rumi was a Homo ” , a protest vocal against homophobia within the American Muslim community, was featured in Skidmore College ‘s Music Against Hatred concert. Written chiefly by Usmani, the set ‘s wordss are cagey, sometimes challenging commentaries on racial profiling, foreign policy, and spiritual religion. The Kominas ‘ critically acclaimed introduction album, Wild Nights in Guantanamo Bay, was released in March 2008.As a merger of hood, metal, and Bhangra common people music The set uses the term ”Bollywood Muslim hood ” in order to depict their sound.

The music and imagination typically draws from anti-colonial motions, Moghul art, American related to Islam, such as Moresque Science Temple, Five Percenters ( an outgrowth of the Nation of Islam ) , and Desi civilization, Punjabi folklore, Sufi saints from Punjab, Hinduism, and Bollywood film.Formed in the late eightiess, A Tribe Called Quest was an African American hip hop group dwelling of rapper/producer Q-Tip ( Kamaal Ibn John Fareed, once Jonathan Davis ) , rapper Phife Dawg ( Malik Taylor ) , and DJ/producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad that explored Sunni Islam. They released five albums in ten old ages, the first three of which were both critically acclaimed and commercially successful. By 1996, lead rapper Q-Tip underwent a deepy spiritual waking up and, upon religious counsel from his friend, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, shortly converted to Islam. While on circuit, Q-Tip ‘s friend introduced him to a gifted immature manufacturer from Detroit named Jay Dee ( besides known as J Dilla ) .

Immediately taking the fledgling under his wing, Q-tip and the remainder of Tribe agreed to organize a production unit with Jay Dee. The group named their production company “ The Ummah ” ( intending “ community, ” “ state, ” or “ brotherhood” in Arabic ) because Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad were devout Muslims. In add-on to bring forthing A Tribe Called Quest ‘s concluding two studio albums, the Ummah served as a music production collective that provided backup paths for a broad array of R & A ; B and hip hop creative persons. Although the group officially disbanded in 1998 and Jay Dee decease in 2006of a blood disease, their advanced blend of hip hop and wind has left an unerasable imprint upon hip hop music.

Popular Religion in Popular Literature

In the late ninetiess and early 2000s, Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins ‘ novel Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth ‘s Last Days officially launched a best-selling fictional series of 18 Christian-themed thrillers.

It was narrative signifier to a specific revelatory reading of the Bible, peculiarly the Book of Revelation. This novel has received mostly favourable reactions from the late Jerry Falwell and other taking figures in the Evangelical Christian community who by and large approved of how the writers represented the millennian / revelatory subjects within Christian divinity in a secular linguistic communication that was besides commercially feasible within the amusement industry. The reading of Revelation, as presented in the Left Behind series, besides encourages a mostly individualistic attack to eschatology and redemption that eschews any duty for executing good workss or evangelising. Regardless of such unfavorable judgment, the overall gross revenues for Left Behind series has surpassed 65 million transcripts and has besides inspired several films, in writing novels, Cadmiums, a picture game and a Left Behind series for adolescents.Similarly, writer Dan Brown ‘s best-selling novels besides include historical subjects and Christianity as repeating motives, and as a consequence, have generated contention. Brown ‘s first novel, Angels & A ; Demons ( 2000 ) is bestselling mystery-thriller novel focused on fictional Harvard University symbologist Robert Langdon ‘s quest to bring out the enigmas of the Illuminati and to unknot a secret plan to destruct Vatican City by exploding antimatter.

The book portrays a historical struggle between the Illuminati and the Roman Catholic Church as a competition between scientific discipline and faith. Brown ‘s subsequent novel, The Da Vinci Code ( 2003 ) besides examines ancient history, confederacy theories of secret societies, spiritual symbolism, and authoritative architecture. Uniting the investigator, thriller, and confederacy fiction genres, The Da Vinci Code provoked popular involvement in guess refering the historic roots of Christianity. Despite being categorically denounced by many Christian denominations as a dishonorable onslaught on the Roman Catholic Church rife with historical and scientific inaccuracy, The Da Vinci Code is a world-wide best seller that had sold approximately 80 million transcripts that has been translated into 44 linguistic communications.

Popular Religion in Comic Books

There are legion illustrations of popular faith being utilized in the universe of amusing books and in writing novels. For case, the DC Vertigo Comic book series Preacher chronicled the fictional feats of Jesse Custer, a little town curate in Annville, Texas who is sing an extraordinary crisis of religion.

After Genesis, a animal described as the supernatural spawn of the incomprehensible yoke between an angel and a devil, by chance takes ownership of him, Custer becomes a intercrossed human-divine being that potentially wields adequate power to finally equal even God. Inhabited by this religious force composed of both pure goodness and pure immorality, the amusing book portrays the rubric character of the amusing book arguably becomes the most powerful being in being. Tragically, this realisation consequences in a catastrophe that turns his church to rubble and killed his full fold. Spurred by his extremely developed sense of morality and a strong sense of intent, the amusing book illustrates Custer ‘s extrasensory escapades as he treks across the United States in a pursuit to happen God for himself both figuratively and literally.

Following a tendency within American amusing books during the sixtiess and 1970s really much akin to the “Death of God” theological motion, Preacher alludes to a God that has abandoned creative activity and therefore has left humanity to its ain devices for better or worse. During its publication from 1995 to 2000, Preacher was a controversial amusing book series renowned by some and reviled by others for both its dark and often violent wit every bit good as its unembarrassed intervention of spiritual and supernatural subjects.Since the 1970s, there have been several characters that accentuate assorted dimensions of religious patterns prevalent throughout the African diaspora. A peculiarly noteworthy illustration of an African American supernatural superhero named Brother Voodoo who appeared in a assortment of amusing books published by Marvel Comics during the 1970s. Returning to his native Haitian capital, Haiti after more than a decennary of instruction and pattern as a psychologist in the United States, Jericho Drumm assumes the alter self-importance of Brother Voodoo possesses legion superhuman and mystical powers such as easy come ining into a trance-like province in which his tegument becomes imperviable to firing and other signifiers of hurting every bit good as being able to command fire and lower life signifiers ; these are all power that the amusing book Godheads attribute to the character ‘s command of mystical rites derived from the loa, the spirit-gods of Haitian vodou. As an effort to present a character with a really alone cultural, cultural, and spiritual background, Brother Voodoo was subsequently followed by other figures in the Marvel pantheon of characters such as the female Captain Marvel whose alter self-importance, Monica Rambeau, hailed from the Creole religionism of modern-day New Orleans or the character of Storm ( aka Ororo Monroe ) from the X-Men series whose backstory harkens to being an East African hailed as a demi-goddess because of her mutant ability to command the conditions. While these are surely non the first or merely amusing book characters of African descent to be introduced, these creative activities were efforts to unify issues of race and faith in interesting ways.

Traveling in a considerable different vena, the cardinal figure in DC Vertigo Comics series Hellblazer is a character named John Constantine who pursues a cryptic life as a streetwise investigator who often crosses the supernatural boundaries between Eden and snake pit in order to facing assorted dangers of an supernatural nature in the ordinary universe. As a foul-spoken, chain-smoking, hedonic faultfinder arguably working for the greater good, Constantine normally triumphs through craft, fraudulence and misdirection. At the terminal of his feats, he typically makes more enemies in the procedure of deciding a peculiar struggle than the oppositions he originally intends to get the better of.

Even though depicted as a ambidextrous person, the narrative shows Constantine to be a well-connected individual who is supremely expert at doing friends and has a broad array of nonnatural contacts and villainous Alliess at his disposal. Consequently, the overarching narrative reveals Constantine to be a compassionate and on occasion epic figure fighting to get the better of the influence of Eden and snake pit upon an otherwise unsuspicious humanity. In other words, the supporter of Hellblazer servesas a fictional embodiment of the humanist anti-hero as a prankster of kinds. As such, this book is extremely declarative of a tendency in mainstream amusing books that has been rather popular amongst amusing book Godheads and fans likewise wherein the mortal characters such as Constantine are imbued with an agnostic religious worldview over and above a sense of moral ambiguity as they unapologetically grapple with apparently unsurmountable jeopardies both mundane and arcane. On the whole, while there is no famine of grounds of popular faith at work in amusing booksand in writing novels, there is soon a deficit famine of academic research and treatment on the affair.

Popular Religion and the Internet

One of the most exceeding transmutations in the outgrowth of popular faith in the latter half of the 20th century has been the burgeoning presence of faith looking on the Internet.

From the mid-1990s to show, an exponential figure of churches, temples, mosques, and temples have a house bridgehead within internet. Towards this terminal, there are legion web sites such as Streaming Faith.com and Beliefnet.com connect countless Christian communities nationally and internationally via the Internet with the increasing chance of linking with other spiritual groups in a practical manner. Since the origin and widespread usage of the Internet in the 1990s, online Christian resources have tended to rule spiritual themed content to day of the month. This has been of peculiar importance given the given that most Internet users hailed from North America or Western Europe, parts deemed preponderantly Christian. This false laterality has shifted due to the increasing degree of Internet entree and literacy by populations in the underdeveloped states of the planetary South, most notably in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Even though it is extremely improbable that the universe ‘s faiths of all time will be to the full and every bit represented in internet, the democratic urge of the World Wide Web will do the demographics to get down reflecting the spiritual diverseness among a turning array of cyberspace users worldwide. Furthermore, for those members of faith communities that are comparatively little and geographically isolated from a traditional house of worship, the World Wide Web provides these practicians an surrogate agencies of interaction and connexion. By virtuousness of holding Internet entree, disciples of such faith traditions can have update information about their faith, obtain latest religious resources, and engage in communications with other faithful trusters. There are a assortment of spiritual web sites such as Torah Net ( www.torah.

net ) , Allaahuakbar Net ( www.allaahuakbar.net ) , Gospel Communications Network ( www.gospel.com ) , Gateways to Buddhism ( www.

dharmanet.org ) and The Witches ‘ Voice ( www.witchvox.org ) are spiritual oriented intelligence and networking web resources that serve as lively illustrations of popular faith.See besides Celebrity Culture ; Electronic Church ; Internet ; Literature ; Contemporary ; Lived Religion ; Pluralism ; Popular Religion and Popular Culture entries ; Radio ; Spirituality: Contemporary Tendencies ; Television ; Ocular Culture entries.

Juan Floyd-Thomas

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