So the other week, I was at church and a fellow in my Sunday School class started to talk about T.V. and how it represents God. The man said that even if He is present in the shows, which most of the time is far from being the case, He is portrayed in a diminutive and condescending manner. In his opinion, television did nothing but cause us to stray from God and, though he did not outright say it, all other morality.
I have to disagree with the man on many levels. It is true that there are a lot of shows out there that have very little to do with morality. Reality T.V, although seemingly real, is completely void of all morality, but not humanity. These shows embrace the very essence of the bestiality in mankind. Most television, and this includes the big screen, does reflect a positive morality and in some cases goes so far as to encourage the belief in the existence of God. The shows may not always refer to a christian God, but God non-the-less.
One place that you find morality on television where you least expect it is in horror films. Now, I grant you that they circumvent the normal way in which to approach morality, and this is very misleading. Horror flicks are not only full of vulgar language, violence, and gore but even more so of young adults having sex. But isn't that the point? Who always dies first in those films? The very attractive, heavily breasted, easy blond who has sex in the first five to ten minutes of the film always dies first. Its the wholesome ones that survive.
A more recent television show, which just happens to star my new obsession David Duchovny, Californiacation, is another prime example of morality where you least expect it. This show is completely about the downward spiral of a lost writer who is drinking, smoking, and screwing his way into oblivion. Behind all this craziness in his life, is the pure simplicity of wanting to do the right thing and be with the family he adores. His self-destruction is only stopped through the need to do anything and everything, not only for his daughter, but for her mother, his one true love. Sappy, but moralizing if you truly watch the show for its meaning. Most other films and shows that have such provocative themes are really speaking to a much softer understanding of life.
Now I must of course return to my new (though old) favorite show, also starring David Duchovny. The X-Files is a show that most would think would fall into the category of condescension towards God. In some ways the character of Mulder has that sort of idea, but Scully always reigns him in on those cases. In fact, there are many episodes which involve religious rituals and beliefs that are always proven true and reasonable, whether it is Mulder or Scully as the skeptic. Scully, throughout the series, wears a small gold cross around her neck, which of course every time she goes missing Mulder seems to miraculously find. He even wears it in his imagination in one episode (hard to understand unless you see the episode). Throughout these many trials that their search for the truth has caused them to suffer, the knowledge has not made Dana's faith falter. In fact it only seemed to make it stronger. The episode in which her cancer goes into remission leaves the question of whether that remission was caused solely by the microchip placed back into her neck or if this miraculous cure was in conjunction with the fact that she has allowed herself to re-connect with God.
Undoubtedly the best evidence for this show supporting faith and spirituality is in its handling of a subject which should disprove the existence of God. The discovery of extra-terrestrial life is not damning enough, they also discover that the space ships that have been hidden on earth for thousands of years, not only prove that human life came from an alien life form, but also that the Word of God (no matter the religion) comes from the writings on those ships. The religions from around the world have come from ideas that the aliens provided us. Does this stop Scully or even Mulder from believing in God, even when they know that the final re-colonization of the aliens will occur Dec. 22 2012? No! The final scene to the series ends with the fact that what they both truly "want to believe in," is the existence of God and his ability to save their souls. They even make reference to her small golden cross.
So, the ultimate science embracing, sci-phi fanatic's wet dream, actually encourages the belief in God no matter what kind of evidence to the contrary appears. There is always a reason to continue in faith.