Movies / Religion

“You may have been led to believe that Religion and Hollywood are at war. Don’t believe it”

You may have been led to believe that Religion and Hollywood are at war. Don’t believe it. Today’s Hollywood is religion’s best ally.

The stories found in religious texts and traditions have been told and retold for centuries. Teachers and preachers have used these incredible stories as vehicles to convey values to their students and constituents. Storytelling has always been our way inspiring our sense of wonder, and our way of connecting to big ideas.

Somewhere along the way, the focus shifted from interpreting these stories to defending them. We are obsessed with arguing whether these stories are historical or ahistorical. Religious discussion often orbits a specific lesson that someone else took at some other time from story, instead of discussing the story itself.

I think we do this because the stories resonate with us in a nostalgic sense but feel anachronistic to the modern reader. Many people can’t relate to the culture or society of our religious stories, so when we read the stories, we jump to existing interpretations that feel less time specific. But there is a cost to all this. Storytelling can be magical, but sticking exclusively to existing interpretations does not feel magical. We’ve lost the magic. This is a problem.

The magic of storytelling has not been lost or abandoned. It has relocated: Hollywood is the heir to religious storytelling. Film and television inspire our sense of wonder and connect us to big ideas. Religious stories don’t do that for everyone anymore. But we still need this inspiration, and we can still get it if we go to the right place.

Eliyahu Fink, “Hollywood is the New Religion: And That’s a Good Thing”, The Wisdom Daily (3 February 2016) [http://thewisdomdaily.com/hollywood-new-religion-good-thing/]