April 9, 2013
“Alleluia! The Doctor Returns” by Julie Clawson
On her One Hand Clapping blog, Julie Clawson tells of seeing fresh images of the divine in the television science fiction program, Doctor Who. She says she finds this to be true even though “the two men who have creatively led and written many of the episodes of the BBC reboot of the show, Russell Davies and Stephen Moffat, are both self-proclaimed atheists.“ Why does Clawson feel as she does? She explains that Davies and Moffat “frequently address religious themes and use the character of the Doctor to challenge hollow and dangerous conceptions of God. It is in their attempts to use the Doctor to deconstruct inward-focused religion which has little relevance in a world full of injustice and pain that an alternative, more meaningful, vision of God emerges.” As you read Julie Clawson’s thoughts about this, perhaps you can think of additional examples from movies, literature, television, music, and other forms of art and popular culture that convey deep, relevant spiritual truth without being overtly “religious” in either the heavy-handed propaganda or marketing sense of the word. You might also want to take time to read an insightful essay by Larry Shallenberger on “The Hidden Dangers of Marketing God,” posted on the Burnside Writers Collective website.