Religious Experience in the Age of Digital Reproduction*

By Gedicks, Frederick Mark; Hendrix, Roger | St. John's Law Review, Winter 2005 | Go to article overview

Religious Experience in the Age of Digital Reproduction*


Gedicks, Frederick Mark, Hendrix, Roger, St. John's Law Review


And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and lo, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. God called out to him out of the bush, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am." Then he said, "Do not come near; put off your shoes from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground. " And he said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob. " And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

-Exodus 3:2-6

Now as he journeyed he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. "

-Acts 9:3-5

The Passion of the Christ is the best movie I have ever seen. It was graphic and faithfully stayed with the Gospel texts. The neck of my shirt was soaked with tears during the scourging, and I felt like a softball was lodged in the back of my throat as the movie concluded. The nearest feeling that I can compare it to was an altar call experience with God-a heart-pounding, barely breathing, intense moment with God.

-Rev. Steven Usry, Harvest Point United Methodist Church, McDonough, GA[double dagger]

INTRODUCTION: RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE IN MASS CULTURE

Less than twenty years ago, it was common for believers in the United States to criticize the many ways in which mass culture misrepresented or ignored religious experience.1 The few portrayals of religious people as then existed on television or in the movies-and there were not many-were usually of caricatured fanatics or immoral predators. In the vast world of television and film, it seemed that the only people who actually went to church each Sunday were Bill Cosby and the Huxtables.

Times change. Mass culture is now replete with portrayals of religious experience. Spiritually themed television, movies, and books have proliferated across the mass media. A growing number of network dramas have spiritual themes, suggesting that the positive portrayal of believers in popular culture has become, well, popular.2 Movies with Christian themes are steadily filling the shelves at video rental outlets,3 and novels and nonfiction books with spiritual themes are now consistently appearing on best seller lists.4 In the world of music, "worship albums" featuring praises to God are reaching large audiences, and so-called "Christian Rock" is viewed as one of the few vibrant rock genres left.5 Scriptural and religiously oriented slogans have even taken off in the fashion industry.6 Christian booksellers, for their part, believe that the mass success of spiritual themes in popular culture reflects a '"widespread spiritual yearning"' felt beyond the world of conservative Christianity.7 In much of America, it would seem that Christian pop culture is the only popular culture there is.8

Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ is yet another popular success,9 notwithstanding widespread negative reviews criticizing its relentless violence, anti-Semitic stereotypes, and controversial deviations from historical and Gospel records.10 But The Passion is more than popular; the film touched a deep spiritual chord among its mass audience, particularly conservative Christians. One reviewer observed that the crowds who exited the movie on its opening night, Ash Wednesday, were marked by "ashes on their foreheads, eyelids swollen from crying, and a stunned silence."11 Another remarked that audiences wept, cried out, and turned away at The Passion's intense images of Jesus's suffering, and concluded that for believers, the movie is not a "docu-drama, but a religious experience."12

"Religious" or "sacred" experience refers to extraordinary events that occur against the backdrop of ordinary life. Believers define the meaning of their lives by these experiences and thus the reality in which they each live. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Religious Experience in the Age of Digital Reproduction*
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.