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Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Gospel According to The Simpsons: The Spiritual Life of the World's Most Animated Family by Mark I. Pinsky

An interesting premise and lots of fun
Published by Westminster John Knox Press in 2001.

Google this book and you will find some criticism based on the fact that  has entirely missed the point of the book. The point of The Gospel According to The Simpsons: The Spiritual Life of the World's Most Animated Family is NOT to tell how the Simpsons preach the Gospel. They don't.

The Simpsons
However, not only is The Simpsons the best show on television, it is also a remarkably spiritual show. It is the only show in which the main characters go to church on a regular basis. No one thinks it strange that people pray. Prayers are answered. God exists and he acts. From time to time, organized religion is skewered with their wickedly clever satire. Then again, so is everything else, from rock stars to public education to family life to just about everything else. Pinsky's point is that religion is treated remarkably well on the show that has a bad reputation.

Pinsky focuses on each of the main characters (Homer, Marge, Bart and Lisa) and also on Ned (evangelical Christian), Apu (Hindu)and Krusty (Jewish) in order to show how religion and morality are treated in the show.

He also details several plotlines - two or three of them are explicitly based on a religious theme -and shows how they relate to his overall thesis. He backs it up with several interviews and quotes from the creators and writers of the show.

I saw this book's author interviewed on PBS's Religion and Ethics Newsweekly in conjunction with the premiere of The Simpsons Movie. I'm glad I saw it and I'm glad I picked this book up.

Note, the show has managed to put about 11 years more worth of shows out since this book was written in 2001, but this fan thinks that the premise of this book is still correct.

Note: since this review was written the book has been expanded and a Bible study has been created.

I rate this book 5 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: The Gospel According to the Simpsons.

Reviewed on August 4, 2007. (edited on June 24, 2006)

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