Religion in Millennial TV

Though it is again hard to generalize that the millennial generation is less religious than the previous ones, it is somewhat agreeable that youths today question their parents more often than before, when it comes to the topic of  religion. I have met many people from different countries, both in High School, Red Cross Nordic United World College and in College. Out of all the people I met, none described oneself as “religious”. One of my roommates from Sweden in High School, even described herself as neither religious nor agnostic. This  “neither” religious stance, I think is not unique to my Swedish friend. If we or someone cannot convince us with strong evidences, which usually tends to be empirical in nature, we either decide not to engage in the respective sphere or choose to remain ambiguous – or as “neither”.

In the Television series we watched, the questions that we find asking each other on a daily basis, are raised in one way or the other. Specifically, in Supernatural 4.1, there is the conflicting representation of an angel. For instance, when Dean confronts Castiel, who claims to be an angel, he rebuffs, “I thought angels were supposed to be guardians, fluffy wings, halos, you know… Michael Landon, not dicks.” As Line Nylon Petersen states,”basic dichotomies are destroyed”, with the portrayal of Castiel as a violent and unsympathetic angel – if he really is one. Petersen further elaborates, “The good does not exclude the bad, the innocent does not exclude the purposeful evil, nor the other way around”. This complex and hence conflicting representation or visualization of an angel, hinges on the writers’ desire to attract the younger viewers, the millennials, if you will. Like a young mind fights through the contradictory and often hypocritical “religious” practices and preachings in his/her real world, Dean confronts the hypocrisy of his angel – preaches of good intention, but acts in the opposite manner.

Though I would not describe this generation in extremes terms,”…  allergic to divinity and even to heaven” (Stephen Prothero), I would argue that the instinct or natural tendency to question the nature of heaven and divinity – or to look for alternative views – is definitely a defining characteristic of this century.


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