Show Less

Religion and Popular Culture

A Hyper-Real Testament


Adam Possamai

Popular culture can no longer be exclusively seen as a source of escapism. It can amuse, entertain, instruct, and relax people, but what if it provides inspiration for religion?
The Church of All Worlds, the Church of Satan and Jediism from the Star Wars series are but three examples of new religious groups that have been greatly inspired by popular culture to (re)create a religious message. These are hyper-real religions, that is a simulacrum of a religion partly created out of popular culture which provides inspiration for believers/consumers. These postmodern expressions of religion are likely to be consumed and individualised, and thus have more relevance to the self than to a community and/or congregation. On the other hand, religious fundamentalist groups tend, at times, to resist this synergy between popular culture and religion, and at other times, re-appropriate popular culture to promote their own religion. Examples of this re-appropriation are Christian super-hero comics and role playing games, Bible-based PC games, and ‘White Metal’ music.
To explore these new phenomena, this book views itself as the ‘hyper-real testament’ of these new religious phenomena by addressing the theories, among many others, of Baudrillard, Jameson and Lipovetsky, and by exploring the use of fictions such as those from Harry Potter, The Matrix, Star Trek, Buffy and The Lord of the Rings.


Show Summary Details
Restricted access

References 163


References AAP (2002), "Is Jedi Now a Religion?", The Age, August 27. Agel, J. (1970), The Making of Kubrick's 2001, New York, Agel Publishing Company. Agence France-Press (2002), "Jedi Census Ploy a Success", The Australian IT, August 28 2002. Agger, B. (1991), "Critical Theory, Postructuralism, Postmodernism: Their Sociological Relevance", Annual Review of Sociology, 17: 105-131. Ahmed, A. (2004), Postmodernism and Islam: Predicaments and Promise (Revised Edition), London and New York, Routledge. Andrae, T. (1987), "From Menace to Messiah: The History and Historicity of Superman", in D. Lazere (ed.), American Media and Mass Culture: Left Perspectives, Berkeley, University of California Press. Anonymous (2001), "Baptists Find Morality in First 'Rings' Movie", Register- Guard, December 22. Internet site, (5/08/04). Anonynous (2003), "Census Return of the Jedi", BBC News, 13 February. Internet site, (7/03/2003). Armitage, J. (2002), "State of Emergency: An lntroduction", Theory, Culture & Society, 19 (4): 27-38. Auerbach, N. (1995), Our Vampires, Ourselves, Chicago and London, Universi- ty of Chicago Press. Bailey, F. (1974), Changing Esoteric Values, New York, Lucis Publishing Company. Bar-Haim, G. (1990), "Popular Culture and Ideological Discontents: A Theory", Politics, Culture & Society, 3 (3): 279-296. Bastide, R. (1996), Les problMws de la vie mystique, Paris, Quadrige/ Presses Universitaires de France. Baudrillard, J. (1970), La socijtj de consommation, Paris, Gallimard. Baudrillard, J. (1979), De la sjduction, Paris, Editions Baudrillard, J. (1983), Siinulacra and Simulation, New York, Sdmiotext(e). Baudrillard, J. (1988), Jean Baudrillard: Selected Writings, Cambridge, Polity Press. Baudrillard, J. (1995), "The Perfect Crime". Internet site, http:...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.