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The Media’s Shallow Attitude Toward Faith

Sometimes you read something that really resonates, and that happened this week when I read Mary McNamara’s Los Angeles Times review of the TV movie “The Sunset Limited.”  Writing on how shallow the discussions in the media are on God and faith, she says:

“Despite America’s current preoccupation with, and politicization of, religion, there are not many national forums in which the nature of God and faith are discussed with any passion or depth. On television, an undertone of spirituality versus science lurks beneath the character conflicts on certain shows; the new Oprah network has taken this to its obvious limit by launching a reality program in which alleged miracles are investigated by a believer and a nonbeliever. Only a few shows — Fox’s “House,” HBO’s “Big Love” — discuss God and the implications of faith with any regularity. Even then, the prophets are rarely brought into it; any reference to Jesus has become narrative shorthand for conservative evangelicals, and mentioning Muhammad brings its own set of PR problems.

For that reason alone, HBO’s “The Sunset Limited” is worth watching. As the equally formidable Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson circle each other in Cormac McCarthy’s play examining the nature of belief, one is reminded of all that is not being said on television. Fundamental conversations about the human condition, about what we need and do not need to make the most of our mortal lives once drove our artistic and philosophical discourse. Now, more often than not, they are boiled down to chatter about commitment and tolerance, or the importance of friendship. If television is any guide, we are much more concerned with our weight and the state of our self-esteem than the cultivation, or even existence, of our immortal souls.”

Good stuff.  I’m going to check out that show…

Here’s the link:,0,1340741.story

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One Comment

  1. I heard the NPR interview with Tommy Lee Jones. They aired some clips from “Sunset Limited.” This movie raises some very deep and substantive issues about life, faith, happiness, God, and more.

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