Theology and Glee

Last night’s Glee was one of my all-time favorites.  Not only were the songs (by The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Barbra Streisand, REM, and Billy Joel among others) fantastic – so was the storyline.  Last night the characters tackled spirituality and religion; and so by default many aspects of human psychology.

Specifically, the cast (led by Kurt Hummel) grappled with some of the most difficult and confusing questions in theology:

  • Why does God let bad things happen?
  • Since we can’t prove the existence of God, how do we know he exists?
  • How do you pray? What should you pray for?  Who should you pray to?
  • How do we have relationships with people who believe differently from us?
  • If our prayers are answered, does that prove (or disprove) God’s existence?

It’s rare to see these topics discussed in pop culture in serious, thoughtful ways.  And it’s refreshing to see them discussed outside of politics, religious institutions, and talk shows.  Seeing life’s tough questions through the eyes of our favorite TV characters makes the questions more accessible to the rest of us.  And invites us to actually participate in the discussion – rather than just take sides.