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God and Popular Culture

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Entertainment Industry's Most Influential Figure

by Stephen Butler Murray and Aimée Upjohn Light, Editors


God is a topic that is finding new relevancy in popular culture today.

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Cover image for God and Popular Culture

August 2015


Pages 628
Volumes 2
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Popular Culture/General

This contributed two-volume work tackles a fascinating topic: how and why God plays a central role in the modern world and profoundly influences politics, art, culture, and our moral reflection—even for nonbelievers.

God—in the many ways that people around the globe conceptualize Him, Her, or It—is one of the most powerful, divisive, unifying, and creative elements of human culture. The two volumes of God and Popular Culture: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Entertainment Industry's Most Influential Figure provide readers with a balanced and accessible analysis of this fascinating topic that allows anyone who appreciates any art, music, television, film, and other forms of entertainment to have a new perspective on a favorite song or movie.

Written by a collective of both believers and nonbelievers, the essays enable both nonreligious individuals and those who are spiritually guided to consider how culture approaches and has appropriated God to reveal truths about humanity and society. The book discusses the intersections of God with film, television, sports, politics, commerce, and popular culture, thereby documenting how the ongoing messages and conversations about God that occur among the general population also occur within the context of the entertainment that we as members of society consume—often without our recognition of the discussion.


  • Supplies a broad conception of "God" that provides readers with a fuller and more accurate portrait of a phenomenon that evolved substantially over time but also remains an enduring—and enduringly influential—element of popular culture
  • Explores not only how individuals grapple with the question of God, but also how God invariably and unintentionally enters people's thinking
  • Supplies direct examples of the key role that God plays in everyday life that readers will find compelling from both a personal and cultural perspective
  • Comprises essays from sociologists, theologians, cultural critics, and journalists that present a wide range of perspectives and approaches to this universally relevant topic
Author Info

The Reverend Stephen Butler Murray, PhD, is president and professor of systematic theology and preaching at Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit, MI. He previously served on the faculty and in the chaplaincy of Harvard Divinity School, Endicott College, Skidmore College, and Suffolk University and was senior pastor at The First Baptist Church of Boston, MA. He is the author of Reclaiming Divine Wrath: A History of a Christian Doctrine and Its Interpretation and coeditor of Crossing By Faith: Sermons on the Journey from Youth to Adulthood with David L. Bartlett and Claudia Ann Highbaugh. He is a graduate of Yale Divinity School and received his doctorate in systematic theology from Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

Aimée Upjohn Light, PhD, is assistant professor of theology at Duquesne University and specializes in interreligious work and feminist theologies. She received her doctorate in philosophy of religion from Yale University and is the author of God at the Margins: Making Theological Sense of Religious Plurality, coeditor of the forthcoming series Interreligious Studies in Faith and Practice, and editor of the forthcoming book Identity and Exclusion.

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