"And the stars are projectors, yeah, projecting our lives down to this planet Earth." - Modest Mouse
I would be remiss in my duties as an avid Simpsons fan by not mentioning this article by Gerry Bowler called, God and The Simpsons: The Spirituality of Springfield. I should admit that for a long time I held fast to the notion that the creation of television was an evolutionary tactic designed solely to deliver The Simpsons to humanity.
On The Simpsons, God, the Devil, Heaven, Hell and angels are all treated as having objective reality. Homer, in fact, meets God. He and the Creator of the Universe discuss Homer's decision to stay home from church and God admits that he himself is not a big fan of sermons or of Reverend Lovejoy, to whom he thinks he will give a canker sore. Later, when Homer has agreed to go back to church and he falls asleep in the pew, he has another vision of God. Homer asks him the meaning of life, and God reveals that he knows old jokes:
God: Homer, I can't tell you that. You'll find out when you die.
Homer: I can't wait that long!
God: You can't wait six months?
Homer and Bart both have encounters with the devil as well. After a traffic accident, Bart starts on his way to Heaven but, because he did not hold on to the handrail of the escalator taking him to the Pearly Gates, and because he spat over the edge, he is sent to Hell. Satan, however, has to tell him that a mistake has been made:
Devil: Boy, is my face red... According to this you're not due to arrive until the Yankees win the pennant. That's nearly a century from now.
Bart: Say, is there anything I can do to avoid coming back here?
Devil: Oh, sure, yeah, But you wouldn't like it.
Bart: Oh, OK. See you later then.
Devil: Remember! Lie, cheat, steal and listen to heavy metal music!
In an episode which features the family falling asleep in church during the Easter service and dreaming their own Bible stories, Marge awakes to find that the end of the world has arrived. She watches the Flanders family being lofted toward eternal bliss while an opening to Hell appears for the Simpsons. She wonders, “Why aren't we ascending into heaven?” and concludes sadly, “Oh, right. The sins.”
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