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Religion and Pop Culture

Introduction-The presentation of religion by popular culture stemmed from the goal of religious leaders to ensure that popular culture meshed with religious culture. However, in their presentation of religion as popular culture, religious leaders were responsible for helping turn popular culture into a religion of its own.

The growth of commerce and popular culture were infused with religion in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Proclaiming business as the ôsanest religion,ö Purinton (1921) remarked that ôAny relationship that forces a man to follow the Golden Rule rightfully belongs amid the ceremonials of the churchö (p. 2). Purinton viewed business as presupposing this relationship. As competing forms of interest vied with religion, religious leaders turned to infusing popular culture with religion.

An example of how religion was presented as popular culture that helped spark popular culture as a religion in its own right comes from the work of Francis Willard, who mounted religious conventions that rivaled forms of popular entertainment. This included theatrical like sets and music that helped speakers ôbring down the houseö (Selling, p. 157).

Religious leaders knew they had to stay ahead of popular culture so that once it infiltrated rural areas it was forced to stay within established standards. However, in competing with each other to construct moral boundaries for popular culture, such leaders ôturned their own creeds into competing products in the marketplace of cultureö (Selling, p. 146).

As painters sold evangelical images to magazines and religious goods firms, as religious shrines entered into museums and other public spaces, and as religious goods became competing commodities among different religious groups, popular culture was transformed into a virtual religion in its own right. Popular culture is now a form of religion, one that encompasses a wide array of commodities and kit...

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Religion and Pop Culture. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 23:26, November 30, 2021, from