May 122011

My wife once observed that when one is pregnant, one tends to notice all the other pregnant women one encounters in day-to-day life. The same thing happens when you have a newborn child. You become much more sensitized to things that are always around such that you notice them where in normal circumstances you would not have noticed.

I have been wondering recently what effect has been causing me to notice all the Christians that have been showing up in reality shows on television. For example, in shows such as Big Brother, which one season had a “Christian alliance”; or The Amazing Race in which contestants often implore “help me Jesus” when confronted with a difficult task; or Survivor, which this season has a number of Christian contestants, one of whom was overjoyed when another contestant who had been voted off left him her “personal item”, a Bible. Of course, at least Big Brother and Survivor don’t seem to allow the contestants to bring any books other than a Bible.

The Survivor contestant who received the Bible is an interesting example. He has been relegated to “Redemption Island” for most of the show, having been blindsided twice by his “alliance.” He’s a likable young man who is very competitive in challenges, but a bit naive about the intrigue and scheming that happens in the game. He has about reached the end of his rope psychologically, but continues to persevere because he believes that the Lord has kept him in the game this long for some reason.

Then there is the relatively new series, Top Shot, broadcast on the History channel. It’s a marksmanship show, so all the contestants tend to be more conservative. In fact, in the second season, all the finalists had military backgrounds (Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force). There was a scene on the show where the contestants are all praying together before a meal.

I suspect that one reason I’m noticing Christians more often is that Christians do things that are more obviously identified a being religiously driven (such as praying or asking Jesus to help in times of stress). The irreligious, for whom religion is a non-issue, would behave in what to the outside observer would seem a more normal manner.

In any case, I have been noticing more overt religiosity in these reality shows and it almost feels as if the producers could be actively casting more contestants who will behave in that manner. Is that possible? Could it be driven by the contemporary culture in the country?

 Posted by at 11:27 am