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Author Topic: Religion in Futurama  (Read 2548 times)
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Pootytang907

Poppler
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« on: 05-09-2009 18:20 »

Hello. I've been a long time Futurama fan and i'm currently writing a paper for a film and television class over fan reception of religion in Futurama. I was wondering if any of you guys could give me some feedback on how you felt about episodes such as "Hell Is Other Robots" or "Godfellas". Basically, in what ways has Futurama (with these 2 episodes in mind) shaped the way you look at religion? Thanks in advance.
Gorky

Space Pope
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« Reply #1 on: 05-09-2009 18:41 »
« Last Edit on: 05-09-2009 18:43 »

I don't think the show ever took an overwhelmingly positive stance on religion ("Godfellas" explores the topic more earnestly than "Hell is Other Robots"), but then again, neither have I personally. So I'm not sure how helpful my thoughts will be here, but I suppose I'll offer 'em for the heck of it.

"Hell is Other Robots" is a blatant satire of Scientology, which I'm not sure qualifies as a real religion, anyway--but I guess that's kind of the point. The episode's about a cult masquerading as a religion, and in that respect it shows that groups with such strict and arbitrary guidelines kind of pulverize the humanity and impulsiveness right out of a person (er, robot). No smoking, no drinking, none of that magnificent smut. Bender's trip to Robot Hell is, I suppose, a way of punishing him for his crimes; but, that he makes such a speedy escape via a rigged fiddle contest kind of undermines that whole "hell is permanent" thing. Overall, I think the message of the episode (not like Futurama is a preachy show) is that, well, sleaze is fun and religion is...not so much.

The message of "Godfellas", I think, is that, if God does exist, he's using a light touch, and that ultimately mankind still has free will. Like Bender concludes, "You can't count on God for jack." I don't think that's a negative thing, per se; I think it's actually kind of positive, because it shows that you are more responsible for your fate than any being up in heaven or space or whatever is.

I'm not sure either episode really changed how I feel about religion (like I said, I'm not a religious person), but I think they both make valid points in favor of just living and not worrying about what God might think. I think they're more about freedom of choice than they are about religion, really.
Svip

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #2 on: 05-09-2009 19:22 »

The clear message of "Godfellas" is that you should depend too heavily on your faith.  If you are too caught up in believing your god will save you, then he probably won't.

Futurama did not change my view on religion in any way, but I did admit that the episodes, especially "Godfellas", had some good theological points.
speedracer
Bending Unit
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« Reply #3 on: 05-09-2009 19:46 »

There are two related theological points in Godfellas:

1.  God isn't necessarily going to rain miracles left and right upon his believers on demand, as mentioned above; he expects us to use the talents and gifts we've been given to solve our problems.

2.  One also has to wonder if faith and belief really have much meaning if God does constantly reveal himself in blatantly obvious ways.  If his existence is so obvious that we are compelled to believe in him, then that takes away from our free will and self-determination -- indeed, it makes us something less than human.  For faith to have any meaning at all, it must be logically possible to doubt or be skeptical.

FWIW, I consider myself to be a practicing Christian, and I think Godfellas got its message across in an irreverent yet very sensible, even-handed and non-parochial manner.
Chug a Bug

Bending Unit
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« Reply #4 on: 05-09-2009 19:53 »
« Last Edit on: 05-10-2009 13:42 »

Or if you rely on your god to intervene too much, or start wars against the unbelievers in the name of god the results are often disastrous too. A dig at fundamentalism.

Quote
Godfellas had some good theological points.

"you have to use a light touch, that way, people won't be sure you're done anything at all"

Indeed.

Edit: lol, I knew I should have checked my quotes first before relying on memory..
Svip

DOOP Secretary
*
« Reply #5 on: 05-09-2009 20:04 »

"When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all."
* Svip rins
Pootytang907

Poppler
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« Reply #6 on: 05-09-2009 20:27 »

Thanks for all the responses so far guys. I think it's interesting that a 22-minute long cartoon could inspire such theological thought. But damn if "Godfellas" isn't a great episode. My favorite in the series. Any other comments or thoughts are greatly appreciated. Thanks again.
FistfulOAwesome

Starship Captain
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« Reply #7 on: 05-09-2009 20:36 »

Nobody seams to have mentioned BWABB and the second half of that episode focuses on the religion of The Creature. Personally I think The Creature's religious tones were too base and simple to really count as a Futurama jab at religion (SouthPark's two-part "Buck Rogers" episode did a much better job with the flying spaghetti monster joke) so it probably isn't worth mentioning. However I dislike that episode (as much as a Futurama fan can) so I'm not the best authority on its religious views.

Perhaps now that I've mentioned it someone who appreciated it's religious views could help Poot out?
Gorky

Space Pope
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« Reply #8 on: 05-10-2009 01:31 »

Well, I guess it works as a comment on how cults are creepy, pseudo-religions that just brainwash you. It's sort of about the mob-mentality aspect of religion. So, not a positive message.

Chug a Bug

Bending Unit
***
« Reply #9 on: 05-10-2009 13:49 »
« Last Edit on: 05-10-2009 14:06 »

I thought the whole concept of "god" in Godfellas at least was quite positive overall... I mean he was a benevolent deity, if deity he was... (that was ambiguous too, and I'm not referring to Bender here.). I felt ok about leaving the fate of the universe in his hands... it was peoples interpretation of "god" that caused the problems.

But BWaBB was probably too simplistic to count as anything other than what Gorky pointed out.
FistfulOAwesome

Starship Captain
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« Reply #10 on: 05-10-2009 19:46 »

Glad to know I'm not alone in finding Beast simplistic.

I don't feel like writing about Godfellas other than agreeing that it is a great episode that handles its messages well, is great development for Bender/Fry, and is funny to boot.
Jezzem

Urban Legend
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« Reply #11 on: 05-10-2009 19:56 »

I liked BWaBB but I still think that the religious themes were much more simplistic than those in Godfellas.
speedracer
Bending Unit
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« Reply #12 on: 05-10-2009 19:59 »

I agree that BWaBB was pretty ham-fisted in its religious commentary/satire.  That being said, I think Bender's parody of 1 Corinthians 13 at the very end was hilarious.
FistfulOAwesome

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #13 on: 05-10-2009 20:15 »

^Agreed. That, the Pirate's Battle, and Deathball were the only good parts of the movie.
Jezzem

Urban Legend
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« Reply #14 on: 05-10-2009 20:46 »

Second... Or rather third I suppose...
Do The Bender Uh Ah

Crustacean
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« Reply #15 on: 05-16-2009 08:36 »

hey i always felt uneasy will they poked fun at religon.
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