“The Springfield Reformation is as smart, searing and timely as The Simpsons! Jamey Heit demonstrates how The Simpsons holds up a cracked and crucial mirror to American civil religion and particularly Protestant Christianity. He highlights Homer’s comedic misunderstandings of God and Lisa’s sharp, spiritual insights. The Springfield Reformation points out the gap between Americans’ beliefs and practices (just like the show). Heit’s masterful survey of 400 episodes (and the movie!) make it an essential addition to the growing field of theology and pop culture.”
Craig Detweiler, Ph.D., director of Reel Spirituality, Fuller Theological Seminary and author of Into the Dark: Seeing the Sacred in the Top Films of the 21st Century Cinema.
“The Simpsons holds up a funhouse mirror to American Society, presenting a distorted image in which we nonetheless very clearly recognize our own reflection. In The Springfield Reformation Heit provides a humorous and thoroughgoing analysis of Christianity on The Simpsons and along the way sheds light on much of what is right and wrong about contemporary American Christianity. Evolution, economics, and evangelicals all get due attention. Any fan of the show will find this book rewarding reading.”
William Irwin, co-editor of The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D’oh! of Homer
“Has any television show had a greater impact on American culture over the past two decades than The Simpsons? Heit, a doctoral student of religion and literature, deftly demonstrates how the program has transcended being solely a cartoon show to becoming one of the more incisive sources of commentary on culture in the United States. A substantial part of that culture is focused on religion, and The Simpsons allows Americans to view their wide array of attitudes about religion in a humorous light. The author comments on the show’s occasional negative critiques of the overwhelmingly Christian conservative religious culture in America, but his tone is always balanced. He describes how The Simpsons tackles thorny issues like religion and science and the interpretation of Scripture with humor—an ingredient often left out of these public debates. One of the key themes of the book is how the program helps viewers navigate the realities of organized religion in a post-modern world that often sloughs it off as silly superstition. Like Mark Pinsky in The Gospel According to the Simpsons, Heit offers a fun and insightful ride through one of the more enduing phenomena in American culture.”
“In this wise and engaging book, Jamey Heit offers us a profound and perceptive new view of the ways Christianity is presented, criticized and gently reaffirmed in television’s now-classic comic series, The Simpsons. By continually comparing the series’ portrayal of contemporary American religion to Reformation critiques of the religious practice of its day, Heit gives us a brilliantly illuminating context for interpreting the show as constructive satire, and for hearing between its lines a call to reform some of our own religious and social assumptions.”
Brian E. Daley, SJ; Catherine F. Huisking Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame