The Gospel according to The Simpsons

Published June 2007 by Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, Kentucky.

The Huffington Post Comedy—The Simpson’s Springfield Finds a Home
For fans of The Simpsons, the long-standing debate on where the iconic family’s hometown of Springfield is located is finally settled. It’s Central Florida, in particular, here at Universal Studios Florida. (read more)

The Faith of Flanders – by Mark I. Pinsky

No one would mistake Ned Flanders, the goofy next-door neighbor in “The Simpsons,” for a polished televangelist like Joel Osteen. But over the past two decades the zealous cartoon character has become one of the best-known evangelicals on America’s small screen. With Americans spending exponentially more time on their sofas watching television than in pews listening to sermons, this is no insignificant matter. (read more)

Lifeline for mainliners – by Mark I. Pinsky
These once-dominant liberal Protestant denominations have been drained
by demographic realities and eclipsed by conservative religious voices. (read more)


The Golden Rolodex – by Mark I. Pinsky

Imagine a time before the Internet and the explosion of cable television news and opinion shows. In those days, journalists looking for academic authorities for their stories relied on something called the “Golden Rolodex.” This was an informal list of easily reachable and articulate professors, experts and authors whom we could call. Only death or disgrace could dislodge those on it to make room for others. (read more)



Do You Know This Family?
 – by Mark I. Pinsky

You only think you do. The Simpsons have skeletons in their closet.
And they’re shaped like menorahs… (read more)


Mark Pinsky chats with Jay Kelly from Wired Parish


Author ponders ‘What would Flanders do?’

What would Ned Flanders, the earnest, endlessly cheery evangelical Christian
of ‘The Simpsons’ TV show, think of ‘The Simpsons Movie’?


Palm Beach Post Religion Writer – Saturday, August 04, 2007

Reading a transcript from The Simpsons television show, Rabbi Howard Shapiro murmurs, “Whoever authored this, they knew what they were doing.” This professional compliment, from the head of Temple Israel in West Palm Beach, refers to an episode in which Bart and Lisa Simpson use a discussion technique from the Talmud, the collection of Jewish laws. Their goal is to persuade a rabbi to reconcile with his son, Krusty the Klown.


Animating Religion: Cartoons, Faith and Values – by Mark I. Pinsky

On the heels of a worldwide opening-weekend box-office take of 168 million dollars, as well as great reviews, it’s clear that The Simpsons Movie is reaching well beyond the long-running TV show’s fan base. Like the small-screen version, the movie incorporates many elements of faith, spirituality and divine intervention. And this is just the latest manifestation of the impact The Simpsons and other animated comedies are having
on the way young Americans are encountering religion.


Today’s ‘Simpsons Movie’ Allows a Look at

Our Favorite TV Clan’s Faith, Morals
By Cary McMullen
Ledger Religion Editor

The Simpsons enjoy a family outing far from their Springfield
home in “The Simpsons Movie.”


Is Bart Simpson a godsend to religion?
Saturday, July 21, 2007


Talkback with Mark Pinsky

Once denounced for its irreverence, after it’s 400th episode, The Simpsons still grapple with many of the same religious and moral issues facing the rest of us in non-cartoon society — Gay marriage; a child’s conversion to Buddhism; socially awkward and weird Christian neighbors! The Simpsons have paved the way for other envelope pushing animated sitcoms, which also address the theme of religion, like South Park, Family Guy & King of The Hill. However, theologians from across denominations agree that The Simpsons is “the most consistent and intelligent treatment of religion on TV.” Mark joins us to chat about the real and surreal aspects of The Gospel According To The Simpsons.


FEATURE: Religion and the Simpsons
July 27, 2007 | Episode no. 1048


The Connection 1590 Interview


D’Oh! Top Ten (Plus One) Religious Episodes on ‘The Simpsons’
By Mark I. Pinsky

Bart Simpson once asked his father about the family’s religious identity.
Homer classically replied, “You know, the one with all the well-meaning rules that don’t work in real life. Uh, Christianity.” In 18 seasons of ‘The Simpsons,’ nearly 20 episodes of the award-winning animated series have focused almost exclusively on faith, religion, and spirituality, while similar subplots, jokes, and images are scattered throughout 150 other episodes.


The Simpsons Movie: Does Springfield Get Religion?
By Mark I. Pinsky

In a recent print “interview” with USA Today, Homer Simpson explains his theology this way: “Every time I see my sweet girl Lisa, I believe in God. Every time I see Bart, I believe in the devil.” Now, those of us who have seen the movie – contributing to a worldwide opening weekend box office of $168 million – know what he meant.

The Simpsons at church
Sunday, July 8, 2007

Nearly two decades old, “The Simpsons” is getting new life amid some recent milestones — its 400th episode, its first feature movie and, less prominently, the reissue of a book that demonstrated how this wacky cartoon is actually home to some of the best explorations of religious themes on television.

The Simpsons: It’s Funny ’Cause It’s True
By Mark I. Pinsky

Flying into Orlando in a 2003 episode of The Simpsons, patriarch Homer peers down at a theme parkand sees a large, distinctive Future Sphere like the one at Disney’s Epcot,and takes a decidedly dim view. “It’s even boring to fly over,” he whines. Thus begins a typically madcap set of misadventures and missteps familiar to any family that has dragged itself to Florida for a vacation it couldn’t afford,including a run-in with a fascist-sounding mouseand grossly overpriced food.


Is The Simpsons still subversive?
By Martin Rosenbaum
Producer, Whose side is Bart Simpson on?, BBC Radio 4

“I will not instigate revolution.” That’s what Bart has to write out repeatedly in an early episode of The Simpsons, which traditionally begins with him chalking up punishment lines on the class blackboard.


Saturday 30 June 2007 10:30-11:00 (Radio 4 FM)

Phill Jupitus looks at the enduring popularity of The Simpsons and asks whether the show’s message is a subversive one or an endorsement of conservative values.


Rabbi Daniel Wolpe reinforces good lessons from ‘The Simpsons’ June 30, 2007


The Gospel According to The Simpsons was recently released with a new afterword exploring South Park, Family Guy and others. Frank Johnson explores the spiritual life of TV animation with author Mark Pinsky.


May / June 2007:
The Gospel According to the Simpsons
An AJL Exclusive Book Excerpt
By Mark I. Pinsky | Illustrations by Matt Groening

613 Words: The summer of ’67

Forty years after the Six Day War, memories of my time as a volunteer in the Israeli army that fateful summer are flooding back.

By Mark I. Pinsky

Racy Cartoons Make Bart Simpson Look Like a, Um, Saint

The treatment of religion on these uber-popular shows is the subject of an updated version of author Mark Pinsky’s runaway hit, “The Gospel According to the Simpsons.” The new edition, set to be released this month, also discusses how the Simpsons are dealing with issues like same-sex marriage and daughter Lisa’s recent conversion to Buddhism.

Cartoons (seriously) can teach us about faith
By Mark I. Pinsky

It’s a Simpsons Summer
by Juli Cragg Hilliard, Religion BookLine

— Publishers Weekly, 5/16/2007

RadioWest/KUER FM 90 (NPR affiliate)

Rebroadcast of Mormonism and Popular Culture

(Originally recorded in August 2006)

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 Curriculum Guide

Author: Mark I. Pinsky
with Samuel Parvin
Page Count: 76
Binding: Paper
ISBN: 0-664-22590-X

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