The United States is the world's primary creator and exporter of popular mass culture and arguably one of the most religious countries in modern history. As a result, the tense coexistence of American religion with popular culture has created a fertile yet caustic compound which generates new religious belief structures, new texts, and new worldviews that are uniquely American.This work considers ways in which American cultural products such as television, advertising, music, and video games have played a significant role in creating, representing, and influencing contradictory religious identities. The authors examine three distinct segments of popular culture that 'rescript the sacred,' including popular religious texts (e.g. the Left Behind series of books and the Christian fantasy vels of Frank Peretti), secular works that netheless reflect and influence popular religions (e.g. The Simpsons and South Park ), and works that contain a central element of religious content but clear didactic intent (e.g. The Da Vinci Code and Joan of Arcadia ).
Richard Santana is assistant professor of English at the Rochester Institute of Technology and director of literary and cultural studies. He lives in Lyons, New York. Gregory Erickson teaches world literature and writing at Mannes College and New York University. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.