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"Magical Fantasy" or "Satanic Occultism": Evangelical Christian Communities' Critique of Children's Media and Popular Culture
Unformatted Document Text:  15 In the U.S. society, morality is not easily distinguished from religion. In the same vein, moral values are closely connected with religious values. The reviews under study also show this tendency of the relation of the two value system. Positively evaluating reviews often employ the method in order to relate the positive moral lessons involved in the films to the qualities to religiously legitimize the films. By identifying the moral values contained in the films with Christian religious values, the films are granted a status of religiously sound cultural artifacts. In reviews of Spirited Away, a number of moral values are celebrated as “Christian qualities” or “Christian values,” which include love, patience, compassion, sacrifice, self-control, hard work, inner decency, brave, loyalty, forgiveness, duty, mercy, and so on. The “sound spiritual lessons” clear in the movie are so valuable to be able to make up “disturbing images,” “presence of the mythological beings,” and “symbolism of Shinto and Buddhist faith.” Chihiro’s journey in the movie is considered as a spiritual experience through which she became morally and spiritually more “mature.” Especially, it is very highly validated that her efforts and self-sacrifice without violence and vengeance to save their parents from being greed and gluttony. Along with morality, more explicit religious teachings are also pointed out. With a special focus on “spiritual connection,” thematic similarity between the film and Christian theology is emphasized. In Spirited Away, there is a concept that if someone forgets their name, they will never be able to escape the evil power. In a review, this concept is related to Biblical stories: Many stories in the Hebrew scriptures involves the change of names (for example, Jacob’s name is changed to Israel). These name changes are important; they represent a change in the person’s status. In the letter to the church at Pergamum in Revelation there is what seems to us the curious statement that to the one who

Authors: Park, Jin.
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background image
15
In the U.S. society, morality is not easily distinguished from religion. In the same
vein, moral values are closely connected with religious values. The reviews under study
also show this tendency of the relation of the two value system. Positively evaluating
reviews often employ the method in order to relate the positive moral lessons involved in
the films to the qualities to religiously legitimize the films. By identifying the moral
values contained in the films with Christian religious values, the films are granted a status
of religiously sound cultural artifacts.
In
reviews
of
Spirited Away, a number of moral values are celebrated as
“Christian qualities” or “Christian values,” which include love, patience, compassion,
sacrifice, self-control, hard work, inner decency, brave, loyalty, forgiveness, duty, mercy,
and so on. The “sound spiritual lessons” clear in the movie are so valuable to be able to
make up “disturbing images,” “presence of the mythological beings,” and “symbolism of
Shinto and Buddhist faith.” Chihiro’s journey in the movie is considered as a spiritual
experience through which she became morally and spiritually more “mature.” Especially,
it is very highly validated that her efforts and self-sacrifice without violence and
vengeance to save their parents from being greed and gluttony.
Along with morality, more explicit religious teachings are also pointed out. With
a special focus on “spiritual connection,” thematic similarity between the film and
Christian theology is emphasized. In Spirited Away, there is a concept that if someone
forgets their name, they will never be able to escape the evil power. In a review, this
concept is related to Biblical stories:
Many stories in the Hebrew scriptures involves the change of names (for example,
Jacob’s name is changed to Israel). These name changes are important; they
represent a change in the person’s status. In the letter to the church at Pergamum
in Revelation there is what seems to us the curious statement that to the one who


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