Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Religion and the Winchesters

For all the talk of hell and demons on the show, God hasn’t come into play in the lives of the Winchesters until Dean’s return from hell. Sure, they use the accoutrements of faith, particularly holy water and the rosary, but how much do they believe? I thought you couldn’t create holy water unless your faith was strong. I guess their faith is more geared toward it working against the demons, since they’re able to create holy water all the time.

(What is Kripke’s religious background? Anyone know?)

We don’t see much of John’s faith, and we know Dean doesn’t believe as early as “Faith,” one of my favorite episodes. Sam is the one who drags Dean to the preacher. Yes, Sam is desperate for anything to help his brother, but he also believes it will work.

When they discover the healing is supernatural, Dean’s faith is not strengthened. The one thing that DOES make Dean change his mind is seeing the Faith of…oh, man….Layla? Lola? Lila? He offers to pray for her. I wonder if he does. And if he does….what does that mean?

We learn in “Houses of the Holy” that Sam prays every day. Dean absolutely does not believe in angels because every night his mother told him angels were watching over him. Because she died so violently, he no longer believed angels were watching over him.

NOW I wonder if she knew what she was talking about. Have angels been watching over Dean all this time?

Dean felt justified at the end of “Houses of the Holy” and Sam’s belief was shaken. Dean didn’t like that, either. I love this show’s use of those shades of gray. Dean’s belief seems to be if God exists, why does all this bad happen? Why do demons wander the earth, destroying families, leaving children to be raised as he and Sam were raised?

Sam’s faith must extend from the opposite end of the spectrum. If there is evil, good must exist.

We see the faith, or lack of faith, in other characters, too. Tessa the Reaper tells Dean there is no happy place. Anna questioned her faith and lost her grace. Uriel turned his back on God to raise his brother Lucifer. Castiel is questioning his own heretofore unshakeable faith.

Now they have proof God exists, only no one knows his purpose. In the world of Kripke, God seems even more distant than He might in our world. Where is He while Lilith is trying to raise Lucifer? Is He so confident in his angels’ ability to defeat her? Is He testing humanity through the Winchesters? Why have only five angels seen Him?

The more I learn about the Supernatural God, the more I tend to take Dean’s side.

We know there is a hell. We know Reapers take souls, but where? Where did the boy from “Death Takes a Holiday” go when Tessa embraced him, if there is no happy place?

Here’s a question that occurred to me when I was writing this. Where did Sam’s soul go when he died? True, he wasn’t dead as long as Dean, but was he walking the earth? Why doesn’t he remember?


phouse1964 said...

I love the Show's use of religion. Even back in S1 and S2 before we knew so much about angels and demons, I liked that Sam had faith even with all the crappy things that have happened to him and his family.

Faith and Houses of the Holy have always been in my top 10 episodes. I keep waiting for that "mom told me every night that angels were watching over me" to come back and mean something.

While I am not one of the people that think of God as some dude in heaven in a robe watching over us and letting everyone kill each other, I do believe in a higher power. (and it's a chick!) They has to be good and evil for us to appriciate the good and want to do away with the evil )or not in some cases) Life would be boring without torment. And I do think that what doesn't kill us makes us stronger so just think how strong our boys must be!

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Mary, I periodically wonder that about Sam, too. He didn't remember being there, wherever there was.

Hm. I just realized, we've never seen anyone die and go to hell. We've only seen them dragged there without actual death. I wonder if that means something.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE how the show is handling this stuff. You alluded to one thing--Dean absolutely doesn't believe, he faces it logically, but he just as strongly supports his brother's faith--like when he told him not to judge all angels just because a couple of them are dicks. And on the other side, Sam doesn't want to force Dean to agree with his viewpoint, but he's a little sensitive and protective of his own.

I consider faith and religion to be two different things, and as such, I guess the show is addressing faith rather than religion.

Very nice topic, Mary!

Anonymous said...

>>>I consider faith and religion to be two different things, and as such, I guess the show is addressing faith rather than religion

Well put, Natalie!

Trish Milburn said...

I think you're right, Natalie, about faith and religion being too different things.

It is interesting how everyone's faith on this show has been shaken, even Castiel. It the recent episode (On the Head of Pin?) where his faith is being shaken to its core by Uriel's betrayal and how Anna's viewpoint making sense was heart-wrenching. I thought Misha's acting was great in that episode.