Spiritual lessons from Game of Thrones

Every once in a while, it’s good to step back and scan the horizon of contemporary culture.

It’s beneficial on many levels to recognize what’s popular, and to honestly discern: How is a particular cultural phenomenon affecting the life of Christian believers?

How can this phenomenon be “baptized” and used to help people of faith?

Believers know that everything in our world expresses some positive reflection of divine truth. This conviction is born from the belief that creation is good and was made from the overflowing of God’s love.

Since all things are vestiges of God, therefore, they participate in a great analogy of being.

This means that created things share in God’s wisdom, power, and beauty, and they manifest these divine realities in our world today.

Our task as we look at our culture is to discern these heavenly truths, name them, and draw them out of things.

This exercise has been called by several names, the most popular being the sacramental principle.

This principle holds that created things can be visible signs of invisible grace, namely, that they are indications to us of divine favor in the hustle and bustle of our lives.

And so, whether it’s Roman mythsPokeman Gofidget spinners, or the recent eclipse, everything is a breathing word of God, who is the Author of all things, and so can be a source of transcendence, faith, and goodness.

This interplay between heaven and earth is a powerful and uplifting assertion. But is it true? Can all things really reflect heavenly realities?

Let’s go ahead and step back and peruse Western culture today. What do we see? One predominant and surprising trend is the television show, Game of Thrones.

The show has an unprecedented fan base, has received extensive awards, and has become a topic of conversation across our society’s spectrum.

The show is violent, sexually explicit, crude, despairing, full of plots that are manipulative and coercive, praises vicious and merciless characters, mocks virtue and shows how to use it against people, and screams utilitarian barbarism. Continue reading

  • Fr Jeffrey F Kirby is a Catholic priest of the Diocese of Charleston, South Carolina.
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