Talking Simpsons – Homer The Heretic

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Season four of The Simpsons truly begins with Homer The Heretic. It’s such a great episode — truly a religious experience! So join in on this week’s podcast whether you’re Christian, Jew, or miscellaneous …

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21 thoughts on “Talking Simpsons – Homer The Heretic

  1. I personally spent my childhood and teenage life going to church, Sunday school and to the youth group.
    Even spent some summers in Germany at a christian camp along with thousands of other teenagers who had the same beliefs.
    This was mainly because of what my parents were brought up with. My mother who was catholic but now a Protestant also went to Mass when they did it in Latin, she mentioned it lots of times how much she hated going to Latin Mass. When It became around to college I began to stop believing in all of that and felt more comfortable without it. It seems if you grew up with it you’ll attend to end up hating as you get older. Not believing in it anymore gives you more freedom like reading a copy of playdude on a sunday morning.

  2. My dad was brought up Catholic and I don’t think he enjoyed school very much – it was a time where teachers could still hit the students, so it was just never discussed. We simply didn’t go to church and I never complained because I could sleep in on Sundays.

    My aunt and uncle on my mother’s side were very religious (my aunt has since passed away :/) but I remember staying with them for one weekend while my parents were somewhere and being taken to Sunday school with them. I was maybe….8 or 9 years old, and even then I felt really uncomfortable with it. I don’t think my parents would have objected if I had decided I wanted to go to Sunday school again, but I think they’re happy I didn’t.

    I went through my “religion sucks!” phase in my late teens/early twenties when I started listening to a lot of Swedish death metal. (Entombed rules!) Nowadays, I’m like Henry and I’m more respectful of other people’s beliefs. I like to say “I’m not religious” instead of “I’m an atheist”. It’s simpler and it states that I simply don’t follow any religion OR philosophy. It makes people less uncomfortable and I feel I’m being less pushy about my beliefs.

  3. I still have nightmares of having to go to my church’s 4 hour christmas eve mass as a little kid (technically 5 hours, since you apparently had to go an hour early). I held on the the sheet telling the order of the mass for dear life, it was the only way to know when it would end.

  4. More than 30 minutes arguing about religion and atheism and listening to Henry whining made it interminable and borderline un-listenable and reminiscent of high school conversations between kids who though they were more intelligent and tried to one up everyone else, jesus christ shut up . I wonder if people who complain about atheists are self aware enough to realize they’re being just as annoying and offputting as the people they despise.

  5. The only non boring thing about baptist church is potluck.
    Kind of wish i was catholic bc in my baptist churches members constantly ask you a kid if you feel lost annoyingly
    That fucks with your mind man

    Also pizza hut is great

  6. I was raised Catholic (but not in the 1960’s, so I have no idea what Chris is talking about), and my best Sunday school memories was that I met a couple of friends who basically just quoted the Simpsons and Farrelly Brothers movies all day so we’d do that for an hour instead of paying attention or participating in any constructive way. It then became probably my first understanding that this adult volunteering to teach 6th grade Sunday school had literally zero authority over me beyond babysitting me for an hour; he’d assign us homework like memorizing a prayer and I just wouldn’t bother with it at all.

    I think sometimes my mom is sad that she went 0/3 on her kids getting confirmed, but it serves her right for raising a bunch of introverts who hate authority.

  7. This is like the third time I’ve heard Henry claim that he “hates atheists most of all”, specifically more than far-right fundamentalist Christians. I get that those YouTube atheists are annyoing and all, but…..seriously Henry??

  8. Per Chris’s question about attending church, out of my inner circle of friends there is a single person who identifies as Christian, but I don’t think either he or his wife go to church(the other five of us are atheist). Honestly if I tried to make Sunday morning plans with someone I’d be confused if they were already busy. The most actively religious person I can think of is my Aunt who, according to one of her brothers, treats it sort of like a country club where people brag about how many cardinals they’ve met.

    The discussion of this episode brings up a lot of feelings and memories. I don’t recall seeing this episode when I was a kid, or if I had I didn’t interpret it the same way as Bob. Until I was 13 I thought I had come up with a completely original, unique, and previous unconsidered belief that there was no God, and was terrified that I would be ostracized for it. Fortunately for me that wasn’t the case, but if I had been raised on the other side of the state (Washington) things probably would have been different.

  9. My experience with church was similar to Chris’s. When I was young we went with family because that’s what everyone did in a small town in the Midwest. By middle school I started going again because some of the hottest girls in our school were also in my church’s youth group. Gave up on it for most of high school because we got a real asshole fire and brimstone youth pastor, and came back to it my senior year because there was a cool youth pastor and some good friends who went.

    It was always more of a social thing though. Unlike everyone else in the group I read the Bible cover to cover and that was the beginning of the end. I eventually gave up on organized religion in college. It was interesting to hear the story of the guy at the party who said he went through a lot to leave his religion. I haven’t really suffered for not being religious, but around here it’s definitely a bigger deal than in bigger cities. It’d be an even bigger deal if I didn’t escape my three stoplight hometown.

    It’s weird to think of going to church as an anachronism these days. When I was young it was a thing that everyone did. I also had the experience of having to avoid going to certain friend’s houses on Saturdays because I’d be dragged to their church the next morning. We also regularly had religious groups come in and basically proselytize at school sanctioned events during school hours. Younger people are less religious, but it’s still a big part of life for a lot of people in the flyover states.

  10. My family went to Catholic Mass every Sunday until my parents divorced in my teens and they seemed to want to make us resent church as much as possible. First, when I was seven, my dad insisted that we live as far out in the country as possible because that’s always been a dream of his, so my parents each had about an 75 minute one-way commute to the city. Then, my dad wasn’t satisfied with the closest Catholic church that was about 20 minutes away, so he drove us to an even smaller town about an hour away every Sunday. The church was about 90% elderly people so it was devoid of what little enjoyment we could get from the experience AND it wasted more of our Sundays.

    I ended up finishing the whole Confirmation thing throughout my parents’ divorce but then almost right after, my mom quit the Catholic church and started making us attend a more “modern” Christian church with the lively music and younger demographic. I wasn’t crazy about religion in the first place, but after the Confirmation process and ceremony, it felt even more ridiculous to just suddenly change like that, rendering everything meaningless.

    One last thing about religion: my great-uncle is a Catholic priest. We share a birthday, fifty years apart, and a name, and he always wanted me to become a priest like him. He was already a little disappointed when I ended up getting married, but even moreso when I didn’t get married at a church. I’ve always really liked the guy, so I still have lingering guilt about letting him down in just about every way possible.

  11. I would love for you guys to get someone on sometime that is openly religious or at least has a positive attitude towards it. I’m a religious person myself and while I think I’m open minded about things, having every person on your show be hostile/dismissive of religion is just sort of off putting. Another voice to balance things out would be very refreshing. I enjoy most of your shows by the way.

  12. Not sure if people in the US are aware of just how much more religious a country you are than the UK, which is really widely secular.

    I watched a lot of american sitcoms over the years and it always stood out to me how much more religion was treated as a default, there was usually an episode where someone ‘had a falling out’ with god, and of course by the end of the episode they would see the light and everything would be fine again.

    Hearing the team criticise the ‘indignant atheist’, it feels like they are a function of them having to shout louder in a country more traditionally on the hook with organised religion, and more vocally evangelical too. Over here, of course there are people who are religious but this is more of a quiet personal internal thing i think, not one of gospel signing , cringemaking televangelists and politicians using Christianity as a marketing tool.

  13. The Garfield Christmas special IS truly amazing, and I don’t even like Christmas specials.
    I’m actually pretty religious, but perhaps strangely so. My mom raised me in the Catholic Church while everyone in my dad’s family was (and still is) Southern Baptist. My sister got tired and jaded of religious institutions really early and hasn’t set foot in a church since her wedding a decade ago, but I’m still going to Mass every Sunday, making me the only person from my family there. I can see and understand the social aspect of it, and the good a church can do for a community, yet I keep a healthy fear of archaic rules and establishments that don’t really help anyone anymore–churches are always a strange mix of both.
    All that said, I really enjoyed the opening segment where you guys talked about your religious backgrounds. It’s kind of fascinating to see where you all came from there, and how your experiences shaped what you believe today. I feel like the key to being the only religious person in my group of friends (or on the internet in general) is to just be cool and respect everyone else’s thoughts. You don’t have to compromise your beliefs to have friends, after all.
    And I’m surprised at Henry’s surprise over Marge’s religious streak. She’s still kickin’ it in season thirteen when arguing with Lisa over turning Buddhist (I always loved her “I want at least one person in this family to go to heaven” line.)

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