A Few Thoughts on the Good Place and God Friended Me

Ella Olson on Unsplash

Who doesn’t love a good bowl of soup? On a chilly day, there’s nothing better to warm the bones and soul.

Toss in a little this and a little that and you’ll soon have a rich broth packed with all the ingredients you like and few if you don’t care for. Your personalized blend of ingredients hint at their origin, but is really a new creation.

As a meal or a snack, a good bowl is satisfying and filling; however, in your faith life, Gospel soup may seem familiar, but it leaves your soul hungering for truth and salvation.

Today’s media is serving up Gospel soup in shows that leave you smiling, feeling warm, and fuzzy.From an entertainment standpoint, they’re funny and engaging. However, a closer look reveals agendas easily embraced, but void of actual truths, and filled with carefully crafted deceptions. Let’s look at a few examples.

Not too long ago, the whole family enjoyed binging four seasons of The Good Place. It was funny and filled with characters you loved or hated. Stuffed with stereotypes, The Good Place never took itself seriously as it offered up a twisted view of eternity and faith.

In a nutshell, after death you get a second chance at heaven by being good enough on our own merit; no Jesus needed! Also, the closest thing to God is a judge best described as a sexually repressed mix of Dr. Ruth Westheimer and Judge Judy.

Though The Good Place never attempts being believable, it introduces seductive ideas like the ultimate Mulligan, getting a second chance to be a better person after dying.

How can we forget, Heaven being broken? So what’s the solution? Once you’ve done all you wanted to in heaven and had enough of paradise, you simply choose to cease existing, no strings. I have to admit, after a few extra hard days, this may have briefly sounded inviting.

The thing is, our souls are eternal and will never cease to exist. What we do in our bodies does matters and explains why we need a savior, why we need Jesus.

Our next example of Gospel soup is in God Friended Me. Miles Finer, an atheist, receives a friend request on Facebook by someone claiming to be God. The show revolves around Miles and gang helping suggested friends while searching for the source of the God account. An interesting tension exists between Miles, who host a popular pod cast about his Atheist beliefs, and his Reverend father.

As Miles and gang help various friends, circumstances hint at a higher power or maybe a tech-genius?

Filled with misleading statements meant to be life shaping such as, “Follow your heart, it will never lead you wrong.’ Viewers can swallow this heart-warming sentiment. Even my kids balked at this one knowing their bibles say,

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it?“ Jeremiah 17:9

By the second season, Miles’ father is now Bishop of New York. He is also openly living with his fiance and unapologetic. His stand effectively torpedoes an already fractured view of Christians and their faith. The one person who challenges the Bishop’s decision is labeled a traditionalist, out of date and kicked to the curb.

Other than Miles’ continued assertions there is no God, the show commits to nothing. Sorry for the spoiler, but Miles and gang never actually find the person behind the God account. none the less, the series ends with Miles on a snowy mountaintop being greeted by a child monk of an unnamed faith; you do the math.

I liked both series because they are highly entertaining as long as you watch them aware of their agendas; I recommend them.

I’m guessing many of you are shaking your heads and thinking what’s the big deal these show messages don’t sound so bad.” Maybe you even have your own truth.” Like it or not, there are absolute truths, gravity for instance. A blend of ingredients can make a satisfying and filling soup, but cherry picking faith leads no where good. Either you believe or you don’t.

The Good Place didn’t have it all wrong. You can get a second chance. All you need to do is ask Jesus to forgive you and take control of your life.

Lastly, God did friend me, but not on Facebook; He friended me when Jesus went to the cross for me and you!

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Brian Jakowski

I’m a missionary, pastor & Freelance Writer based in Maues Am, Brazil. We teach ESL work with local tribes and I write on all things regarding faith & Family.