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Journal of Religion and Violence

Volume 1, Issue 3, 2013

Suicide: Why Do People Kill Themselves In The Name Of Religion?

Lynn S. Neal
Pages 322-342
DOI: 10.5840/jrv2013135

Suicide and Cultural Memory in Functional Television

As the central storyteller in and of American life, television has played a profound role in the maintenance and dissemination of the cult stereotype. By emphasizing these stereotypical features, television shows firmly situate cults as abnormal and dangerous entities on the American religious landscape. Many of these televised portrayals include issues of cult violence, specifically suicide. This article analyzes how fictional American television shows from South Park to CSI have depicted the relationship between cults and suicide. In addition to episode analysis, this article addresses the role that popular culture plays in perpetuating anti-cult ideas and attitudes.

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