Spiritual Lessons from The X-Files

Fox-TV's The X-Files has ended nine years in which a duo of FBI agents investigated unexplained phenomena—killer bees, government conspiracies, freaks-of-the-week, magical children, UFOs, near-death experiences, religious mysteries—and uncovered a few spiritual lessons:

The Truth is out there. In these postmodern times, when the very nature of truth is called into question, it has been great to know that someone believes the truth actually exists. As extraordinary FBI agents Dana Scully and Fox Mulder keep the faith, so do we.

I want to believe. A poster with this slogan hangs in the X-Files office. Kind of a modern take on what the father of a demon-possessed boy said to Jesus before the healing: "I believe. Help my unbelief." The desire to believe is sometimes the best we can do.

Trust no one. Reminiscent of Jesus' statement to the rich young man, "No one is good but God." The spiritual lesson here is not the imperative to "trust no one," because often on The X-Files trust is crucial to survival. Even though there were plenty of people and entities not to be trusted, the real spiritual lesson from the series is "be careful who you trust."

Government denies knowledge. In X-Files mythology, the government is in cahoots with a powerful secret cabal that hides "the truth" in order to keep the public from becoming panicked or disillusioned. The X-Files exaggerates, but there is a lesson here. Those who joined the civil rights movement to fight government-sanctioned racism, or gave sanctuary to refugees fleeing U.S.-backed insurrections in El Salvador, and who now plead for restraint in the new "war on terrorism" know that government PR cannot be taken at face value.

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Sojourners Magazine July-August 2002
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