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Ambiguously Christian (Needs more hats)
A character performs Christian customs, but their religion is never explicitly mentioned
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(permanent link) added: 2014-01-26 14:04:40 sponsor: TheMuse (last reply: 2014-07-18 23:23:04)

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Due to prevalence of the White Male Lead trope in popular media, a majority of main characters are at least 'Christian acting' if not explicitly Christian. Ambiuously Christian characters may mention celebrating Christian holidays such as Christmas or Easter (especially if they happen to be Santa Clausmas or Easter Bunny Easter) reference to a Fluffy Cloud Heaven or Fire and Brimstone Hell, make some non-specific prayers to a 'higher power' or give some indication of believing or even mentioning a monotheistic (nearly always male) God, especially if he is of the Grandpa God interpretation. (variations on phrases such "The Big Guy" or "The Man Upstairs" are sometimes used) but explicit mentions of Jesus Christ (or other religious figures such as the Virgin Mary, the Holy Spirit, saints, etc.) are not used.

This is often used in media where religion is not a major focus (and could distract from the plot) or in media intended for children, as religion could be a bit too complicated for younger kids to understand and even controversial.

Compare/Contrast Crystal Dragon Jesus, where the religion is explicitly not Christianity, yet still holds elements commonly associated with it. Compare Jesus Taboo. Ambiguously Jewish is the Jewish version of this.


Comic Books
  • Superman is often portrayed as being a Christian—which would make since, considering that he was raised in a traditional American home in rural Kansas. However, in recent years, most writers tend to only imply this and leave it as ambiguous as possible.
  • Captain America has been a devout, albeit secular, Christian in the comics from day one. But this isn't the case in the movies.

  • In The Nightmare Before Christmas, holidays such as Christmas and Easter are mentioned, but they are portrayed in a Santa Clausmas fashion. Particularly notable considering a overwhelming majority of the 'holiday trees' Jack finds in the woods are Christian holidays, the two exceptions being Thanksgiving and Independence day. Jack mentions God once or twice during the song 'Poor Jack' but it's done in a way that is exclamatory rather than overtly religious.
  • In Man of Steel, Clark explicitly asks his father at one point "Did God do this to me?", referring to his unique powers and abilities. Later on, he chooses to visit a priest for advice on how to handle General Zod. According to Word of God, it's heavily implied that Clark was raised Lutheran.
  • In The Avengers, when Black Widow refers to Thor as a god, Captain America, tells her, "There's only one god ma'am, and I'm pretty sure he doesn't dress like that''. Given the time period he was raised, it's heavily implied he's referring to the Christian God.
  • Frozen features Elsa's coronation being performed by a man who is dressed very much like a Christian bishop. Another scene features a portrait of the saint Joan of Arc and is outright described as such, but any details about her are not elaborated upon. Despite this, the closest the movie gets to mentioning religion is Elsa exclaiming "Heaven knows I've tried..." during the song "Let it Go."

  • Bruce Almighty. Grace is a variation of this. She clearly believes in God, and the power of prayer, as she carries around a strand of prayer beads, and prays to God every night (mostly for Bruce), which Bruce ends up listening to while he still has God's powers; however, any indication of her actually being a Christian are never really brought to life

  • In This Is the End, Jay is non-ambiguously Christian, but when supernatural things are confirmed to exist, they are ones that are very Christianity influenced. The movie includes Horny Devils, The Exorcist style exorcism and a Fluffy Cloud Heaven.

  • Harry Potter.
    • The wizarding world celebrates Christianity-influenced holidays such as Halloween, Christmas and Valentine's (but in a secular way) and their big hospital (St. Mungo's) is named after a saint, but no one ever mentions/goes to church or mentions what religion they are.
    • James and Lily's grave has a Bible quotation on it. ("The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" from 1 Corinthians 15:26) But it's never identified as such in-universe and still isn't a huge indication of their religion.
    • Harry also has a god father, but his role is intended to be "raising Harry after his parents die" and is not described as 'raising Harry in the Christian faith"
  • The woodland creatures from Redwall live as a religious-type order (an abbey with an abbot/abbess, various characters referred to as brother/sister, a church named after a saint, etc). However, a supreme being is never even mentioned, let alone any sort of denomination.

Live Action TV
  • Star Trek: The Original Series. Captain Kirk's famous line to the alien impersonating the Greek god Apollo in "Who Mourns for Adonais?":
    "Mankind has no need for gods. We find the one quite adequate."
  • Marshall from How I Met Your Mother seems to be Christian. He celebrates Christmas, says Grace at family dinners, and an argument with his wife about whether they should teach their children about Santa was used as a stand-in for whether they should teach religion. However, he's never shown attending church and when he's referring to a higher power it's always "The Universe" not God.
  • Drop Dead Diva features the protagonist going to Fluffy Cloud Heaven and meeting angels (a concept not exclusive to Christianity) However, any concept of God other than a 'higher power' kind of thing is never mentioned.
  • Joan of Arcadia features the main character repeatedly communicating with a monotheistic God (that takes many forms) There isn't much description of Joan's faith or the details of God beyond that. One recurring character has Informed Judaism however.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place features mythical creatures such as 'angels' (which aren't exclusive to Christianity) but they are portrayed as secular beings. There is a bit of a subversion, however, as a viewer may see the St. Gabriel candles in the lair, and Max mentions that they go to church in one episode. Considering that they are explicitly an Italian-Hispanic family, they are most likely Christian if not Catholic.

Western Animation
  • As with a majority of other animated shows for children, Fairly OddParents plays this straight, Santa Clausmas is celebrated along with Easter Bunny Easter. Cosmo and Wanda are explicitly referred to his 'Fairy Godparents' though, but without any religious connotation.

  • Not Christian Rock that doesn't explicitly mention Jesus Christ, etc. but has elements of Christian spirituality (such as biblical references) often falls into this trope.

Real Life
  • Truth in Television. Celebrating Christian holidays is pretty common in Real Life even if one is not religious/non-theistic but lives in an area where the population is mostly Christian and/or the person was raised in a Christian sec
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