Faith and Fandom

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Abstract

The ever-growing fusion of popular culture into belief systems has produced a twenty-first-century rise in commercialized religious and spiritual by-products. Subsequently, faith-based practitioners are also simultaneously consumers of mainstream entertainment. From comics-themed sermons and graphic adaptations of the Bible to the influences of Disney and cultural fairy tales onto occultism, spiritual practices now offer a welcoming gateway for modern generations who feel affection toward pop culture fandoms. This article explores various ways that religion and spirituality have commercialized and celebrated beloved fictional stories—especially in approaches that exemplify contemporary audiences’ deep fascinations toward villains. This exploration spans three topics centered on religious-associated commercialized experiences and products: The evolution of contemporary stained glass from religious architecture to entertaining décor, collaborations between popularized fictional villains and contemporary Christianity, and the rise of mainstreamed occultism through a focus on the exponential expansion of pop culture–themed divination decks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, opposing criticisms are presented as juxtapositions to the successful proliferation of secularized spirituality, commercialized consecration, and fusions of faith and fandom.