Soap operas (soaps for short) are radio or television drama series following people’s daily lives. They were so named because they were first sponsored in the US in the 1930s by soap manufacturers.

In the UK, of course, I mean Coronation Street, EastEnders, Emmerdale, Hollyoaks, Doctors, and the Australian-produced Neighbours and Home and Away. And of course the longest-running one of them all, The Archers (on Radio 4 since 1950). Nowadays people can also readily access soaps from other countries, especially, of course, the USA.

What are we experiencing when we watch a soap? We are not just being entertained. Every little (soap) story is also an instance of the underlying Big Story. When we watch, we are entering the world of the Secular Big Story. The soaps set forth life as if God does not exist and faith is irrelevant to everyday life. They insinuate that this is what life is really like, that this is normal. What do you say? When you enter that world when watching TV, does it feel real and normal to you? Is this essentially how everyday life feels to you?

When you enter that world when watching TV, does it feel real and normal to you?

If you are a Christian (or any other religious believer for that matter), surely it shouldn’t? You can enjoy a soap as entertainment, but with spiritual discernment. The danger of soaps is not primarily any attacks on religious people or on religious faith (which are rare), nor the affirmation or promotion of beliefs or behaviours unacceptable to many Christians (even though this is increasingly common). No, the real danger is that they portray life as essentially God-less and faith-less – and that this life is normal, this is as it should be. This is a fundamental reason why constant daily immersion in the real Story of the Bible is so important – we need it to counter the Siren voices from our culture’s pagan Story. We mustn’t fool ourselves – if we don’t immerse ourselves in the Bible Story, we will be seduced by the Secularist Story.