Lucifer on Netflix – The thing about creative content based on religion

(Latest edit: Lucifer season 5 part 2 is here and we have God along! So much more interesting 😉 )

I’ve been hung up on Lucifer on Netflix for a while now and it’s actually just the kind of series that keeps me hooked to the end. Plots involving metaphysical themes associated with normal life are one of my favourite elements in a creative product, especially in ones made on this scale. The idea of the Devil himself taking a vacation in LA and indulging in the mundane life of a couple of detectives has been played rather interestingly by the makers of Lucifer.

I’m not here to write a review. What I am here for is to present the concept that amazed me the most when I first began Lucifer – what did the conservative Christians think of this show? After all, it’s a blatant adaptation of the story in the Bible and is depicted in a way where the audiences are bound to fall madly in love with Satan himself; the one element despised by religious Christians. I went to the internet for answers and found that there are plenty of people who feel that the adaptation is outrageous, but the fan base that the show has easily outdoes the conservative viewpoint and has made the show a success. A lot of people actually believe that Lucifer explains a few constructs of Christianity better than the conservatives and makes them love the faith – which I can agree with too. A number of elements in the show have made me stop and dig further and I’ve ended up with greater knowledge of Christianity than I had when I started.

I cannot help but draw a parallel to content created in India with similar plots. Though there is hardly a parallel to Lucifer in the Indian context, I feel like even if there was, we’d have a tough time accepting it because we are often held up on the thought of opposing indoctrination of our religious texts. We do not like when religious scriptures are subjected to interpretation, especially in modern settings that arguably cannot do justice to the times they were created in. And when some creative individual attempts an interpretation, more often than not, he/she ends up in trouble.

I do not want to take a stand here. I’ll neither say that religious texts must be open to interpretation, nor that they are untouchable. What I can say is that I did like Lucifer but I cannot be confident about admiring an Indian version of the same which might be based on Hindu legends. With the current levels of accusations that make rounds on social media about the existence of creative agencies that attempt cultural indoctrination through inappropriate interpretations of religions, India would have a tough time accepting a show like Lucifer in the country. Most of the times, it’s comparatively easy to grab on to the religious faith of the majority religion in the country and let the imagination fly high on those grounds, than any minority religions. This generally leads to people of the particular faith feeling targeted and intentionally interpreted wrongly. Evidently, this is the case with most creative content based on religious texts these days.

Speaking just as a student of arts, we have every reason to believe that religious texts are a creative mind’s paradise. No form of modern art can match the levels of elaborate genius that can be found in religious texts of all religions. But when a modern artist tries an interpretation, he is consciously or sub-consciously effected by numerous political and cultural influences that can easily mislead the intent of the creative expression. Considering this state of things, religious interpretations are a risky thing to unless they are carefully scripted to only convey positive inferences towards the end. So far in the show, Lucifer has been quite successful; is what I think as a non-Christian. The disagreement between religious texts and their subjectivity to interpretation is a very interesting thing for me.

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