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One of the most distinctive religious features of the 1960s was the death of God theology. It is useful to look back at the death of God movement from the perspective of communication studies. After all, the movement received unprecedented coverage in the popular media. More intriguing, however is the specific fashion in which death of God theologian William Hamilton, one of the most influential figures in the discussion of the death of God, referred to particular aspects of the modern communication environment. According to Hamilton, the communication technologies of the 1960s helped make it a world "come of age." In such a world, Hamilton averred, society no longer needed to depend upon God. More specifically, Hamilton singled out a particular television series of the 1960s, the spy drama The Man from U.N.C.L.E., as displaying characteristics of a world come of age. In an attempt to provide a careful analysis of just how U.N.C.L.E. accomplished this, this essay explores the show's consistent modernism, its explicit treatment of religion and spirituality, its approach to trans-national evil, its depiction of individual action, and how it treated the private domain. The sort of worldview analysis employed in the essay is relevant to looking at the role of belief in God, or lack of such belief, in other enacted fictional narratives.


Originally published:

Grigg, Richard. "Vanquishing Evil Without The Help Of God: The Man From U.N.C.L.E. And A World Come Of Age." Journal Of Communication & Religion 30.2 (2007): 308-339.