‘Prayer: Close Encounter of the Best Kind’ T-Shirt, Circa 1978

Prayer 1978

Prayer 1978-2

Toy companies weren’t the only ones trying to capitalize on the sci-fi fever of the late ’70s. Organized religion had taken a beating throughout the ’60s, with Star Trek, The Lord of the Rings, H.P. Lovecraft, and other eccentric narratives offering the rebellious young more compelling mythologies. UFOs were mysterious and poetic. Christianity was authoritarian and dogmatic. And then came Star Wars

As I’ve said elsewhere, the “satanic panic” of the ’80s was more a backlash against the changing nature of youth than anything else. The real devil inside was imaginative, independent-minded kids who decided for themselves what they wanted to believe in.

(Images via eBay)

2 Responses to “‘Prayer: Close Encounter of the Best Kind’ T-Shirt, Circa 1978”


  1. 1 Mark G. August 17, 2015 at 11:15 am

    Actually, the opposite is true. The 60s produced a resurgence in interest in all kinds of religion. This is the same era that brought Alan Watts and Buddhism to prominence as well as New Age religion, The Church of Satan, “Jesus Christ Superstar,” and the hippie revival version of Christianity. The New York Times may have declared “God Is Dead” in 1966. But that was only a blip in the culture.

    • 2 2W2N August 17, 2015 at 5:29 pm

      The 1960s did not produce a resurgence in organized religion, specifically mainline Protestantism. The large scale reaction against Protestantism is how we ended up with the Christian Right. Zen, Satanism, et al were embraced precisely because they were non-authoritarian and anti-dogmatic.

      The “God is Dead” reference (originally from Nietzsche) is actually from a 1966 Time Magazine issue titled “Is God Dead?” America is still a Christian nation, although more people believe in Ancient Aliens than go to church. Not sure that’s any kind of meaningful victory for the soul fishers.


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