"The Last Of Us" Bible-Reading Villain Wasn't A Pastor In The Video Game, So Why Did HBO Make An Anti-Christian Plot Line?

Season one of HBO's "The Last of Us" came to a close on Sunday night, but the penultimate episode the week prior featured perhaps the worst villain of the whole season: a Bible-thumping pastor who tried to rape Ellie and make her his child-bride. But he wasn't even a Christian in the video game, so why did Hollywood make this narrative choice?

By Gina Florio3 min read
last of us episode 8
HBO/The Last of Us

The finale of season one of "The Last of Us" shocked many and made some wonder whether Joel really was the good guy after all (yes, he was). But the eighth installment of the season will go down as one of the most memorable episodes because of the harrowing storyline and Ellie's heroic actions that not only saved Joel's life but warded off a violent rapist who had turned his whole little village into cannibals. However, there's one small detail about the penultimate episode that Rainn Wilson, an actor known for his role in "The Office," pointed out on Twitter: The villain David wasn't a pastor in the video game, so why did they choose to make him a Bible-reading preacher in the show?

"The Last of Us" Bible-Reading Villain David Wasn't a Pastor in the Video Game

On Saturday, Rainn Wilson tweeted, "I do think there is an anti-Christian bias in Hollywood. As soon as the David character in “The Last of Us” started reading from the Bible I knew that he was going to be a horrific villain. Could there be a Bible-reading preacher on a show who is actually loving and kind?" This was a surprise coming from Rainn, as he's hardly a proclaimed Christian, but he brought up a good point that many people either didn't notice or don't like to admit.

In the first few scenes with David in episode eight, we're led to believe that he's a loving pastor who just wants to care for his wounded flock. The men, women, and children in his care seem discouraged, disheartened, and tired. He continues to read scripture to them, trying to bolster their faith in God. Behind him hangs a huge white cloth with the written message, "When we are in need He will provide." A young girl asks when they are going to be able to bury her father. He says they have to wait until the spring because the harsh winter ground is not habitable to a burial at the moment.

Could there be a Bible-reading preacher on a show who is actually loving and kind?

When David and one of his men go hunting and find Ellie, he initially seems like he is benevolent and caring toward her. But then things take a quick turn, and we realize that there's a dark side we haven't seen yet. He captures Ellie, revealing that Joel killed one of David's men in the fight that wounded Joel and rendered him nearly unconscious. Later, when he returns back to his village, he slaps the young girl across the face whose father had recently died. We also learn that he has secretly been feeding human flesh to his flock because they've been running out of game. The longer the episode goes on, the more evil we see from David—and all the while, he wraps it up with a Biblical reference or some kind of stale Christian platitude. It all comes to a head when Ellie is trapped inside a burning building with David, and when he finally pins her down, he reveals that he is a serial rapist who actually enjoys it when the young women fight against him. Ellie heroically manages to find a machete and brutally kill the monster.

Why Did HBO Make an Anti-Christian Plotline That Didn't Exist in the Game?

In HBO's adaptation of "The Last of Us," David's entire villain arc relies on his being a Christian pastor. The evil of his character depends on the fact that he considers himself to be a preacher with a flock; he even tells Ellie that the apocalypse is what supposedly turned him to God. But we know by the end of the episode that he simply used Christianity to gain power over people and justify his morally bankrupt choices that harmed and killed innocent people.

David's entire villain arc relies on his being a Christian pastor.

What was the point of making David a pastor in the show if he wasn't a pastor in the video game? There has always been speculation that Hollywood has an anti-Christian bias, just as Rainn Wilson pointed out. Why don't we ever see pastors or priests in TV shows and movies who are kind, generous, and spiritually sound people? After all, that's what most pastors and priests are like in the real world. Hollywood is always trying to interject some kind of anti-Christian narrative that makes Christian people seem insane, overbearing, unreasonable, and even evil. Sometimes it's done in a more innocent way, such as in movies like Footloose, Carrie, and Easy A. In other films, it's evoked in louder, more serious ways, such as The Wonder and Women Talking.

While there doesn't have to be a positive Christian representation in every single movie that refers to Christianity, we have to start asking why there is such a blatant anti-Christian bias in Hollywood. The answer is pretty obvious when you step back and take a look at the general culture of the United States. Organized religion has been on the decline for years, we're taught that faith and reason (and science) are incompatible, and the mainstream narrative is that Christians are unreasonably judgmental human beings who want to strip away women's rights and bodily autonomy. And if you look at it even more broadly, Christianity is the most persecuted religion across the entire globe.

HBO attempted to interject as many progressive storylines into "The Last of Us" as they could, including the gay relationship between Bill and Frank as well as the lesbian kiss between Ellie and her best friend Riley. Neither of these things was in the video game, but HBO made it clear that they were catering to the LGBT community by featuring these moments. It's no different when it comes to David. HBO obviously wanted to appease the progressive ideology that claims religion is oppressive and detrimental to women, and that Christianity is only used to exert power over people, not to help them. This will likely continue to be the way Hollywood portrays Christians, which is unfortunate considering that the majority of the US is part of the Christian faith.