‘Manifest’ is a supernatural drama that finished its third and final run on NBC on June 10, 2021. The series follows the people aboard Montego Air Flight 828, who had been presumed dead until they reappear after more than five years. While they try to readjust to their life after missing out on several years, some of them get premonitions of what is to come. These visions and guiding voices are referred to as “callings.” The show seems to have strong religious undertones that several viewers have noticed. That is why many people have been wondering whether ‘Manifest’ is a religious series. If this question comes to your mind too, then let us help you put those doubts to rest.
Is Manifest a Christian Show?
‘Manifest’ is not a typical faith-based series, but we still see the show touching upon religion, faith, and Christianity in interesting ways. These elements in the storyline have been deliberately made to interact with science. In October 2018, the series creator Jeff Rake explained this in his conversation with USA Today. He said, “That debate is as old as time itself. It’s really the ultimate debate in human history: faith vs. science.” He added, “I challenge myself in every episode to tell the story of what would really happen if something this extraordinary ever occurred.”
From the beginning, the supernatural series has brought in religious components, starting with flight number 828. Towards the beginning of the show, before the Stone family is separated, Karen Stone quotes her favorite Biblical verse Romans 8:28. It reads, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
We come across these words from the verse on several occasions, including the times when the Stones discuss their callings. This also turns our attention to the inexplicable visions and voices the passengers and crew members of the flight have after they reappear. Faith is an essential aspect of these callings; people are able to help others only because they believe in those supposed spiritual experiences.
In the 2018 conversation with USA Today, Melissa Roxburgh discussed her character Michaela Stone. She said that Michaela has got “this glimmer of hope in her eye. She’s kind of looking at it like, ‘Maybe we’re being called back for a spiritual reason.’” The character’s understanding of the whole matter is very different from her brother Ben’s, who is deeply rooted in logic and science. Thereby the Stone siblings establish what Jake said about the show juxtaposing faith and science.
The interweaving of religion and science has got varying responses from the viewers. One Reddit user who identified as a Catholic was surprised that NBC picked up the show. They noted that the series often makes Biblical references, and some people might not take that well. In contrast, another fan wrote that despite being anti-religious, they loved the series. They felt that even though it often provides religion or faith to explain something beyond logic, it also does a good job of offering explanations that aren’t religious.
In a press tour in January 2020, Rake explained, “So, from the very first episode, we introduce this idea of faith versus science.” He continued, “There is a definitive answer to that question that I’m not going to provide today because that’s fundamental to the mystery of the show, and I don’t want to give away in terms of mythology and the mystery. But I will tell you that whether or not the ultimate answer to why this plane disappeared and came back [and how that] connects to divinity versus science versus an extraterrestrial event will be answered objectively.”
Jeff Rake also hoped that the themes and conversations inspired by religion give the fans “something to latch onto.” He added, “Because we’re living in hard times, and I like to think that the themes of hope and redemption and faith and the fact that there is a divine answer to what’s going on in our world gives people some sense of comfort in these uncomfortable times.” Therefore, it is safe to say that ‘Manifest’ is not a religious or a Christian show, although some characters lean on faith. The supernatural series is basically a cocktail of genres with heavy doses of science-fiction and procedural drama.