Another in our ongoing chronicle of fictional TV programs’ treatment of religion . . .

The crimefighting team in Fox's TV program Bones

In last night’s episode of the Fox mystery-criime series Bones, "Aliens in a Spaceship," Jeffersonian Institution scientists and crimefighters Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and Hodgins are buried alive by a serial killer—known as the Grave Digger—and held for ransom, which the corporation to which the demand was made is unable to pay.

After a timely resurrection, Brennan and her usual partner, FBI agent Booth (David Boreanaz), are in a Catholic church. Booth rises from his knees after prayer and sits beside Brennan in the front pew. They discuss religion, as they frequently do. Brennan takes her usual straight-materialist-atheist position, and Booth speaks from his Catholic point of view. Neither tries to persuade the other to change their mind, though both are firm in their convictions.

What is exemplary about the scene is the maturity of their conversation about religion. Brennan sees it all in scientific, materialistic terms, as a matter of probabilities that sometimes come to pass, and Booth sees it in more spiritual terms, seeing God looking down on their team and answering Booth’s prayers so that the team can continue to do their work.

In particular, Booth points out that everyone in the team was absolutely necessary to Brennan’s and Hodgins’s eventual salvation, illustrating the inestimable value of every human life. The symbolism of the two characters’ symbolic resurrection entirely escapes Brennan, but she is neither derided nor praised for her spiritual denial. The scene makes it clear that in the producers’ opinion, both points of view are valid within their spheres. It’s an interesting scene that effectively brings out the greater significance of the events of the episode.