A scene that precedes this one from Louie's episode "God" has been described as disturbing, graphic, creepy, and horrifying. In it, a group of Catholic school children sit in church pews, forced to listen to a medical doctor (Tom Noonan) relate in detail the scourge and crucifixion of Christ. To the kids, the doctor raises a whip and narrates, "The leathers of the flagellum rip the skin of [Christ's] back, and then they cut deeper into the subcutaneous tissues, producing spurts of arterial bleeding; his body hangs down in ribbons." At lecture's end, he demands of the children, "Why'd you drive in Jesus's nails with your sins? You let him die with your careless, faithless sins." The scene is undeniably unsettling. However, as a Jesuit priest advises, it's also "powerful and filled with reversals worthy of some serious mental wrestling."
The scene I'm curating results from the one above. Here, little Louie (Sawyer Swanson) has been punished for breaking into the Church to free Jesus, literally plucking the plaster Savior from the cross and removing the spikes from its wrists/feet (his actions, a result of the doctor's words and subsequent nightmares). What follows is a sincere, sensitive discussion between Louie and his mother (Amy Landecker), the former terrified he caused the death of Christ, the latter assuring her son he did no such thing and that she's even uncertain of God's existence. In other words, it's an honest conversation in popular culture about God (via an experimental comedy series no less). Viewers noticed and reacted in turn.
After watching "God," some fans recalled terrifying youth-camp skits dedicated to Christ's suffering and their sins, "being brainwashed with horror stories of hell and torture," and surviving twelve years of Catholic education only to spend their forties wrestling with feelings about the Church. Similarly, other viewers wished publicly that their parents had "talked to them like that when they were a kid" while many simply labeled the viewing experience so cathartic. Equally affected by the episode was a "closeted non-believer" who struggles daily whether to impart his atheist views to his children or, like Louie's mother, "give them the gift of faith in case they decide they want it later." Tough decisions, especially in a country wary of atheism. But at least for twenty-two minutes of TV time, he (and others) realized they weren't alone.