Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Good Dinosaur: Hindu Gods for Children

Our guest blogger, Marcia Montenegro, is a former astrologer who spent 20 years practicing New Age spirituality. After she became a Christian, she founded Christian Answers for the New Age. Her insights are invaluable in discerning occult influences in mainstream secular society and even within the Church.

Movie Review: The Good Dinosaur

About a year ago, I woke up with the word "Hanuman" repeating over and over in my head. It took me a few minutes to remember who Hanuman is: he is a monkey-headed god, one of the billions of Hindu gods but also a figure in Tibetan Buddhism. Although I had first become involved with Hindu beliefs (Vedanta, the non-dualistic form), it was when I immersed myself for awhile in Tibetan Buddhist teachings that I heard about Hanuman. For some reason, that name popped up from somewhere in my brain; I still recall much of what I learned and was exposed to. But this name, Hanuman, was like a buzzing fly I wanted to swat.

A short video shown before the children's movie, "The Good Dinosaur," gave a lesson on a young boy, Sanjay, whose father (family is originally from India) wants his son to join him in his Hindu worship practice. But Sanjay prefers the super-heroes he sees on TV., creating conflict. Eventually, Sanjay learns to appreciate the Hindu gods, who become his super-heroes, as the video states:
"In the short, Sanjay plunges into a vivid fantasy that blends his favorite superheroes with manifestations of three Hindu gods after accidentally interrupting his father’s prayers while reaching for an action figure. Trapped in a temple being ravaged by a chaotic demon made of smoke, Sanjay teams up with Vishnu, Durga, and Hanuman to bring back balance before his father realizes what he’s done."[1]
A reviewer at the theater stated that this video, "Sanjay's Super Team," created a stir:
You could hear and see the amazement that swept through the crowd as the sound of chiming ghanta bells filled the room and Durga conjured a spectral tiger on the screen.
The reviewer sees this a good lesson for children in other cultural stories and beliefs. Perhaps so, but I also see the exposure to spiritual beliefs that are glamorized and false gods presented as adventurous and powerful.

Aren't Vishnu, Durga, and Hanuman just make-believe? In several passages, the Bible refers to false gods or idols as demons:
  • They sacrificed to demons who were not God, To gods whom they have not known, New gods who came lately, Whom your fathers did not dread. Deuteronomy 32:17
  • They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons." Psalm 106:37
  • ....but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons." 1 Corinthians 10:20 (also see next verse)
  • Also see Leviticus 17:7
In contrast to false Gods, we read in Scripture: "And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." (John 17:3). And Scripture says, "Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry." (1 Cor 10:14)

Cartoons tend to be dismissed and not taken seriously. Any character of a children's cartoon or story is viewed as cute, innocent, and/or harmless. This is a mistake. We need to remind ourselves that evil beliefs can be disguised as innocent or as good, just as Satan comes disguised as an angel of light.

In sum, I wouldn't recommend voluntarily exposing your children to this movie for the sake of fleeting entertainment. The movie makes light of evil and glosses over serious issues of false teaching that Christians are repeatedly warned in Scripture to watch out for.



K.D. Cowan said...

I don't think it would be bad to show kids who may be old enough to engage in a conversation about different religious beliefs, compared to Jesus. It would seem to help them learn why Jesus is the way, truth and life. If we just try to ban it from them, they might end up seeing it anyway by chance, wouldn't a parent want to make this a teachable moment instead? I learned so much more about how amazing God is from reading about other paths. By learning how to compare the Real Thing from anything else. Anyway, that's just how I'd see it but everyone is different and I respect that too.

A. Maeve McDonald said...

It is important to expose Christian children to different religions and worldviews. My children (ages 9 and under) are familiar with the tenets of Islam, atheism, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. But they are impressionable, and exposure in the form of entertainment needs to be explained carefully.

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