Veggie Tales creator regrets emphasizing morality over the gospel in his cartoons

Discussion in 'General discussions' started by ubermadchen, Jun 7, 2012.

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  1. ubermadchen

    ubermadchen Puritanboard <strong>Outlaw</strong>

    WORLDmag.com | Not about the dream | Megan Basham | Sep 24, 11

    The emphasis on morality over teaching true biblical literacy and the gospel is why I've never liked veggie tales. I hope his new venture goes well and look forward to checking it out.
     
  2. J. Dean

    J. Dean Puritan Board Junior

    While I am glad for Mr. Vischer's change of heart, I hope he does not understand "pursuing God" in a moralistic sense, and thus is trading one form of moralism for another.
     
  3. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    :ditto: to Joshua. Veggietales was never intended to be the main vehicle for the Gospel, and neither should it have been.
     
  4. J. Dean

    J. Dean Puritan Board Junior

    +1

    We do not draw our theology from the same place that we draw our entertainment.
     
  5. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    - VeggieTales began by reinterpreting Bible stories, changing both the content and themes, and using these mangled stories to present moral lessons and little more.

    - Then it moved away from Bible stories and created other stories (not from the Bible) that were fun, clever and usually had a moral lesson.

    - Lately, the most recent productions have been stories (not from the Bible) that present a gospel-ish theme or even a brief explanation of the work of Jesus rather than simple moral lessons—yet without pretending to be a full "gospel presentation."

    In my opinion, each evolution has been an improvement. I soundly disliked VeggieTales at the start, but have been forced to view the franchise more charitably as time has gone on.
     
  6. ubermadchen

    ubermadchen Puritanboard <strong>Outlaw</strong>

    No, I certainly wouldn't consider it the main vehicle for teaching the gospel and biblical literacy to children. Yet, VT is marketed as "Christian" entertainment. Without an emphasis on the true Gospel, Veggie Tales is no more than fun moral stories. Its teaching results in children learning to act "Christianly" without actually being a Christian if parents aren't counteracting the influence with gospel teaching both at home and at church.
     
  7. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

    Amidst a flood of violence, sex immorality and immorality of every kind, it is refreshing to have some good morals presented. Why would anyone in mass media entertainment who rightly understands the gospel regret that?
     
  8. malum in se

    malum in se Puritan Board Freshman

    I might add that in focusing on teaching moral lessons it also teaches an incorrect hermeneutic namely that the Bible's isn't God's story of redemption but that its principle purpose is to show us how to live. It skips from the first use of the law to the third use.

    While our children may hear these passages correctly interpreted by us or at church we have to keep two things in mind.
    1) It confuses them by teaching a different way of interpreting the Bible.(If they are in a setting where they are taught that the Bible is God's story of redemption)
    2) Not every kid that watches these programs has adults around them that can teach them correct hermeneutics.
     
  9. Andres

    Andres Puritan Board Doctor

    I definitely see your point, but I still won't let my son watch Veggietales. The reason is because Veggietales (at least all the episodes I've ever seen) aren't just teaching moralism, they're teaching moralism by misapplying and misinterpreting Scripture. They are teaching to read/understand the bible incorrectly. For example, the stories such as David and Goliath, Daniel in the lion's den, etc aren't about being brave or "facing your giants". They're about God's faithfulness to His people and how He delivers His people from their enemies for His glory. God is the hero in the stories, not David or Daniel. At least when reading scripture through a redemptive historical hermeneutic this is true, but Veggietales completely tramples this.

    If Veggietales wanted to simply relay stories about fictional children learning morals, then I'd probably be okay with that, but not when they are directly misinterpreting scripture.
     
  10. Andres

    Andres Puritan Board Doctor

    Thank you Brad. It seems you beat me to my point.
     
  11. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

    Good points.

    For those following, no one is arguing that this series of commercial productions is intended to replace Bible stories (from Scripture), catechism, reading the Bible together as a family, etc. Or even the role of a parent teaching moral values to their children.

    I don't even sense the creator ever intended them to. In fact, seeming to avoid explicit teachings about our Lord so as to make them more acceptable to other religions. His regret, if I'm understanding it correctly, is that he wasn't more biblical in context of what he presented. But even if he had been, it's still not a substitute for the Word, etc. It's entertainment with a wholesome theme, prepared for a mass market.

    And the creator has taken heat for being "too Christian."

    I look at this more like a bluegrass gospel song, a Kinkade painting, the Sugar Creek Gang stories, or even the Boy Scouts. They are all positive.

    Charitably, he has been using his talents and abilities to go into this arena not quite as an exercise of religious education, but to provide wholesome entertainment to children.

    Amidst a venue often devoid of it.:)

    For that, I commend his efforts, and courage.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2012
  12. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I have to agree with Brad and Andrew.

    A program with good morals isn't my beef. The problem was that because these programs used Bible stories they got taken as programs that represented the heart of biblical Christianity. Hence, you got the following assumptions at work:

    VeggieTales = What Christianity is all about
    VeggieTales = Nice moral lessons
    therefore...
    Nice moral lessons = What Christianity is all about

    Kids get way, way too much of this already in the typical Sunday school class or Bible story book, and the old VeggieTales that retold Bible stories only reinforced it.

    That's not to mention how they frustrated real Bible teachers like myself by:

    - Changing details and themes of the biblical accounts. ("No, class, Nebuchadnezzar's statue wasn't made of chocolate.")

    - Adding silliness where it isn't called for. ("Class, let's get back to thinking about the real battle of Jericho and stop snickering about how the Israelites were pelted with Slurpees in the VeggieTales version.")

    - Flirting, at the very least, with blasphemy. ("Kids, you really need to stop thinking of the Angel of the Lord who appeared to Gideon as a clown-like tomato. In the Bible, he's a fearsome character who in some places is called God.")

    This is why I was quite happy when they started leaving Bible stories alone.
     
  13. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I can agree with this, but only when applied to the later programs that no longer used Bible stories for their plots.
     
  14. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

    I think we've lost the whole point.

    In the words of Bob the Tomato (not to be confused with Larry the Cucumber):

    :lol::lol::lol:
     
  15. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Of course. And my experience is that kids with parents such as yourself, who faithfully teach them the Bible, really don't have any problems when they watch stuff like VeggieTales, even if it's the Bible story episodes. They can handle it and know not to trust it as biblical teaching.

    Your kid likes silly songs, maybe? Great! My kids do too. Those are wholesome, fun... and silly.

    Sadly, for some other kids the franchise, as a whole, has not been helpful.
     
  16. KSon

    KSon Puritan Board Junior

    Always struggled with the attempt to illustrate redemptive truth through the use of produce...
     
  17. J. Dean

    J. Dean Puritan Board Junior

    Question, though: isn't Bob really a fruit?
     
  18. Miss Marple

    Miss Marple Puritan Board Junior

    I just winced at the sort of mockery of scripture.

    Like the fish-slapping in Nineveh. The evil of Nineveh in "Jonah" was shown as people slapping each other with fish.

    Arghh.
     
  19. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    First, I'm glad the producer of the movies is wrestling with these things.

    I think the Veggie Tales distorts stories of the Scriptures and I guess that's a big problem if parents are never actually teaching their children from the Scripture but the latter is the more significant issue.

    How many people, for instance, don't know that Moses actually knew his mom because the Moses movie makes it seem like he was parted from her his whole life? Again, if we're just getting our theology from movies then that says less about the movie than the fact that we only get our theology from movies.
     
  20. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    That's not what bothered me there: what bothered me was "God is a God of second chances." I thank God every day that He doesn't give me another chance but instead sent grace and mercy in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
     
  21. Miss Marple

    Miss Marple Puritan Board Junior

    Yes, movies are re-written history. Witness "Titanic."

    I think of the Disney movie, "Pocahantas," too, what a miserable effort. A great story ruined for a generations of children. Thankfully it was not so popular.

    As a total aside to Joshua, how can you diss the SpongeBob? He has no anti-Christian agenda we can discern. And Squidward is obviously a stalwart Calvinist.
     
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