Friday, October 12, 2007

From The Mouth Of Babes

IDK if anyone else is into this show, but Alison and I really like watching CBS's new show, KID NATION.

Each week the 4 Council Members read an "old" journal that sets their task in helping to build Bonanza City: a town ran by less than 40 kids for 40 days. This week the journal suggested that they try to address the issue of religion. There are several religions represented in the group of kids.

They show clips of some of the kids discussing religion in the beginning and it showed that there was a lot of ignorance and disrespect towards different religions!

The Council decided to try one service to promote unity where different kids could speak about their own religious beliefs. Surprise, Surprise, it wasn't met well. Here are some quotes:

Olivia (age 12, Christian) said that the regions should be kept separate to keep anyone from changing their (her?) beliefs. The Red Council leader, Mike, reassured her that no one would have to change their beliefs.

Divad (11, ?) said, "we can't have all religions in one room, it's gonna start arguments. I know that for a fact." She went on to say alone to the camera, "would you put democrats and Republicans in the same room together? That's like putting Hindus and Christians in the same room together."

Blue Council leader AnJay (12, Hindu) said, "we thought it would be nice to learn about other people's religions." Sophia's (14, Doubting Jew) responded, "look at religion today! It's the main thing that's splitting us (the world) up, starting wars, it's making people kill each other!"

My fav. Little guy, Alex (9, ?) spoke up to the crowd and said, "there's a lot of things that are central to all religions and we could just focus on those instead of the differences."

Olivia came back and said privately to the camera, "I'm a Christian and feel very strong in my beliefs, so I thought it was kind-of pointless to hear other people saying stuff which they thought was true that I didn't!"

AnJay tried reasoning, "What is wrong with learning about other' religions? Are you so afraid of the other religions that you're saying 'we don't care about them?'" The meeting split up with no resolution.

Little Alex went on a mission to take a survey of the differing religions represented in the kids. He said to the camera several neat things!:

"I don't think there's any reason, ANY REASON, why there should be arguments and 'yuck stuff' all over town about this! Religion is really divisive because it's your beliefs and since people's beliefs differ, that separated them apart even though their friends in many other ways. I would compare it to the building of the tower of Babel, when everything broke apart and everyone spoke in different languages and no one could really understand each other."


Is it just me, or does anyone else want to sit and listen to what this child has to teach???

We know that a lot of things said were reflections of what they had been taught in their upbringing. They were simply repeating arguments/words heard from their parents/ leaders in their churches (places of worship/religious edu.) That REALLY made me sad!!!!

However, Morgan brings them all together by having an open invite to the bonfire where they were going to pray for the next day together. They allowed everyone to pray in their own tradition and understanding. It brought more than one child (as well as me and the wifey) to tears to see that sort of unity!

One last cool twist. They all won their challenge so they got to choose a prize: either a full mini golf course set up in the middle of town, or a library of sacred texts for all the religions represented. They overwhelmingly chose the Sacred Texts!!! Some had never seen a Qur'an before, or the Torah (in it's Hebrew form), or the teachings of the Dali Llama. It was amazing how curious and interested the kids now became. My fav. scene was when a Christian child was reading out loud the first creation story in Genesis (KJV) along with a Jewish kid reading the same from the Torah. They realized that they were "pretty much the same".

So in the end, i saw hope in our younger generations. Maybe they will find the hope,peace and acceptance that my generation and older can't seem to find within themselves!!!!
"I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." --Mt. 18:3
"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."--Mt. 19:14


  1. If you didn't watch this show, you need to! These children that are participating in Kid Nation will probably be changed forever-in a good way!

    It's funny how kids are so open minded and accepting of others...I see it everyday at school when little kindergarteners walk down the hall and they'll give hugs to ANYONE! Therefore, is closed-mindedness something we teach children? Or do they pick up on closed-mindedness because we they are not introduced to other ideas/religions/types of people?

    We definitely have a lot to learn from children! -Alison

  2. Alison -- I love your point here. Of course that makes me want to figure out how NOT to teach any child to be close-minded. It's hard when we are so segregrated...

    Justin -- Reading your Kid Nation post makes me want to immediately visit this "Shrine of Sacred Texts". If I only had more hours in the day to study how connected various World Religions are...especially with their creation stories, flood stories etc. I'm sure you've pondered how much your "upbringing" has to do with you being a Christian. I've often wondered if my parents were Jewish, would I be too? That thought just makes my brain ask all sorts of other questions...

  3. I think we have to be a product of wherever the dice landed on the day we were born. And yes, I think that if your parents were Jewish, you would have been (if not still be) Jewish most of your life. Most people are satisfied with their inherited religion...and our religious society and family STRONGLY discourages us from exploring what we could have been had we been born in say...India, the middle east, Eastern Asia?

    I think it's interesting that so many Christians who have the "we're right and everyone else is wrong" approach doesn't sit and factor in that we are all an outcome of our birthrights. Yes, there are conversions into Christianity from other religions, and we hold those numbers up high... but no one ever spouts out how many people convert away from Christianity each year. I think that would be interesting!

    I have spent some time with some of those sacred texts! They really are amazing. I have chosen to remain a follower of Christ, but I have learned so much more about what my faith is SUPPOSED to be (at least in my personal experience, and only applied to my personal faith) from studying Hindu, Islam, Buddhist, and my personal fav., Zoroastrian religions. If people today knew how much the teachings of Zoroaster have influenced Judaism and in return Christianity...they would be shocked and question many of their beliefs (not that it's a bad thing)!

    I'm quoting the sermon that you listened to by TM (and I'm so jacking this statement when I replicate his outline sunday at St. John's and inserting my own stories), "I would argue that curiosity is a spiritual discipline." If that's true, think about how much our Christian upbringing has deprived us of a discipline in which we may more fully experience God!