Veggie Tales

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Terry_Herrington, Apr 10, 2003.

  1. Terry_Herrington

    Terry_Herrington
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    I read a post some time ago that mentioned Veggie Tales and some criticism that was leveled against them. What do you think? Is Veggie Tales good or bad?
     
  2. FearNot

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    I Like the vegitales tapes. It introduces biblical stories that a parent or teacher can then elaberate on. They are great tools to introduce children to God. The tapes are great to give to unbelievers children as a form of witness. No, it will not go into every aspect of the Bible, but it is a good starting point and it is good clean moralistic entertainment for children with the bonus of a Christian theme. I am an adult, with no children and I have nearly every vegi tape. [​IMG]
     
  3. Headcoveredlady

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    Sorry, I could not find the link, so I copied part of this from Agape Press. For the sake of bandwith I can pm you the rest if you want it.

    Quote:
    "Guest Commentary
    Rethinking VeggieTales


    By Cathy Mickels
    November 1, 2002

    "Every word of God is pure ... Do not add to His words,
    Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar."
    Proverbs 30:5-6


    (AgapePress) - There is nothing in this world more important to Christian parents than to watch their children develop a love in their heart for Jesus Christ. However, it is becoming increasingly more difficult for parents to ignore the fact that the culture is bombarding their children with messages running contrary to the biblical principles of the Christian faith they want to pass on.

    Interestingly, according to the recent findings of a nationwide survey, it is not only the culture sending confusing messages to their children. Christian pollster George Barna's research has concluded doctrinal confusion abounds today within the Christian church (AgapePress, "'Cultural Theology' in a Mad Dash Across America," 10-15-02).

    Results of this study indicate Christians are increasingly adopting spiritual views that come from Islam, Wicca, secular humanism, the eastern religions, and other sources. Furthermore, Barna stated, "because we remain a largely Bible-illiterate society, few are alarmed or even aware of the slide toward ‘syncretism' -- a belief system that blindly combines beliefs from many different faith perspectives."

    As a consequence, parents are now also confronted with a church that has been negatively influenced by the culture.

    Therefore, in the midst of all the cultural and spiritual confusion, it is understandable why parents would show interest when a movie, like Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie, hits the big screen. After all, not only is the movie about a biblical character, it is also void of sex, violence, and bad language.

    However, after having viewed this movie, I am very concerned that it will add to the doctrinal and spiritual confusion addressed in Barna's study. Although it is being marketed as the retelling of the Book of Jonah, Big Idea Productions, the producer of VeggieTales, has instead trivialized and rewritten this Old Testament story by turning a serious book about sin, repentance, and God's grace into a Hollywood comedy.

    Of course, there are similarities between the VeggieTales' storyline and the Old Testament account. But, for the most part, Big Idea has given themselves the freedom and authority to add to and subtract from the story about a man Jesus himself referred to not only as "a sign," but also as "the prophet Jonah." (Matthew 12:39-41, Matthew 16:4, Luke 11:29-32)

    Revisionist History
    Just as the distortions of history do not belong in a public school classroom, likewise the distortion of biblical history should not be accepted in the Church.

    Nonetheless, VeggieTales associate Mike Nawrocki defends their deviations from Scripture, stating: "Although we have taken liberties, we've kept the theme very much intact." (The San Diego Union-Tribune, "Veggies with Values," 10-4-02).

    But herein lies the conflict. Whether they realize it or not, their man-made additions and subtractions from the Word of God have introduced other themes and attitudes, which run contrary to truth and historical fact.

    For instance, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune: "Don't expect to see a traditional account of the biblical prophet .... Vischer and Nawrocki (VeggieTales producers) are Monty Python fans," which The Tribune states explains a lot. Instead of following Old Testament history about a Jewish prophet, the veggie Jonah not only has a British accent, but also wore a monocle. As the movie unfolds, many other liberties have been taken, such as the upstaging of Jonah by a very unlikely Middle Eastern character.

    Similarly, although Scripture does not give a detailed explanation regarding the sins of the Ninevites, the movie liberally fills in the details claiming: "They lie! They steal! But worst of all, they slap people with fishes!" Now wait a minute! I realize the producers added this untrue storyline of slapping people with fish to make the kids laugh, but what line and verse in Scripture gives them the authority to do this? Furthermore, is this the kind of theme that should generate a big laugh? When is what God described as "wickedness" a laughing matter for any age group?


    © 2002 Big Idea Productions
    But laughing appears to be exactly what the producers want. For instance, according to the Big Idea website, Jonah set sail on a pirate ship that eventually went "to the heart of Nineveh for a hilarious showdown."

    Hilarious? What a contrast to the heart of Charles Spurgeon, who said: "May I never take a dry-eyed look at sin."


    The spiritual danger and confusion surrounding the addition of truth and error in the mind of a child was evident from a conversation overheard between a father and his four-year-old son watching the movie. Repeatedly the son would quizzically ask," Dad, did Jonah really do that? ... Dad, did that really happen?" Regardless of the good intentions of this father, ideas contrary to Scripture were being planted in his son's mind. Furthermore, is the subtle idea also being planted that scriptural error is acceptable?


    Interfaith Alliance
    Just as VeggieTales' producers have taken liberty with the description of sin and the depiction of a prophet of God, they have also added an interesting character named Khalil -- a name meaning "friendly" in Arabic with deep roots in the Islamic faith. It is Khalil, who is half caterpillar-half worm and wears a turban, who not only becomes Jonah's traveling companion, but also his conscience. He is also the character who appears to be boasting about his "positive mental attitude" -- not because he listens to God, but because he listens to "motivational tapes." His tape can be heard saying, "You are powerful and attractive ... you do not run from your problems." Surprisingly, it is also the worm (who according to Scripture didn't appear until the end of the Book of Jonah) who was given the opportunity of delivering the film's central message of compassion, mercy, and second chances.

    However, to the contrary, God chose to work through His prophet Jonah, not through "a vaguely Muslim traveling salesman." (The Washington Times, "Vegetables Tell Bible Tales," 10-5-02) It may be politically correct and acceptable in liberal religious circles to intentionally add a popular Muslim name such as Khalil to the biblical account of Jonah, but once again, not only is this addition contrary to Scripture, but also in light of Khalil's winning performance, conservative Christians and Jews alike should question the confusion of this addition.

    But perhaps the most disturbing part of the script is the presence of Khalil in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights with "the prophet Jonah." However, unlike Jonah, Khalil is portrayed as upbeat about his unfamiliar surroundings, while Jonah is seen grumbling about the prospect of facing death. Then, on the third day, Jonah and Khalil were both spewed out of the fish, landing in the sand together to carry out their mission; hence, distorting the miraculous event Jesus referred to as "a sign": the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.




    Tampering with Scripture
    Man has no authority to rewrite, tamper with, adulterate, or pervert the sacred writings of the Christian faith. Scripture states, "You shall not add to, nor take away" from God's word. (Deuteronomy 12:32, Deuteronomy 4:2, Revelation 22:18-19) Once Christians begin carelessly adding to and subtracting from God's Word, where will it end?

    Christians are to be valiant for the truth (Jeremiah 9:3). When the Word of God declares that believers are to "rightly divide the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15) that is precisely and exactly what it means!

    What's the Bottom-line?
    In a recent interview with one of the Veggie creators, Phil Vischer shed light on their bottom-line. It's entertainment. In fact, Vischer said, "As much as we want to teach, as much as parents want us to teach lessons to their kids, and as much as we want to put impressive images on a screen, we never forget that we are in the entertainment business. And if our movies don't first entertain a whole family, it doesn't matter what else we've tried to do, because they're not going to be there. They're going to be out of the room." (Baptist Press, "'Jonah,' a whale of a good time," 10-2-02)

    But, when is entertainment ever more important than truth?

    Men of God such as A.W. Tozer would never have agreed with rewriting Scripture in order to draw a crowd -- and he would have been heartsick if he lived to see the day that Christians would be having fun with the Book of Jonah. Today his writings almost sound prophetic on the use and abuse of humor. He wrote: "... when humor takes religion as the object of its fun it is no longer natural -- it is sinful and should be denounced for what it is and avoided by everyone who desires to walk with God .... My plea is for a great seriousness, which will put us in the mood with the Son of Man and with the prophets and apostles of the Scriptures .... Then we may attain that moral happiness which is one of the marks of true spirituality, and also escape the evil of unseemly humor." (The Best of A.W. Tozer, Book One, p. 147)


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cathy Mickels ([email protected]) has been a spokesman on behalf of many pro-family, conservative issues in her state, including serving as the former Washington State President of Phyllis Schlafly's national organization Eagle Forum. She has also co-authored with Audrey McKeever Spiritual Junk Food: The Dumbing Down of Christian Youth, Winepress Publishing, 1-877-421-READ. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.spiritualjunkfood.com.
    © 2002 AgapePress all rights reserved.

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  4. Johnv

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    Veggietales produces "good fruit" ;) .
     
  5. Johnv

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    the distortion of biblical history should not be accepted in the Church.

    Hello? They're talking vegetables!!!! I really don't think my son is going to grow up thinking that the biblical Jonah comes to Costco at 1.49 a pound by watching the Jonah Veggietales movie!
     
  6. All about Grace

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    I am not sure what is more pathetic the fact that someone criticized Veggie Tales to that extent or the fact that they took the time to do it.

    If we haven't learned it by now, we should have: everything positive in Christianity has a target on its back and rest assured someone will take the time to aim, shoot, and fire. And sadly many will contribute to the problem by believing they actually hit their target.
     
  7. Terry_Herrington

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    I just went to -- www.spiritualjunkfood.com --which is the website of Cathy Mickels. The first thing I noticed was her promoting her book entitled, "Spiritual Junk Food."

    I believe that here primary motive for writing such a article is to cause interest in her book. Perhaps the real problem is not with the Veggie Tales series but is with Cathy Mickels desire to exploit the Veggie Tales popularity in order to make money. I for one will not buy this book and will encourage others to do the same.
     
  8. Mike McK

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    Terry, here's the David Clown thing I told you about.

    July 15, 2002 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, [email protected]; for instructions about subscribing and unsubscribing or changing addresses, see the information paragraph at the end of the article)

    VeggieTales is a popular entertainment format for children (video and music) with a focus on character traits, such as thankfulness, forgiveness, and obedience. The Veggietales materials are advertised as "Sunday morning values, Saturday morning fun."

    The first VeggieTale video, "Where's God When I'm S-Scared," appeared in 1993 and in the nine years since then, the company (Big Idea) has sold 28.5 million videos, not to mention the audio tapes, cds, books, toys, clothing, games, etc. Big Idea is working on a full feature animated movie about Jonah, which is scheduled to appear on 1,000 movie screens this fall and which will doubtless draw many Christians to the vile movie theaters.

    The founder of VeggieTales is Phil Vischer.

    When I learned recently that VeggieTales are popular with many Bible-believing Christians, I decided to review some of the videos and songs. I was amazed.

    A BRIDGE TO THE WORLD

    The most dangerous aspect of VeggieTales for Bible-believing Christians is the eclectic philosophy of the music. You will find almost anything, Caribbean, rock, rap, boogie, belly dance, soft shoe, jazz, you name it. The song "Do the Moo Shoo" uses very hard rock and rap. This is a dangerous bridge to the world. It creates a taste in children for rock music and renders them insensitive of the difference between sacred and sensual musical styles. Even the VeggieTales Bible songs are jazzed and rocked up, thus creating a taste for Christian rock music in the youngest child.

    ULTRA SILLINESS

    VeggieTales founder Phil Vischer says that laughter is a key to teaching, that if you get people laughing, you can teach them anything. Let me ask a question: If this is true, why don't we find anything like it in the Bible? The Bible is the sole authority for faith and practice. Why don't we find Jesus making people laugh before He taught them spiritual truths?

    I disagree with Mr. Vischer. I believe the ultra silly approach to teaching spiritual truths CHEAPENS the things of God. It brings the blessed truth down to the level of worldly cartoons. The Bible says that "foolishness is bound in the heart of a child" (Prov. 22:15). The last thing we need to do is encourage the innate silliness of children, as if they are not already silly enough without the help of sincere but misguided adults.

    I'm not saying there is no room for laughter in working with children. I'm not saying that at all. I am saying that to turn the things of God into cartoons and to present eternal truths in the context of ultra silliness is to cheapen the truth. I am saying that we see nothing like this in the Bible, and it is impossible to conceive of Christ and the Apostles engaging in such things.

    Consider the VeggieTales version of Nebuchadnezzer forcing Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego to worship the idol in the book of Daniel. The Veggie edition becomes the tale of Nebby K. Nezzer, manufacturer of chocolate bunnies, who tries to force Shack, Rack, and Benny to worship a giant bunny.

    Vischer admitted to the press recently that VeggieTales is "kind of the equivalent of what if Monty Python took over your Sunday school class" ("Funny Vegetables with a Message," Associated Press, Jan. 23, 2002). Is that really what God's people want for their children?

    Even Sunday School songs, such as "This Little Light of Mine," are sillified in VeggieTales.

    INSUFFICIENT, DANGEROUS MESSAGE

    Furthermore, VeggieTales presents an insufficient, dangerous message. There is moralism without the Gospel, and that is spiritual death. Jesus Christ told Nicodemus, a very religious man, that his religion and morality was not sufficient. Jesus said, "Ye must be born again" (Jn. 3:7). Moralism without the new birth is empty religion.

    One of the themes of VeggieTales is "God made you special, and he loves you very much!" That is true enough as far as it goes, but if that message is not accompanied by the preaching of the Gospel -- that each person is a fallen, hell-bound sinner and that only through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ can we be saved -- it is worse than meaningless, because it gives the false idea that every person is right with God and heaven-bound as long as they are "good."

    Not only is there no clear Gospel in VeggieTales, but there are unscriptural messages. The video "Dave and the Giant Pickle" is dedicated to the psycho-babble theme of "self-esteem." The song "Oh Santa" from "Silly Songs with Larry" is about the mythical Santa Claus.

    Beware of VeggieTales.


    On what planet is "Do the Moo Shoo" "very hard rock"?

    He also takes Proverbs 22:15 out of context.
     
  9. All about Grace

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    I have thought how great it would be if David Cloud could use his time and energy to promote positive elements of the Christian world instead of constantly berating those who differ from him. He is a typical fundamentalist (in the revised sense of the word) :rolleyes: .
     
  10. Molly

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    SBC,It is called biblical discernment and I appreciate those who take the time to do that...of course what they say has to line up with scripture and biblical principles....

    Veggie Tales is not one of our favorites,mainly because they change names and do not use biblical words or names....we have watched some veggie tales and did go to see the movie...the movie bugged me!
     
  11. Mike McK

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    Agreed.

    If you think his thoughts on Veggie Tales are funny, go to his website and see what he has to say about sports.
     
  12. IfbReformer

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    Agreed.

    If you think his thoughts on Veggie Tales are funny, go to his website and see what he has to say about sports.
    </font>[/QUOTE]I agree that it is pathetic to spend so much time a effort to attack things like vegetales. My kids have grown up on Vegetales and those Hanna Barbara Bible cartoons. They know the difference between those cartoons and kid Bible shows and the actual stories. Sometimes I have pointed it out during the show.

    But that does not take away from the value of those shows one bit.

    I am an Independant Fundamental Baptist, but like Dr. Bob Griffin I believe much reform is needed in our ranks. Over the past 50 years or so we have gone from a sound group of Bible Defenders to a big group of Pharisees who teach the tradition of men as the commands of God.

    It is because of men like David Cloud that I built my website(which is now totally new) and I will be putting articles up on it shortly.

    I love studying out things in the scriptures and I love to study church history. I also love to play computer games(I am programmer so it goes with my nature). I have decided to cut back drastically on my game time and use that time to critique the ocean of false and misleading information put out by IFBs like David cloud and other websites.

    With the Lord's help I want to try and launch an internet crusade by IFBs like myself that are sick of other IFBs teaching their tradition as the commands of God. We need a reformation to take place in the ranks of Independant Fundamental Baptists.

    There really is not much except the structure on the site yet but if you want to take a look at the format you can see it at www.ifbreformation.org

    Talk to you later

    IFBReformer
     
  13. All about Grace

    All about Grace
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    Actually I could think of a couple of other better names for what Cloud does.

    Too bad Cloud is not one of them.

    which is what disqualifies Cloud.

    Don't forget VT's purpose: entertainment and the communication of a biblical value. I personally believe they do a great job at both.

    I thought the movie was very entertaining. I occasionally find myself humming, "I'm sleeping with fishes here" or "Our God is a God of second chances."
     
  14. Johnv

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    everything positive in Christianity has a target on its back and rest assured someone will take the time to aim, shoot, and fire. And sadly many will contribute to the problem by believing they actually hit their target.

    How true, and well said!!!
     
  15. Molly

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    I know nothing about this cloud guy....I just had some of the same concerns about veggie tales on my own before reading anything....He may not be a biblically discerning guy,I do not know.
     
  16. go2church

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    We hear the cries of how the morality of the good ole days is slipping or has already slipped away. So someone comes along to challenge the absence of morality in children's entertainment and we shoot them for not using proper biblical names and creating snappy jingles to remember the point of the story.....Give me a break! David Cloud and Cathy Mickels are both idiots.
     
  17. Molly

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    There are much better things for kids than veggie tales. (IMO.) But,it is better than secular stuff,you are right about that. I don't mind my children to watch it for sheer entertainment....some use it for their bible teaching,though.
     
  18. UnashamedYouth

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    We use VeggieTales in a lot of the little kid classes... and they've learned tons more than those of us who had to grow up listening to the SAME FIVE STORIES in sunday school from (for me) 3rd grade thru 7th

    as a high school senior I just LOVE Veggie Tales... they're everybit as funny as anything Disney or Dreamworks can put out... without the subtle "adult" humor.
     
  19. Mike McK

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    Veggie Tales has quite a bit of subtle adult humor.
     
  20. christfollower55

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    i think it's good for kids however i like sunday school a little better...

    GOD BLESS AMERICA
     

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