46 internautes sur 51 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Acharya S aka D.M. Murdock
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Over the years, people have asked me what books I recommend for children on the subject of God and religion, even requesting that I myself write children's books. Although I have read several good books on the subject over the years, other than "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" I have not been able to come up with any at the spur of the moment. That inspiring book, however, is not specifically about God and religion, and is also geared for an older audience.
For younger children, even as young as those who can understand full sentences, "What is God?" by Etan Boritzer is without a doubt the best children's book on the subject of God and religion that I have read to date. As is appropriate for young children, "What is God?" contains marvelously attractive illustrations by Robbie Marantz that may hold the attention of the wandering mind which is still too young to understand some of the heady but accessible concepts provided by Boritzer's fabulously inclusive text. The book is simply appealing from cover to cover, and the best surprise is that it is not at all preachy and would be useful for even the most ardent unbeliever to teach his or her children about what other people believe about God.
This book is so great, in fact, that I believe reading it to all the world's children would have an enormous impact on ending religious strife globally. "What is God?" does not teach children what to believe. It is not threatening to any parents, except for those who think that informing their children about other people's beliefs will somehow "poison" their minds. This book simply and matter-of-factly recites a wide variety of beliefs from around the world, including the simplistic and childish concept that God is an old man with a long white beard who lives in the sky. "Next time you fly in an airplane," says Boritzer, "look out the window at the clouds. But you won't see that God there, because no one has ever seen that God!"
"What is God?" continues in this vein, relating that religions are sets of beliefs shared by groups of people, generally revolving around a shared holy book and a teacher believed to be divinely inspired or to understand the question "What is God?" Boritzer explains that there have been many teachers and books, listing the most famous such as Jesus, Moses, Mohammed and Buddha, and the Bible, Koran, Torah, Vedas and Sutras. He also imparts the knowledge that these beliefs have caused people to fight among themselves over whose concept of God was right and whose was wrong. The author further delves into what is prayer, in a highly satisfying manner.
My favorite part is where God is described as everything:
"Yes! God is everything great and small!
God is everything far away and near!
God is everything bright and dark!
And God is everything in between!...
"If everything is God,
Then I am God,
You are God,
All of us are God!"
In a sense, this last part IS teaching us and our children what to think about God, but is it in fact harmful? Or, just maybe, do these concepts serve as an inoculation against strident and exclusionary beliefs that our children will surely encounter down the road, which truly ARE harmful?
The interpretation of these concepts that follows in "What is God?" is that believing we are all God allows us to connect spiritually with each other and with the universe as a whole. As a longtime observer and critic of religious strife, and someone who has striven to provide solutions to this dilemma, I can state that such a perspective can only be helpful for all to hear and understand.
Boritzer's style is enlightened, kind and gentle, such that no one should feel threatened but all are made to feel welcome. Although it was not within the purview of his work to discuss atheism, Boritzer may have wished to include one or two sentences which related that some people do not believe in a god of any sort and do not pray, but that's okay too!
The suggestion that I write children's books curiously led me to discover this wonderful tome, as I attended a seminar with the author on how to publish children's books. Little did I know what a life-changing event it would be, as I am now able with great clarity to pass along to my own progeny pertinent information concerning what I regard an extremely important subject. I am also able to explain what it is I do! For example, in the part of "What is God?" that illustrates how people fight over the concept, I was able to share that I like to stand in between the two men in the picture fighting over the word "God" and to tell them to stop! Any small child can appreciate these ideas.
"What is God?" should be present in libraries, churches, synagogues, temples and mosques the world over, translated into every major language, and read by every person interested not only in the subjects of God and religion but also in world peace.
Author, "The Christ Conspiracy" and "Suns of God"
29 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Our daughter is of the age to wonder why. And because the God Question is about the thorniest we expect to face, we have been looking for a Good Explanation.
I started by relying on personal knowledge. Since I was old enough to question, I've been reading about religion and spirituality. You name it, I've probably read the basic texts. And, by profession, I sort of know how to tell a story.
So on Easter Sunday, when the little one asked about the egg roll, I saw an opportunity to explain about a more significant roll --- the rolling of the rock from Jesus' tomb.
Two sentences in, she walked away.
And I got it. Talking about God is like teaching a kid to swim. It's not a job for every parent; it's surely not advised for those parents who are, like us, still searching. So we started looking for a book.
And now we have one.
When the time comes, "What is God?" will be our First Responder.
It is short (32 pages), with a lovely water-color on the left hand page of each spread and three or four short paragraphs on the right.
It could not be more straightforward. On Page 1:
Maybe we can't really talk about God
Because maybe we can't see God
Or maybe we can't hear God
Or even taste or smell or touch God
Maybe we can only feel God
Like we can feel love
Or like we feel happy or sad.
From there, Etan Boritzer takes us back, to a brief history of belief, focusing on the image of God as "an old man, with a long white beard." Next time you're on an airplane, he suggests, look at the clouds: "You won't see that God there/Because no one has ever seen that God!"
Maybe, he proposes next, God is an "eternal mystery." Then again, "some people think that there are teachers/Who have been able to solve the puzzle."
And now, for those who have a strong personal belief, we're on dangerous ground. Organized religion can be like organized sports; people tend to root for their home team. Which makes them hyper-sensitive about anything that looks like "criticism".
After Boritzer takes children through the great religions, he jumps right into the hot zone. He notes that sometimes, "people of one religion want everyone/To know `What is God?' in the same way/That they understand God."
What these people don't understand, he says, is that "Most religions are almost the same!" That is, they tell you to be good to others, not to lie and cheat and steal. And if more people thought about that, maybe we wouldn't have so many "fights" about God.
The book closes on a high note: the forms of prayer and the good fortune of living in a country where there's no official religion. And then, perhaps the highest note of all:
So when we pray to God,
When people of all religions pray to God,
We are really praying for that feeling,
The feeling that connects all of us.
When we pray to God,
We are praying for that feeling of love
To come to us and to everyone we know,
Maybe even to all those people we don't know,
So that we can be happy together, or apart.
Lovely stuff. Hard to disagree. But on the last page, Boritzer will drive some parents crazy --- and thrill all whose sympathies lie in the East:
So, if you really want to feel God,
You can close your eyes now,
And listen to your breath go slowly in and out,
And think how you are connected to everything,
Even if you are not touching anything.
That's pure Thich Nhat Hanh Buddhism.
Propaganda? In this house: practical wisdom. I mean, I've seen it work. Once, when our daughter was so unhappy she was blubbering, I put my hand on her chest and said, "I can't help you when you're crying this hard. You've got to calm down. Here's how --- take a big slow breath, then let it out. And again. And again."
Our eyes locked as we worked together. In a minute or so, she was herself again.
In the absence of another "proof" of God, I suspect reading a book that returns a child to herself --- to the magic breath of life --- would serve our daughter quite well.