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The Lion King and The New Spirituality

Tuesday is “library day” at my son’s school, and he is able to go to the library and pick out any book he would like to borrow for a week. This week he was quite taken with The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride and brought that title home. It is a Disney book that is based on one of their movies. In my experience these books are terribly-written and in trying to compress a 90-minute movie to twenty-four pages, very little of the plot makes its way onto the pages of the book. Last night he asked me to read it to him, so we sat on the couch and began to do just that.

There was trouble on the first page. “The spirit of good King Mufasa looked down upon the happy kingdom…” Mufasa, of course, is the father of Simba who died early in the first film. I skipped over that part and read on. Page eight began talk of the circle of life which was a prominent theme in The Lion King. “One day I won’t be here, and I need you to carry on in my place. You are part of the great circle of – ” “- circle of life. I know.” I skipped it and went on. “That’s like saying you don’t want to be a lion. It’s in your blood, as I am. We are part of each other.” At this point the book went for a quick flight across the room and I explained to my son that I would not read the book because it said bad things about God – the best way I could think of to explain to a five-year old child that the book was filled with New Age nonsense.

This morning I breezed through the book on my own and found a couple of other references to this New Age spirituality. The book even closes with it. “Above it all, Mufasa looked down upon them, especially at his beloved Simba. “Well done, my son. We are one!” Mufasa looked down upon the two generations that followed him and declared that they are all one. This, of course, is perfectly consistent with the New Spirituality that teaches that we are all one and we are all divine.

It is probably ridiculous of me to be upset about what I find in material made by Disney, as they have long since become pivotal in teaching New Spirituality. About a year ago some friends rented Brother Bear (I believe that is the title) and it was filled with that same spiritual message. Even the first Lion King contained a very strong New Age message. Yet somehow having this book at my son’s school makes me shake my head. Imagine if the first page, instead of speaking of good King Mufasa looking at the kingdom, had said “And God smiled down on His people.” There is no way that book would be in the school library! Imagine if the circle of life was replaced by talk of sin and repentance. Somehow this New Age trash is allowed to be present and polluting the minds of children, while the Truth is banished.

And that is part of what makes New Age teachings so dangerous – they have wide acceptance, but they are also very subtle and have great appeal to the sinful human mind. They seem to just slip below the radar and appear to be very harmless. Yet these teachings are in direct contrast to what the Bible teaches us. There is no message of sin, repentance and forgiveness. Instead, there is a message of oneness and wholeness. Instead of looking outside ourselves to the Creator, the New Age teaches that we must look inside to discover that we are all divine. And this is taught to mere children in movies and in books – even books in the school library.

In recent months I have read several books about the New Age and each of them has mentioned people who have been primary evangelists of this movement. They have mentioned Marianne Williamson, Oprah Winfrey, Tony Robbins and others. Interestingly, none have mentioned Disney, even though Disney’s reach is much wider than any of the others. But perhaps this highlights once more the subtlety of the New Age. It slips in, almost unnoticed, and seems harmless enough that most people barely register any offense. Yet the teachings are destructive to a biblical worldview and go directly against the clear teachings of Scripture. This is just one more reason to carefully screen the influences upon your children.

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