My Little Pony pushing anti-reasoning + religious faith on young children?

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic is a cute children's cartoon that went on air last year. I would like to bring this particular episode to this community's attention, though.

While wrapped in a cute, friendly, and fun loving appearance, this episode is actually pushing anti intellectualism and religious faith as values that children should adopt. This is not a Christian themed cartoon, and this them only appears to be slipped in this one episode somewhere in the middle of the season.

I would like to hear comments and opinions from anyone interested in Christian influence in children's media that is supposed to be for everyone. (or opinions from anyone who has 20 minutes to spend chilling out to My Little Pony)

Comment by Morgan Matthew on July 7, 2011 at 2:27pm
Featured.
Comment by Apple on July 7, 2011 at 2:50pm

Thank you for featuring this Morgan!  I actually thought this was quite a cute show until they slipped this episode in.  It upsets me on so many levels.  For those who don't want to sit though the whole episode, I'd recommend watching:

 

1)  First four minutes (to get the idea of what the episode is about)

 

2)  6:10 - 7:30  (This is a really low blow, where they teach children that you can't trust science to explain how things work)

 

3)  Last four minutes.

 

All of the episodes in this show end with Twilight Sparkle writing to the princess about what she has learned about friendship.  (The moral of the episode)  All of the other episodes are promoting things like being honest, sharing, thinking about the other person's feelings, etc.  It really gets under my skin that pseudo-scientific thinking is promoted as a core value right in line with all of the other good values.  And another thing that bothers me is how Twilight Sparkle says "Sometimes you just need a friend to show you the way."  This seems to me to be telling children of nominally religious or non-religious families that it's a good idea to go along with whatever pseudo-scientific  / religious beliefs their friends (a.k.a. their friend's parents) are following, and to question the magical thinking of other children is a mistake.  Grrr!

Comment by Araina on July 8, 2011 at 12:31am
If you don't believe in God you will be eaten by the Loch Ness Monster.  That sounds reasonable enough.
Comment by Natalie on July 8, 2011 at 1:30am
Lets not get ahead of our self's. I think we're forgetting that this is a children's show. I show these to my daughter everyday and I do not feel this will influence her with a religious view. Children should be aloud to think and behave like children. This involves having a very active imagination. Children believe in magic, fairy's and even Santa Claus and there is nothing wrong with that. I can see how this could be seen as a religious view, but I think the message is mostly about understanding and trust. Though, I do think a better ending would have been Pinkie understanding Twilight.
Comment by Paul Prescod on July 8, 2011 at 2:52am
Natalie: I think we are all used to magic in children's shows. The problem is that this show DENIGRATES trying to research, study and understand the world. My daughter also believes in Santa Clause, but I also support her when she asks tough questions about him. Asking questions is okay. In the episode, Twilight is made to look foolish when she tries to use scientific apparatus to understand what's going on. This is the OPPOSITE message of the magic school bus, where they encourage kids to ask questions and probe.
Comment by Rick on July 12, 2011 at 8:41pm
This is disturbing. I have to say though, if religion could link their magical claims to a twitchy tail as shown in the cartoon, that would be the best evidence in support of their claim to date.
Comment by Paul Prescod on July 12, 2011 at 8:44pm
Rick: yeah the annoying thing is not actually the magic, but the implication that such a phenomenon could be totally reproducible and yet science could not study it. It strongly implies that the universe is "at odds" with science, which is the kind of thing a theist would say. "God does miracles when science is not looking."
Comment by Daniel Sweeney on June 17, 2012 at 9:13pm

This is hypocrisy, not the show but you fellow atheists.

Comment by kOrsan on June 18, 2012 at 1:09am

Isn't reading into stuff that isn't there the theists job? It's a show about "friendship," the point was just if your friend acts like a weirdo you should still hear the bitch out. That could be religion or anything else. And what exactly did you expect? Some pony modeled after Christoper Hitchens or Richard Dawkins to walk into the scene and bash her?

Again, the show is called "friendship is magic," not "friendship is science."

Comment by Paul Prescod on June 18, 2012 at 2:00am
Isn't reading into stuff that isn't there the theists job?

You don't really need to "read anything into it." One pony superficially took a logical, scientific approach to it, and she was clearly represented as the stupid one. It's not as if it is a deep reading of the Smurfs as a marxist parable.

It's a show about "friendship," the point was just if your friend acts like a weirdo you should still hear the bitch out. That could be religion or anything else. And what exactly did you expect? Some pony modeled after Christoper Hitchens or Richard Dawkins to walk into the scene and bash her?

No:quite the opposite.

Dawkins (as a scientist) would not bash anyone displaying signs of paranormal talents. Dawkins would study it. The thing that grates is that the pony who is obviously supposed to represent science and skepticism is not at all scientific.
She is appropriately skeptical at first, but unwilling to accept new information which would invalidate her existing beliefs. This means that although she represents the scientific mindset on the show, she is actually closed-minded and incurious.

Quite unlike true scientist/skeptics like Richard Dawkins or James Randi.

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