Often when I speak, I joke that as a dad of three little girls, I have a lot of princesses in my life. And I’m not just talking about my bride and daughters. As many of you know, the Disney princess campaign has been one of the most successful movements in the history of mankind.
So a few weeks ago, when speaking-related business took me to Orlando, the family joined me and we went to Disney World. We had a blast, and made great memories. My girls were called princesses by everyone from the moment they entered the park, and they loved it, even though I’m still exhausted from two days of waiting in lines and fighting crowds at the so-called happiest place on earth.
Not only are people everywhere at these parks, ideas are too. It’s tempting to think that worldviews only come at us from dusty tomes, professors, and ivory towers. But as C. S. Lewis once said, the most dangerous ideas in a society aren’t the ones that are argued, but the ones that are assumed. And that’s certainly true at Disney World, where worldviews are sneakier and more persistent than Captain Hook’s crocodile.
For example, on the safari ride, not only do you see amazing animals up close, you see naturalism up close, a worldview that assumes we’re the result of Darwinian evolution.
As our guide was convincing us how bad poachers are—and they are bad— she reasoned, “after all, we're just animals, too.”
Immediately two of my daughters perked up and said, “Wait a minute! No, we’re not!” They knew humans are created in God’s image. And naturalism? Well, that’s a small worldview, after all, isn’t it?
Where we have really noticed worldviews at work, however, is with those famed Disney princesses. You may have noticed that they’re not all created equal. Snow White is industrious and looks after others; Belle is loving toward the unlovely beast and respectful of her outcast father. All good.
But one Disney princess just isn’t welcome in our house. Can you guess which one? It’s Ariel, from the “Little Mermaid,” who though she disobeys her father, gets her happy ending because she follows her heart, even though her heart is filled with her own selfishness, disobedience, and foolishness.
Not to be grisly here, but in the original fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, of course, the little mermaid dies—not exactly the sort of “happy ending” that fits Disney, but certainly one that comes closer to fitting reality.
The message coming from the Disney Ariel, however, is not a message I want my girls to absorb. But I do want them to think about it, and the difference between the princesses and why Ariel is not allowed. So we talk about it.
This reminds me of something Nancy Pearcey wrote in her book “Total Truth.” She said all Christians need to develop baloney detectors, the ability to recognize when an idea just isn’t true.
That’s just another name for a Christian worldview. A good worldview—that is, one that actually matches reality—enables us to see the world as it really is. It acts as a filter to alert us when false ideas, behaviors, or assumptions come at us.
And whether you choose to let Ariel in your house or not, remember the culture gives you plenty of opportunities to discuss worldview. Don’t assume that your children know. Talk about it with them—at home, at the movies, even at Disney World. Ask questions like, “is that true?” or “what if everyone lived that way?” And, “would that really work in the real world?”
If you need some help, there’s plenty of great worldview resources out there for you and your children. But the one I recommend the most is a set of books for families from Apologia and Summit Ministries called “What We Believe.” It’s designed for families to do together, especially those with children between the ages of 6 and 15. And for teens, check out the “Re:View” film series from my mentor Bill Brown, or send them to the very best worldview training program anywhere, Summit Ministries.
Come to BreakPoint.org, click on this commentary, and we’ll link you to all of these resources. But remember, what your kids need most of all to develop a Christian worldview is you and your intentional engagement with them about the ideas that are all around us.
BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at BreakPoint.org where you can read and search answers to common questions.
John Stonestreet, the host of The Point, a daily national radio program, provides thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.
Publication date: November 8, 2013