Valley

Christianity and Friendship is Magic

114 posts in this topic

First of all, I know we all have differing beliefs. We probably aren't going to agree on everything. But I would really hate to see this devolve into mindless insults. Let's keep our logic, patience, and manners about this as we discuss, shall we?

Next, I'll give a bit of my backstory: I grew up as a Christian, and still follow the God of the Bible. I've also been blessed with a dad who isn't an extreme fundamentalist, so he doesn't think ponies are demonic (he even likes them; Rarity's his favorite). I think you'll find me to be very understanding. So, when talking to me, please don't be afraid to speak your mind. I can usually tell the difference between someone who is insulting me and someone who is simply heartily disagreeing with me.

It actually took me six episodes to become a brony. My friend wanted me to give the show the "five-episode rule," so I watched the first four, wasn't too impressed (I thought it was good quality, but I was looking for good humor and I didn't think those episodes were that funny), and asked him which one I should see next. He recommended episode 15: Feeling Pinkie Keen. I thought it was fairly funny (the line, "Can you do that? Can you explode twice?" was pretty great, though), but it was the lesson that actually kind of turned me off again: "There are wonderful things in this world that you can't explain, but that doesn't make them any less true. It just means you have to choose to believe in them, and sometimes it takes you a friend to show you the way." Of course, the first thing that came to mind was the existence of God. I initially thought that the lesson essentially meant that you should be a blind, spoon-fed Christian who should believe anything the pastor, a Christian friend, or even a politician you like tells you. Yes, I'm a Christian, but I'm a Christian who can back up what he believes in, and I feel like if a Christian hasn't seriously thought about whether or not God actually exists and what their pastor tells them is true, then they're doing it wrong.

Then my oldest sister (about 10 years older than me) urged me to watch one more episode. It was episode 19: A Dog and Pony Show. Then I was hooked. Rarity is still my favorite pony to this day, and probably always will be. I think the whining scene is probably one of the best cartoon scenes I've ever seen in my life.

But back on topic: after becoming a brony, I got to thinking about that lesson again, and I realized that there are several things in this world that are hard or even impossible to understand; even within the world of science. A good example is gravity. Yes we know how gravity works. Newton has a forumla for it:

newtons_law_gravity_equation_force.png

But... why does it work? Why do bodies attract other bodies? Why is there a gravitational constant, and why is it 6.6726 x 10-11N-m2/kg2? Nobody knows, really, but it's evident that it's true. We cannot deny that gravity exists, but we certainly can't explain it. (I think it all points to a creator, but that discussion would probably belong in another topic, yes? I suppose we can make one for such discussions, if anypony is interested.)

I took the letters to Celestia for granted for a while (it took me a bit to get past that gag reflex of how cheesy it is to send letters to the princess about what you learned about friendship, honestly). But eventually, I started to realize that the lessons they teach are all completely Biblical; I can't think of a single episode that has a lesson that didn't coincide with what the Bible teaches. Even "love and tolerate." That's exactly what Jesus asked us to do (ESV Matthew 22:34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”). Okay, so it doesn't specifically say "tolerate," but what is love without tolerance?

I won't post how each and every lesson agrees with the Bible (unless you just want me to; I'm not at all opposed to doing it, I just figured not everypony would want to read all that), so I'll just use last week's episode (Season 2 Episode 20: It's About Time) as an example, because it's pretty simple:

Friendship is Magic's lesson (it's not explicitly written to Princess Celestia, so I'll just summarize): Don't worry about every little thing that may happen the future; it could end up causing more trouble.

The Bible's lesson: Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." (More on that in verses 25-33. I just thought I'd sum it up.)

What do you guys think of it? Does this make you respect the Bible and Christianity any more or less? Does it make you respect ponies more or less? Does it put a new perspective on anything? Do you think it's just all crap and I'm ignorant?

Wow, that was kind of a longer post than I expected. Here:

TL;DR: The lessons in FiM and the Bible match up. What do you think about that?

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The lessons in FiM and Vedic texts match up too.

In the Ramayana the first lesson taught is empathy for all living creatures when the poet Valmiki sees the sparrow cryng for its lost mate. The Bhagavad Gita would respond to the lesson of the time travel episode with "From wherever the mind wanders due to its flickering and unsteady nature, one must certainly withdraw it and bring it back under the control of the self" (from the Swami Prabhupada translation)

Does that mean FiM is based off Hinduism? No, what i'm saying is that lessons in common sense and natural wisdom are not endemic to any one relgion or culture.

Edited by flipflopfloop

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Aye, I think we could be mature enough IF we get a ban hammer on display.

Regarding this topic, I think it's half true. Of course, I utterly doubt the lessons from MLP come directly from the Bible, but rather from common sense and lessons from life. I never read the Bible as a whole, only a few parts during my childhood, so I am not the man to be speaking too much about this. However, it does make sense that the lessons are also in the bible, due to the obvious reasons stated above.

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lol, I don't know what agreement everypony came to. But, this isn't really discussing religion, as much as a specific religions relationship with the show. The Chronicles of Narnia, for example, is pretty much based on Christianity...well, kind of. It doesn't really bother me. It's not really endorsing the religion just borrowing motifs from it.

As far as ponies... I doubt it. The lessons are pretty general, and the Bible is big enough that you can find a passage to support any lesson you want. I got the same message from Feeling Pinkie Keen, but according to Faust herself, that wasn't the intended message. It was a great episode--very cartoony. But, they tried to find a message that would translate to real life and sort of fell flat on their face.

EDIT: And, as pretty much everyone said, most of the lessons are pretty common sense. Sure, one of the Ten Commandments is "don't murder," but that's in a lot of religions. And, pretty much every social animal has that rule.

EDIT2: I probably shouldn't address this, but I must...FOR SCIENCE! (it was in the OP, staring at me.) There are several hypotheses for how gravity works. I think that "mass warps space-time" is the most popular, atm. We may not know, but we're working on it. Whatever anyone thinks, as long as we're working toward the truth, that's the most important thing. As for "why" there's a gravitational constant, or any other natural constant...There are some cases where "why" may not even be a valid question. People say "if this constant were this, things wouldn't work." That throws up a flag to some people, but it really shouldn't. There may be plenty of universes with different constants that don't work. If our universe HAD ended up not working, another may have had the right constants, and the people that evolved there would be wondering right now why they ended up with just the right laws. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropic_principle A slim chance is STILL a chance.

ANYWHO, the lessons in FiM are pretty general. "Don't assume things about people; interact with them, get to know them." "You can be proud of your achievements, but don't be an attention whore." Yep.

Edited by Ejak2021

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I can't really relate what you said to me, but I feel that it could of been unintentional for the writers to do that. I mean sure they closely resemble certain parts, but I feel that the lessons learned are leaning towards things should know based off of common sense. Not trying to insult you or your religion in anyway, but that is how I feel.

Off topic: Woohoo! Rarity fan! Also, I think I overused the word "but".

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Does that mean when they run out of the positive lessons the Bible teaches they'll have to go onto the really weird ones like where God tells Abraham to kill his son and Abraham's like "what" and God's like "do it" and Abraham's like "but-" and God's like "do it cuz I said so" and Abraham's like "well... okay... but only because YOU told me to," and then God's like "whoa hold up man I was j/k anyway cya"

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Does that mean when they run out of the positive lessons the Bible teaches they'll have to go onto the really weird ones like where God tells Abraham to kill his son and Abraham's like "what" and God's like "do it" and Abraham's like "but-" and God's like "do it cuz I said so" and Abraham's like "well... okay... but only because YOU told me to," and then God's like "whoa hold up man I was j/k anyway cya"

this is why we can't have nice discussions

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I figure if people are going to get offended no matter what I may as well just go whole hog you know?

That's an interesting way of looking at it =3=

But the intention of this topic isn't to offend people, I'm sure

Edited by Florxnog
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I'd say at least try to keep the thread on the down-low. Locked threads are an eyesore in the forum. If you know what you're going to say is probably going to cause an incident, just pass for the time being...

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The lessons from MLP also match up well with the lessons in right living taught in Stoic philosophy.

Seems to me that wise people from all over the world discovered paths to happiness, wisdom, and tranquility. These paths are remarkably similar, since humans are humans.

Now that you mention it though, I am curious about whether they are brainstorming these lessons learned themselves, or if they are drawing from some particular source.

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Dear Valley,

I used to not believe in this stuff, until I took biology. I was raised Christian and all, but I didn't really feel it, you know?

So I took biology, and I encountered Cell Theory... which states that cells can only be produced by other cells. I had also heard a principle from the book in class, which stated that life only comes from other life… same deal. Logically, I suppose that would mean that cells were, yes, created. And that life was created. Science and faith (faith being different from religion, as religion is how an individual practices his/her faith), I believe, are supposed to complement each other.

After determining that, I re-thought my look on religions (I DID already have a Christian base). I studied several different religions, and reasoned for myself that the God of Israel and the Christians, and His Word, the Bible, were the most logical. As I see it personally, the Old Testament (and New) are the oldest of religious texts, and that the Old Testament is basically a guide.

What I mean by Old Testament = guide is this: It is a basic explanation of this world from an intelligent Creator to and unintelligent, primitive people; our ancestors. The rules laid out in the Old Testament are essentially rules to hold together a society, and to keep a primitive people healthy (circumcision, pork, etc.).

It is really of my own accord that I chose to worship God, the God of Israel and the Christians, who I believe is real, and true, and loving. I want to thank you for sharing this; I know we’re spoon-fed atheism in the school systems, which is why I was how I was before. I think everyone deserves to hear all the options so they can choose better for themselves; we are rational creatures, after all.

*steps off the soapbox*

(It was a bit off-topic... kinda felt like a personal testimony while the general topic was around)

Edited by Celtic Cross

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I looked in the rules thread, and it didn't say anything against talking about religion... besides, this isn't really a religious debate anyway. I just hope that nobody comes in like "OMC RELIGION THREAD LOCK LOCK LOCK!!" especially because I don't really see anypony angry right now anyway. I trust you all can stay mature about it, or else I wouldn't have bothered making the post. :P

Also, I think some people have misread my post: I'm not saying that the lessons come from the Bible, but that they match up with it. If I said that they did come from the Bible, that was my mistake and you were right for correcting me. Friendship is Magic is a secular show, after all. I guess we could start debating where morality comes from, but that's another topic entirely, as well, and would need its own thread (a thread that would probably be filled with rage, so I figure I'll avoid that, at least for now).

But yeah, I'm not going to answer all those posts concerning how the lessons from ponies are not taken out of the Bible, because they are probably not. I mean, maybe some of the writers are Christians and are influenced by the Bible, but I think that's as far as one could take it.

As far as ponies... I doubt it. The lessons are pretty general, and the Bible is big enough that you can find a passage to support any lesson you want.

Weeeelll... I wouldn't say any lesson you want (obviously, the Bible does not say it's okay to steal crack and kill prostitutes), but I know what you're saying. The Bible is a big book that covers a lot of topics. I personally find the Bible to be a very moral book (I'm sure many will disagree, and I guess if you want to talk about that, we could, again, open up another thread... but then I'm fairly certain that would turn into a flame war or something, so perhaps PM me about it? I'm open to talk about it.), so it would make sense that a moral show would contain similarities to it.

EDIT: And, as pretty much everyone said, most of the lessons are pretty common sense. Sure, one of the Ten Commandments is "don't murder," but that's in a lot of religions. And, pretty much every social animal has that rule.

True, true... But I'm just amazed how every single episode (except maybe the first three... the first two were pretty much just about the magic of friendship, and I can't think of any instance in the Bible that goes over the lesson of episode 3) very well matches up with Biblical concepts. And I bet that not every FiM episodes matches up with every single religion out there. For example, the newest episode, Dragon Quest, was basically about transcending (for lack of a better word) who you were born to be. But don't some Hindu nations still enforce the caste system? The Untouchables are never allowed to transcend their group. Then again, I guess the ponies episode was about transcending their morality and not their social standing... And please, tell me if I'm wrong about any of this.

EDIT2: I probably shouldn't address this, but I must...FOR SCIENCE! (it was in the OP, staring at me.) There are several hypotheses for how gravity works. I think that "mass warps space-time" is the most popular, atm. We may not know, but we're working on it. Whatever anyone thinks, as long as we're working toward the truth, that's the most important thing. As for "why" there's a gravitational constant, or any other natural constant...There are some cases where "why" may not even be a valid question. People say "if this constant were this, things wouldn't work." That throws up a flag to some people, but it really shouldn't. There may be plenty of universes with different constants that don't work. If our universe HAD ended up not working, another may have had the right constants, and the people that evolved there would be wondering right now why they ended up with just the right laws. See: http://en.wikipedia....ropic_principle A slim chance is STILL a chance.

I think it's good that you addressed this. I hadn't heard of any principles relating to the "why" of gravity; I guess I should have researched that a bit. Very interesting... However, my point was that nobody knows beyond a doubt why gravity works. The wiki page there does say that the principle is a "philosophical argument," not a downright explanation. No one has completely figured out gravity, have they? If so, please correct me. Anyways, you could argue that Anthropic principle all day, but someone else could still disagree because it isn't a proven fact. The key words, to me, are "figure out." Twilight could not figure out the Pinkie sense despite all the pony science, but it is still true as there is evidence. We humans cannot figure out gravity despite all the science, but it is still true as there is evidence.

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So I took biology, and I encountered Cell Theory... which states that cells can only be produced by other cells. I had also heard a principle from the book in class, which stated that life only comes from other life… same deal. Logically, I suppose that would mean that cells were, yes, created. And that life was created.

this is kind of off-topic, BUT...no. :D Spontaneous Generation refers to complex life coming from nonliving sources. At SOME point, there was a some sort of self-replicating RNA that wasn't really alive. But, since it self-replicated chemically, it become more populous. Things happened; badda bing, badda boom. We get simple life. See ids for better, more informed explanations: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/

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The key words, to me, are "figure out." Twilight could not figure out the Pinkie sense despite all the pony science, but it is still true as there is evidence. We humans cannot figure out gravity despite all the science, but it is still true as there is evidence.

Well, the pony world doesn't conform to reality--they have magic (and they hold things with their hooves sometimes (and also their forelegs are double-jointed)). Pinkie pointed that out, and Twilight kind of swept it under the rug. x3

As for us, I wouldn't say "we cannot figure out gravity." If something happens, it can be explained, because it had to have happened somehow. There is an explanation for gravity, we just don't know it yet. That doesn't mean it isn't related to God, but it doesn't mean it is. It isn't exactly evidence either way, just a gap in our knowledge. So, as long as you aren't supposing God and not bothering to find out if it really is, we're gravy.

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Aye, I think we could be mature enough IF we get a ban hammer on display.

:devil:

Also, science is working on where gravity comes from, and making progress. As for cell generation, the right combination of chemicals in water will eventually begin to combine into cells. As soon as they begin a reaction that lets them reproduce, evolution takes over. For a while they won't look like any cells from any organisms we know of, but eventually the important pieces will begin to fall into place.

As for the lessons in FiM, they do line up exceptionally well with most Biblical concepts. This makes sense, since both of these things are supposed to be guides for how to live a good and just life for the sake of others. Be a good neighbor, be a good friend. Also, as has been pointed out, these parallels can be drawn with just about any religion or belief structure that teaches altruism, love for others, and respect for life. I do think it's cool how FiM manages to get the lessons worked into the shows plots so well while still being entertaining. It makes it not sound preachy when Twilight/Somepony writes the letter at the end.

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Aye, I think we could be mature enough IF we get a ban hammer on display.

:devil:

Also, science is working on where gravity comes from, and making progress. As for cell generation, the right combination of chemicals in water will eventually begin to combine into cells. As soon as they begin a reaction that lets them reproduce, evolution takes over. For a while they won't look like any cells from any organisms we know of, but eventually the important pieces will begin to fall into place.

As for the lessons in FiM, they do line up exceptionally well with most Biblical concepts. This makes sense, since both of these things are supposed to be guides for how to live a good and just life for the sake of others. Be a good neighbor, be a good friend. Also, as has been pointed out, these parallels can be drawn with just about any religion or belief structure that teaches altruism, love for others, and respect for life. I do think it's cool how FiM manages to get the lessons worked into the shows plots so well while still being entertaining. It makes it not sound preachy when Twilight/Somepony writes the letter at the end.

how did all the cells all combine to well actually live.

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Does that mean when they run out of the positive lessons the Bible teaches they'll have to go onto the really weird ones like where God tells Abraham to kill his son and Abraham's like "what" and God's like "do it" and Abraham's like "but-" and God's like "do it cuz I said so" and Abraham's like "well... okay... but only because YOU told me to," and then God's like "whoa hold up man I was j/k anyway cya"

It's a little more complicated than that, but basically, yeah.

Sorry, but alot of TL; DR in here for me right now.

It would seem that most major religions share the same views around the subject of 'the Golden Rule' i.e. be nice to each other. This they also have in common with MLP:FiM.

All in all, Leave the world a better place than you found it, Help out your fellow humans, and try not to be a dick.

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how did all the cells all combine to well actually live.

That sentence is somewhat difficult to parse. I think you're asking how the cells merged together to form multi-cell organisms? In which case, a few cells that were particularly sticky started sticking to each other after dividing, and because a cluster of cells has a better survival rate than a single cell, natural selection kept those cells alive. It would start with a 2 by whatever chain of cells and as the chain grew they would gradually they would begin the form shapes that were more conducive to distributing nutrients. Eventually the chains expand in the other direction, form a circle, and then a bowl, and then a jar, and at this point begin pulsating in unison to push water in and out of the middle, and you have the first ultra-basic respiratory system.

However, cellular biology and the origin of life is an extremely complicated subject, and if you remain curious on the inner workings of all this I suggest you do some research on various scientific sites and book. Wikipedia is actually a decent place to start. As this is getting rather off-topic I believe a return to the original topic is appropriate...

...which would be FiM's lessons and their similarity to lesson taught in the Bible. I'm not sure it's a debate of any kind as much as an observation, as well as several people also observing that other religious texts also carry remarkable similar messages. In effect, you could say that the religious texts themselves all carry messages similar to each other when it comes to how to treat other people and be a good neighbor/friend/person/etc.

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As for us, I wouldn't say "we cannot figure out gravity." If something happens, it can be explained, because it had to have happened somehow. There is an explanation for gravity, we just don't know it yet. That doesn't mean it isn't related to God, but it doesn't mean it is. It isn't exactly evidence either way, just a gap in our knowledge. So, as long as you aren't supposing God and not bothering to find out if it really is, we're gravy.

Also, science is working on where gravity comes from, and making progress.

Alright, let me rephrase: "We have not figured out gravity." :P Gravity was only an example, anyway... I don't believe scientists have explained the strong force, the weak force, or viruses yet, have they? What is with virusus, anyway? Are they dead? Alive? Undead? ZOMBIES?

From a little girl's perspective, though, I can still see how the lesson of Feeling Pinkie Keen could have a useful meaning. They may be having trouble understanding something in school, but just because they don't get it, it doesn't mean it isn't true.

From the perspective of scientists in the past... this lesson would be more important, I suppose. There used to be a lot of things those scientists had no clue about, but were still certainly true. Nowadays, we've made so many scientific advancements that I guess it seems almost a silly lesson to today's scientists. I still think it has value, though. We think we have everything figured out, but something comes up, blows us away, but we may shrug it off because we can't explain it. I'm pretty certain science hasn't thoroughly explained everything. Again, correct me if I'm wrong. :P

As for the lessons in FiM, they do line up exceptionally well with most Biblical concepts. This makes sense, since both of these things are supposed to be guides for how to live a good and just life for the sake of others. Be a good neighbor, be a good friend. Also, as has been pointed out, these parallels can be drawn with just about any religion or belief structure that teaches altruism, love for others, and respect for life. I do think it's cool how FiM manages to get the lessons worked into the shows plots so well while still being entertaining. It makes it not sound preachy when Twilight/Somepony writes the letter at the end.

Well put. I'm always excited to find out what new lesson ponies provides. I guess I don't usually end up learning anything, but it puts a new perspective on it or perhaps simply reminds me.

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I think episode 1 and 2 are loaded with biblical stuff. Being trapped for 1000 years, like the Devil will be during the Milleneum. Darkness, usually simbolizing evil, being defeated by light, the rainbow. Magic, being the faith that with God anything is possible. Love, as in the friendship. Forgiveness by death, which Luna asked for forgiveness when her evil side died. Celebrating becoming a new person, baptism.

Speaking of which, the ponies celebrated Luna's return, but acted scared in Luna eclipsed.

Off topic.

When Jesus was crucified, he was scared, like the six were going into the forest. They faced "trials and tribulations" and Pinkie was perfect for executing the "even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil" or giggle at the ghoolies. Fluttershy did the "love your enemies" thing. Then, the devil was defeated, like Luna was.

And this all just from the first two episodes!

Here's a PMV I made from episode two to try to make my point.

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