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Berenstain Bears Get Religion

Last week, I was at my parent’s house and my mother bought a Berenstain Bears book for my 2 and a half year old son. She remembered that I used to enjoy those books when I was young. However, upon reading it to my son, my mother noticed that it was full of Jesus talk.

Interestingly enough, a week earlier, my wife discovered the same thing when she had to do some work involving the Berenstain Bears. She also remembered the books when she was young and was certain that they were not religious when we were growing up; so I had to find out when and why this child book series became religious propaganda.

The books series was created by Stan and Jan Berenstain. Stan was Jewish and Jan was Christian, but it seemed that neither were particularly religious and religion was not part of the book series at all. However, as they got older they let their son Michael work on the books. He eventually took over the series completely and on a side note also became a born again Christian during adulthood. So guess what this douchebag did? Yup, he pushed his religion into the book series.

This really pisses me off. This is why we need to have more books out there that support science and critical thinking for young kinds. Aside from Curious George (which my son loves) there really isn’t that much out there. There certainly isn’t anything which encourages kids to question religious and/or superstitious claims. I know Dawkins is coming out with a book, but let’s face facts here. That is not going to be read by the general public; it is only going to be read by vocal atheists.

I guess the point of today’s blog is to let everyone know that the Berenstain Bears is religious propaganda and to say that Michael Berenstain is a giant douchebag for ruining my childhood. Fuck you Michael!

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  • Doubting Thomas

    here here. Well I appreciate freedom of speech and religion Stan and Jan just rolled over in their grave. What a disgrace.

  • Laureli

    Check out these finnish characters, Tatu and Patu, some of their books have already been translated into english. I don’t have children, but those books are brilliant, and scientific!
    http://www.finlit.fi/booksfromfinland/108/rye_bread.html

  • http://1minionsopinion.wordpress.com/ 1minion

    I wrote about this in 2008. I, too, was miffed to discover fond characters getting a godly reboot. I thought the originals were fine with a decent morality that fit both religious and secular upbringing. To see them have to be Christian bears is bothersome.

  • Michael Rosch

    Staks, did you bring the book back with you or is it still at mom and dads?

    • Anonymous

      I have it.

  • ultimate spork

    Jan shouldn’t be rolling over in her grave as she’s not dead yet.

  • Scott

    That’s despicable! Why would one want to be a born again Christian? With all the BS I saw on TYT last night with private prisons, riots, and other things related to the economic meltdown we are facing, that last thing we need is for some jackass to support the corruption by spread religion.

  • Stormegale77

    If you don’t like it…don’t read it. Censorship is wrong in either direction.

    • http://twitter.com/SPmilkshake apple milkshake

      “Censorship is wrong in either direction”

      Uh, not sure what you were reading but this is the comment section on Staks’ Berenstain Bears article. Or maybe you confuse criticism for censorship.

    • http://twitter.com/DangerousTalk Staks Rosch

      Stormegale, who said anything about censorship? Now, I don’t know about you, but I actually went down to Washington and personally lobbied senators against censorship. So i hear you, but no one here has suggested censoring anything.

  • http://twitter.com/SPmilkshake apple milkshake

    Have you seen How To Train Your Dragon? It’s such a young scientists’ movie.

    • http://twitter.com/DangerousTalk Staks Rosch

      I will now. Thanks for the suggestion. ;-)

  • Steve

    Most of the Berenstain Bears become public domain in about 46 years. If anybody still cares about this, they can make a book about the Bears loosing their religion then

    • http://twitter.com/DangerousTalk Staks Rosch

      I don’t think that is true. Jan Berenstain still owns the rights with her son, Michael.

  • Mike R

    I am glad to see you commented on this – I noticed this as well; I have children and my wife picked up a more recent Berenstain Bears book from the library. The plot was incoherent and awful and the religious BS so ham-handed and overbearing that we skimmed through it. I refuse to read my kids any preachy nonsense (the ultimate was a book about a scared spider so petrified of everything he had to constantly pray to and beg God for courage rather than do the sensible thing which is FIND IT IN HIMSELF to be brave) and was saddened to see the series twisted from that of funloving light morality to bible-thumping banality. Poor old Stan!

  • Mike R

    I am glad to see you commented on this – I noticed this as well; I have children and my wife picked up a more recent Berenstain Bears book from the library. The plot was incoherent and awful and the religious BS so ham-handed and overbearing that we skimmed through it. I refuse to read my kids any preachy nonsense (the ultimate was a book about a scared spider so petrified of everything he had to constantly pray to and beg God for courage rather than do the sensible thing which is FIND IT IN HIMSELF to be brave) and was saddened to see the series twisted from that of funloving light morality to bible-thumping banality. Poor old Stan!

  • Teramcl

    Thank you for this information! We have several of the old BB books but our latest purchase shocked me with a scripture (is that the term?) from the Bible. It was just the Golden Rule, which I subscribe to, but in Jesus terms. I was shocked and tried to paraphrase, but as soon as storytime was over, I simply HAD to find out what the hell happened to the old Bears!!!

  • Jordana

    I felt weird when I first came across that Living Lights Crap. My childhood…

  • Jordana

    I felt weird when I first came across that Living Lights crap. My childhood..

  • David

    You seem to have a lot of hate towards Christian’s. Why must everyone be forced to believe what you believe? Please stop pushing your beliefs on me.