The Religious Diversity Film Festival

All ages

Watch movies together on occasion that include themes from various religious traditions. We're not talking about heavy-handed films that treat religion with kid gloves, but the many entertaining and enlightening films that dig into the real essence of religion and culture—both positive and negative. As your children give their opinions about the religious ideas given in the movie, you can begin a dialogue.

Some suggestions for movies exploring religious themes:

• Heaven Can Wait (PG): Comedy about a football player who dies and claims it is a mistake. Ages 7+.

• Oh, God! (PG): Comedy with George Burns playing God. A supermarket manager claims he talks with God. Ages 7+.

• Little Buddha (PG): Tibetan monks believe that an American boy is the next reincarnation of the Buddha. Good introduction to Buddhism for elementary children. Ages 7+.

• Jesus Christ Superstar (G): A subversive musical takes on the story of Jesus: no miracles or resurrection depicted, and Judas is the hero! Ages 7+.

• Fiddler on the Roof (G): The musical story of a family of Russian Jews, their life, trials, and traditions. All ages.

• The Ten Commandments (G): Somewhat dated but classic movie on the creation of the Ten Commandments. Many parents question the rating due to the scene in which infants are slain by the fog-like Angel of Death. Ages 11+.

• Bruce Almighty (PG-13): Bruce Almighty becomes disillusioned with God and struggles with what is divine. Ages 11+.

• Romero (PG-13): The life of an activist priest. Ages 11+.

• Gandhi (PG): The life and times of a great leader. Ages 11+ (primarily due to length).

• Jesus Camp (PG-13): A disturbing look at how an evangelical group indoctrinates young children at a summer camp. Ages 12+.

• Schindler's List (R): The efforts of one man to save a group of Jews during the Holocaust. For older youth and young adults. Ages 14+.

(See Appendix I for a more extensive list of films to encourage religious literacy.)

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