"What is God?"
a review of the book by Etan Boritzer

Editor's Update (February 2000): Since the original article was written in 1993, Etan Boritzer has since become a best selling author, with numerous reprints. In addition other related titles have been published, including: What is Love? and What is Death? A quick search of the web shows that many New Age organizations and Wiccans (witches) now directly promote this book. The same truths are still at stake, and this article remains unchanged. At the conclusion, we have added publisher contact information that has often been requested.

Moyers, who call themselves "The Teachers' Store" where "Kids Are Worth It!", is distributing an "educational" book entitled "What is God?" We thought you should know that this book doesn't just ask the question, it also answers it. Under the guise of pluralism, this illustrated book pretends to evaluate all the religious perspectives and answers to the question "What is God?" Opening statements include:

Maybe we can't really talk about God
Because maybe we can't see God

continuing a few lines later the reader is assured:

Maybe we can only feel God
Like we can feel love
Or like we can feel happy or sad.

The next page speculates:

Maybe God is what you feel

The following pages have the author taking you through a number of religious concepts of God, from Sun worship to the old man in the sky concept, before leading into a discussion on "religious teachers":

Some people think that there are teachers,
Who have been able to solve the puzzle
"What is God?"

Continuing on the next page:

Some of these teachers still live today
But most of the great teachers lived long ago

Following a few paragraphs discussing the formation of religions and the generational transmission of oral traditions, we are given a brief overview of some major religions:

People of the Christian religion
Understand God as the teacher Jesus Christ
Taught them about God.

People of the Muslim religion
Understand God as the teacher Mohammed
Taught them about God.

After talking about the Buddhist religion, the book suggests that reading various "Holy Books" is a good way to begin to "understand God." Books recommended include (in equality): the Bible, Koran, Torah, Sutras, and the Vedas. Now that the different books have been discussed, we are told that it's people who "start fights" over religion:

Because they don't understand that
Most religions are almost the same!

Not surprisingly, the next page states that all these religions just teach moral goodness. Taking a big leap in thought, the book then speaks of praying as "a way to try to talk to God."

But wait!
We have only talked about the big religions.
There are many people who believe
That there are many Gods,
Not just one God.

Shortly after this brush with New Age pantheism, this children's book goes for the big one. Sample the next progression:

There are many ways to talk about God.
Does that mean that everything
That everybody ever says about God is right?
Does that mean that God is everything?
Yes! God is everything great and small!
God is everything far away and near!
God is everything bright and dark! (Check 1 John 1:5)
And God is everything in between!

Read it again. Logic like this could associate Hitler with Paul the Apostle -- yet the writer knows that children will buy this. Have you followed the overall picture so far. First there was pluralism (all religions are equal and ultimately the same), then pantheism (many Gods), and then Monism (all is God). Now in case any of the children missed the ultimate New Age implication of "everything is God", the bottom line is later spelled out clearly:

If everything is God,
Then I am God,
You are God,
All of us are God!

And now that the children have been assured that they are God, they are instructed in how to pray to themselves:

So when we pray to God,
When people of all religions pray to God,
We are really praying for that feeling,
The feeling which connects all of us.

If you can feel that feeling of God,
And everybody else can feel that feeling of God,
Then we can all become friends together,
And we can really understand,
"What is God?"

Since New Agers are generally more interested in feelings and experiences, you will have noticed much emphasis on these. A later paragraph continues on to tell the children how to "listen to your breath go slowly in and out," while praying (or should they say "New Age meditation"). Is this what we want our children to be reading and believing? Is this book in your school library, classroom, or teachers program? For the sake of our children, it's time we started to find out and speak out -- and remember to pray. We need more "soldiers of the cross" in this spiritual battle; where souls are at stake.

Excerpts from What Is God? by Etan Boritzer (c) 1990, 2nd reprint 1992, Canadian edition.

For those trying to contact the author, I would try going through the publisher. This was the contact information on the book that I have...

Firefly Books Ltd., 250 Sparks Avenue, Willowdale, ON, Canada M2H 2S4

Their release information about it...

Format: Paperback, 32pp.
ISBN: 0920668887
Publisher: Firefly Books LTD.
Pub. Date: March 1991
Recommend Age Range: 6 to 12

A 2000 search on the web showed this address, it may be more up to date than the one above.

3680 Victoria Park Avenue
Toronto Ontario Canada M2H 3K1
Phone: 416-499-8412

I expect that it was released by their American publisher as well, you might try...

 Firefly Books Ltd
(212) 696-1676
230 5th Ave, New York NY 10001

Regarding any school that would use this book: the very argument that many are using to keep Christianity out of the classroom ("you can't teach religion") should keep this book from it as well. Though under the guise of supposedly teaching about many different religions, this book IS teaching a specific religion: Pantheism!