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TV REVIEWS

How Children Look at 'God' and Faith

December 21, 1996|LYNNE HEFFLEY

He's stronger than Mike Tyson, he gets his clothes at the Big and Tall store and he gets bored with the same old people--that's how some kids see the Almighty in HBO's "How Do You Spell God?," a moving mix of animation and live action that emphasizes not the differences that divide us but the commonality that connects us.

Inspired by the book by Rabbi Marc Gellman and Msgr. Thomas Hartman, the uplifting special features many thoughtful young children--Muslims, Christians, Jews and members of other religions, plus a few agnostics--talking about their visions of God, life, death, heaven and sin. They express their faiths and puzzlements, grappling with the same questions and contradictions as their elders.

The difference, they agree, is that adults fight about religion; "kids don't."

Some of the children have cancer. They speak of a faith that keeps them going or they question why God lets them suffer when they have done nothing "bad." Their drawings and stories are featured in animation.

Interspersed throughout is "The Tale of the Watch," a cartoon featuring the rabbi, the monsignor and a Buddhist monk in a harmonious illustration of belief, as each finds a lesson of faith in a pocket watch.

* "How Do You Spell God?" airs at 7:30 p.m. Sunday on HBO, with repeats Wednesday, Friday and Dec. 31.

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