We were watching the popular reality show “Survivor” Thursday night, when we saw something that made us think. This 15th season of Survivor is set in China, and on the first episode, all the contestants were led to a Buddhist temple and told to participate in a Buddhist ritual that, the host explained, was “not religious”. When all the other contestants, instructed by monks, began to bow down prostrate before the statue of the Buddha, Leslie, a Christian talk show host, refused, and left the temple in tears.
She explained on camera that she “was not religious, but had a relationship with Jesus”, and that the Bible forbids bowing down to other gods. When Jeff pressed her further she said, “Bowing down to Buddha sure felt like worship to me, and I will only bow before Jesus.”
Setting aside my possible admiration for a culture that honors obese men, I think she absolutely did the right thing by leaving the temple. Some might argue that even participating in a show like “Survivor” is compromising for a Christian, but I think the Bible is very clear on how God views bowing before idols.
For those who put “ceremonial” bowing in a different category, they might hang their hat on an interesting little passage in the Old Testament, where the prophet Elisha seems to give Naaman tacit permission to bow down ceremoniously before a false god when in the temple with his boss. You can read this in 2 Kings 5:18-19.
Watch the 4-minute clip, then tell us if you think Leslie did the right thing.