Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Adult Coloring Craze

Okay, I admit it. Way before it was vogue for adults to color pictures, I colored. I have always colored. I color while on the phone. I doodle in church—black and white, but with many tints of gray. I grab whatever colors are at hand and make all kinds of works of art. I’ve even been caught coloring with my Sunday school children. (It’s my way of motivating them to color—and a great excuse.)

So, it doesn’t surprise me one bit that someone started making coloring books for adults. In an airport bookstore, I saw quite a variety of them. One was Calming Coloring or some such title. Another depicted nature scenes with animals. Yet another adult coloring book was a collection of Mandalas. On Pinterest, I’ve seen paisleys, Zentangles, 1960’s designs, and much more—all for the “mature” colorer.

Those who do it make these comments: “Relaxing.” “Calming.” “It helps my nerves.”

Some share their results on Facebook. Others are closet colorers. Somehow, though, the little kid in us really wants to do this.
. . . And, now it’s mainstream!

But, there’s something behind the adult coloring books 
you might not realize: the “stress relieving” designs 
might not be good for you.

Let’s start with Zentangles. “True Zentangles are always created on 3.5 inch (8.9 cm) square tiles, and they are always done in black ink on white paper. . . . The Zentangle Method requires utmost focus . . . . The Zentangle Method is a ceremony. Since a Zentangle deserves the artist’s utmost attention, it should be created in a quiet place where focus and reverence can be achieved. The paper and pens used should be of the highest quality.”1  What does this sound like to you? It sounds religious. It is. Zen is “a Japanese sect of Mahayana Buddhism that aims at enlightenment by direct intuition through meditation.”2 (Bold words in original source.)

A while ago, I did a blog about yoga and its Buddhist origins. (You can read it here.) While doing the research, I stumbled upon mandalas. I was surprised! Here’s the Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s definition of a mandala: “1. A Hindu or Buddhist graphic symbol of the universe; specifically: a circle enclosing a square with a deity on each side that is used chiefly as an aid to meditation. 2. A graphic and often symbolic pattern usually in the form of a circle divided into four separate sections or bearing a multiple projection of an image.”

Psychedelic art is “any art of visual displays inspired by psychedelic experiences and hallucinations known to follow the ingestion of psychoactive drugs, such as LSD.”3

Q. So, what do these definitions have to do with adult coloring books?
A. The designs in some of the books are actually practicing tenets of false religions (Buddhism and Hinduism). Some designs are inspired by being tripped out on drugs. Some of the calming effects one gets from coloring mandalas, for example, might come from the wrong source, the devil. Just as yoga and meditation and relaxation might produce a calm, they are also meditative and mind-altering by design. This is true for mandalas and Zentangles.

Q. So, are any of the adult coloring books okay?
A. Of course. You can do designs like paisleys, doodles, geometrics, flowers, and checks. You can color detailed nature scenes and stories. Just steer clear of those with false religious overtones. (I’ve actually seen one book that features flowers and Bible verses! It would be wonderful.)

Q. What is a Scriptural guideline for discernment about adult coloring books?
A. While the Bible doesn’t say, “Thou shalt not color mandalas or Zentangles,” God doesn’t want Christians to put anything before Him. One of the Ten Commandments is, Thou shalt have no other gods before me (Exodus 20:3, Deuteronomy 5:7). Any act that’s associated with worshiping another god doesn’t please the Lord. Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them (Deuteronomy 11:16). Jesus said, It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve (Matthew 4:10b).

Q. I had no idea that these designs had any meaning at all. Will God judge me for coloring them?
A. I don’t think so. You didn’t know there was a problem with them. But, now that you know, it’s important to please God in your choices from now on.

Q. How can I steer clear of these subtle kinds of issues in the future?
A. 1. Ask God for wisdom and discernment. He’ll give it to you. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him (James 1:5).
     2. Do a little bit of research. Google the definitions of new words. Do more research, as needed.

Q. Your conclusion?
A. Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do (even coloring!), do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

I welcome your comments and thoughts.


2. Merriam-Webster Dictionary
3. Wikipedia


  1. I love coloring, and bought a coloring book for each of my big kids for Christmas, and one for me! Did not know about the religious context though and will be more on my guard. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I'm a long time color/doodle person, but had no idea about the religious undertones in some of them! Thank you for letting us know!

    1. I only understood it after my research. Thank you, Shellee, for your comment.


Please share your thoughts.