Originally Posted by Ravin
Seeing as I'm a Heathen, I actually consider mythical and folk figures such as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy to be quite as real and legitimate as the Gods, House-wights, land-spirits, etc...
Of course, many of the things you believe in as a Christian I don't and will not teach my child to believe in them, either. Like eternal damnation, original sin, or that animals have no souls.
Neither of us is lying to our kids. We are both passing on our religious/spiritual beliefs and traditions in the way we see fit. Which is as it should be.
I was starting to wonder if I should even start typing. When we discuss 'not lying' to our children we should take into account what we consider lying. Telling our children that A exists and B,C and D do not exist as a matter of fact simply because we believe this or that could be considered stretching the truth.
Here is an example: a strict atheist decides they will not 'lie' to their child by telling them that heaven exists. Heaven for them is a lie, a non-truth. Of course, many many people in nearly all religious traditions believe that there is life after physical death (whatever that maybe). For them, heaven is real. They haven't been there, haven't seen it, can't touch it-- but they 'know' it’s real.
Now, a Christian parent decides they will not 'lie' to their children and tell them there are no such things as fairies, for example. But many native- European traditions believe very strongly that fairies do exist. Not many people have seen them, can't really touch them, etc. But they 'know' they're real.
What I am getting at-- is that if we are going to make a point to be truly honest with our children we need to be honest with ourselves. A Christian parent can explain to a 7-8 yo (in terms of child development that is a good age to distinguish between reality and fantasy) that their religion began in the Middle East and Northern Africa. The bible was written by many people over thousands of years and was collected into the book we call the Bible. Of course, it is important to explain what you believe about the history, the meaning etc. But to be completely honest with your child they need to understand that different people believe in different things—not that a group of people lie to each other about A or B. How judgmental is it for one parent to say, “Those people believe that there are such things as D, but it’s a lie, and I won’t lie to you. Now, this man can walk on water, which is the truth.”
All religions are part mythology, part faith, part practice. Regardless of what religion or spirituality we believe in, we should-- in the spirit of honesty to our children-- let them know that even our own beliefs are considered mythology to others, but that for us they feel true (and this would be a wonderful opportunity to explain why you feel the way you do about your religious beliefs.)
When it comes to spiritual and religious beliefs we should be careful when using words like ‘lie’. That will only set a child up for a life of judging other people’s beliefs, and says a lot about how we as adults are judgmental of different beliefs.
*okay I am stepping off the soap box!*