We left the LDS church when this boy was about six months old. His exposure to religion since then has been minimal. I dabbled in Protestant churches off and on for a couple of years after leaving Mormonism and would sometimes take my son with me. He's been to churches for some weddings and funerals of extended family members. That's about it. We haven't "pushed" atheism on him (nor do we intend to), but our son is currently non-religious by default.
Last week, we were driving by aforementioned Baptist church when my son--who turns six next month--asked, "What does the 't' mean?"
"That means it's a church," I said.
"But 'church' starts with 'c-h'." Smart, that kid is.
"Well, the 't' is actually a cross and that means it's a Christian church. That means it's for people who believe in Jesus."
"Jesus died in Fargo?"
I couldn't help giggling at this, but I was also curious. We live in a heavily Christian part of the country and my son has Christian friends. I wondered what he may have heard. "What do you know about Jesus?" I asked.
"Nothing," he replied. (Though I can't be sure that's entirely accurate. "Nothing" is also his response to "What did you do at school today?")
I thought about telling him the Christian story, just so he knows what it's about and why Christian churches have crosses. But then I paused as I realized that this would involve telling him about a man who was whipped and beaten and then had nails driven through his hands and feet and hung on a cross for several agonizing hours before dying. Sure, I wouldn't go into that much detail, but it's kind of hard to explain the cross without explaining the crucifixion, which is brutal and graphic. My son is very sweet and gentle. I want to preserve that innocence a bit longer.
Nope, I think he's too young to hear about the crucifixion of Christ, just like I think he's too young for Batman or James Bond. Maybe when you're older, son.