Thursday, May 6, 2010

Christianity: Not appropriate for children.

There's a Baptist church a few blocks from my house that we drive past pretty frequently. A couple of years ago when my oldest son was first learning his letters, he would point at the cross on the church's sign and say, "T!" Dad and I thought it was cute and let it go at that.

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.


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  1. I like the wonderment of children. Religion in the grand sense has been an establishment of control. Some of us in the masses need control so it serves a function, but I think it is good to wait. I saw this family on an American news channel last night and they are crazy. Not just "baby-cooking" crazy but filled with hate crazy. They go to the funerals of American KIA's and spout their crazy. They are a religious sect that hates the Homosexual, Jews, and everyone that is not them. Can't recall the name of that family, but I think they live in Talihasse? not sure. I say let your son be a wonderment child for as long as you can. Peace

  2. I still remember the first time I saw a crucifix. I was about four years old, and I'd seen many crosses but never a crucifix. Most of my family was Protestant, but my great-aunt was Catholic and had one on her wall. I asked what it was, and somebody explained it to me. I was terribly shocked that someone had hurt Jesus like that.

  3. I think you’re talking about Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church. They have a website called

    There really despicable, yet they can tell you every biblical passage that supports there radical view points. I’m just glad that they don’t take the parts about killing people as literally as they do some of the other passages that they use to justify themselves.

  4. Good idea, not to tell him about it, yet. Eventually you have to, of course... And this world still isn't roses and moonshine, unfortunately, so there'll be a lot more things to explain. But not yet, not yet...

  5. You're forgetting that the crucifixion story in your own head probably still feels very real and palpable and full of gravity to you. To your son, it's just another crazy made-up story, and it might become more that to you while you're telling it.

  6. When I was 4, our teacher told us about Noah and the flood. Then she asked us to make a draw representing that story. As it involved the death of all living beings on earth except a few, most of us happily made disturbing drawings in which a bunch of people and animals dying by drowning, trying desperately to get on Noah's boat, while a very angry God throws more water on them. Our shocked parents went to school the next day and asked Mrs. Milagrosa to teach us about baby Jesus instead. lol.

  7. While I guess I can see your point (now, because of age), I think at some point, he needs to know because it's part of America's "culture".

  8. Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" didn't get a hard R rating for nothing, after all.

    If the MPAA ratings board has any say in the matter, it would appear the Christian story of Christ's last hours require minimum age requirement is 17 yrs. old and above.

    Sorry kiddies... no popcorn for you!

  9. Good for you. I don't think that is something my (young) children need to know. I wouldn't tell them about the beating of Rodney King or the Assassination of JFK either. That's just not a need to know for small child. Unless my kids ask me I will probably never tell them that fairy tale.

  10. I'm with you. I was raised in a Baptist church myself, and I really don't think it's appropriate. I don't have as much of a problem letting my kids see naked people as much as I worry about them seeing violence. Christianity definitely has some violent themes in its mythology.

    I worried about how I was going to raise my children to *not* be Christians. Now that my daughter is four, I can't imagine taking her to church, and I am sooooo glad to be away from all that.

  11. Yesterday my 7-year old son asked me if Jesus was alive... lol. That was a fun one to answer. As I was trying to explain what Christians believe, it made no sense to me... Jesus died. His body came back. Then what happened to it? If he lives in a spirit world, why would he need a physical body? Haha.

  12. You're forgetting that the crucifixion story in your own head probably still feels very real and palpable and full of gravity to you. To your son, it's just another crazy made-up story, and it might become more that to you while you're telling it.

  13. Kids don't need knowledge of the cross, they already have Christ. It's adults that need to find God at His cross. So let us not think that we  have come to a knowledge of a Truth barred from kids, but have not allowed this Truth to set us free!


Religion, skepticism, and carving out a spiritual life post-Mormonism