God and the Imagination of Children
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
02-06-2015, 07:24 AM (This post was last modified: 02-06-2015 08:19 AM by Mr. Boston.)
God and the Imagination of Children
This morning at 6:45 as I was taking my shower, assuming I was the only one awake in the house, I heard a gentle knock on the door then this happened:

Ben (who is 4 years old): Daddy?

Me: Yeah?

Ben: (sounding a little scared) I had a dream about angels.

Me: Oh really?

Ben: Uh huh. When you come out can you make me a jelly sandwich and build me an angel house?

Me: Yes on the sandwich, but how do you build an angel house?

Ben: With wood and nails, so we can put it in my room and catch an angel.

Me: ok, but what should we use for bait?

Ben: I don't know, but I want an angel to tell me stories at night, and we can put a nest in his house so he can lay eggs.

(At this point I got out of the shower)

So I'm an atheist, my wife's agnostic or maybe deist - at least she doesn't cleave to any specific dogma. Point being neither of us have ever talked to him about angels but clearly he's piecing together things he's heard and imagined. I don't think he's quite old enough yet for "the talk" about god(s), the supernatural, etc. For now we just want to let his imagination run wild. I told him I'd help him build an angel house this weekend but that he shouldn't be too disappointed if he doesn't catch any Big Grin

But this exchange got me thinking, lots of religious dogma, Christian and Catholic more specifically, sounds an awful lot to me like 2000 years' worth of adults talking to 4-year-olds through the bathroom door, just to get them to a point where they can "buy" the story in the short term so the adult can then finish rinsing his hair and get out and make breakfast. So many of the ideas like the triune god, the flood, original sin and the talking snake, really seem to me like they were road-tested on a pre-schooler like "well would you believe Lot's wife turned into a stone? Well how about a pillar of salt?"

So if there's a "point" to this at all it's that I think it's really tragic that religions seize on the natural curiosity and imagination of children to reinforce their utterly outlandish ideas. They know full well that most 20-year-olds who'd never heard the fairy tales before would laugh their ass off if asked to believe them as true, so they harpoon children with this bullshit while they're still to young to grasp the difference between reality and make-believe. In a perfect world it would be science that would show up first to the party and nourish kids' sense of wonder and amazement about the natural universe.

/end rant
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 5 users Like Mr. Boston's post
02-06-2015, 07:42 AM
RE: God and the Imagination of Children
(02-06-2015 07:24 AM)Mr. Boston Wrote:  This morning at 6:45 as I was taking my shower, assuming I was the only one awake in the house, I heard a gentle knock on the door then this happened:

Ben (who is 4 years old): Daddy?

Me: Yeah?

Ben: (sounding a little scared) I had a dream about angels.

Me: Oh really?

Ben: Uh huh. When you come out can you make me a jelly sandwich and build me an angel house?

Me: Yes on the sandwich, but how do you build an angel house?

Ben: With wood and nails, so we can put it in my room and catch an angel.

Me: ok, but what should we use for bait?

Ben: I don't know, but I want an angel to tell me stories at night, and we can put a nest in his house so he can lay eggs.

(At this point I got out of the shower)

So I'm an atheist, my wife's agnostic or maybe deist - at least she doesn't cleave to any specific dogma. Point being neither of us have ever talked to him about angels but clearly he's piecing together things he's heard and imagined. I don't think he's quite old enough yet for "the talk" about god(s), the supernatural, etc. For now we just want to let his imagination run wild. I told I'd help him build an angel house this weekend but that he shouldn't be too disappointed if he doesn't catch any Big Grin

But this exchange got me thinking, lots of religious dogma, Christian and Catholic more specifically, sounds an awful lot to me like 2000 years' worth of adults talking to 4-year-olds through the bathroom door, just to get them to a point where they can "buy" the story in the short term so the adult can then finish rinsing his hair and get out and make breakfast. So much of the ideas like the triune god, the flood, original sin and the talking snake, really seem to me like they were road-tested on a pre-schooler like "well would you believe Lot's wife turned into a stone? Well how about a pillar of salt?"

So if there's a "point" to this at all it's that I think it's really tragic that religions seize on the natural curiosity and imagination of children to reinforce their utterly outlandish ideas. They know full well that most 20-year-olds who'd never heard the fairy tales before would laugh their ass off if asked to believe them as true, so they harpoon children with this bullshit while they're still to young to grasp the difference between reality and make-believe.

/end rant

That is a really cute story Smile Maybe you could use jelly sandwiches as bait to catch the angels Tongue

I agree with all of your points. I also think kids hear things from other kids or tv, movies etc. and their imaginations start to run wild. I posted a video on here awhile back about Kent Hovind indoctrinating young children. The children were listening intently to his talk about dinosaurs and people living together like the Flintstones. He was basically telling them not to believe anything they heard in school--that he was telling them the truth. At the end of his "talk" he gave tips to the kids on how to convert children who were nonbelievers. He also added in threats of hell for good measure.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
02-06-2015, 07:49 AM
RE: God and the Imagination of Children
The great thing about it, and the reason I didn't nip his little sense of wonder in the bud, is that he's day-dreaming about something fantastical but he's going about it scientifically. Sure, it's an egg-laying angel he's trying to catch, but he's thinking about the design of the structure, experimenting with different types of bait. He seems to think jelly beans are a good first attempt. Odds are good he'll have forgotten all about it by the weekend, but I can't help but see his quest to catch an angel as his attempt to get PROOF. He has a hypothesis that angels sing songs and lay eggs. Sure, it's a doozy. But he's devising experiments to investigate it.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Mr. Boston's post
02-06-2015, 07:50 AM
RE: God and the Imagination of Children
Just some thoughts not necessarily about your case. I try to avoid quashing similar musings in my children. I think it is good for them to think about these subjects and let their imaginations run a little wild. I'm ready to answer questions when they are asked but I'm happy not to push things on them. A child of four, or six as my youngest is, is neither theist or atheist and I think it is wrong encourage self identification in this area at that age.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Hafnof's post
02-06-2015, 07:53 AM
RE: God and the Imagination of Children
it reminded me of the video of Dale McGowan I saw on youtube regarding his son and Santa Claus. He let him go thru all the motions and in the end the child figures out that it just cant be true.

have fun, ask specific questions, what is the angels favorite color? how does he know that? etc.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Bows and Arrows's post
02-06-2015, 07:54 AM (This post was last modified: 02-06-2015 08:05 AM by Mr. Boston.)
RE: God and the Imagination of Children
(02-06-2015 07:50 AM)Hafnof Wrote:  Just some thoughts not necessarily about your case. I try to avoid quashing similar musings in my children. I think it is good for them to think about these subjects and let their imaginations run a little wild. I'm ready to answer questions when they are asked but I'm happy not to push things on them. A child of four, or six as my youngest is, is neither theist or atheist and I think it is wrong encourage self identification in this area at that age.

To me, these daydreams and imaginative play are sort of early logic exercises for him, and I'm absolutely fine with a 4-year-old having "then magic stuff happens" as one of the steps in his logic exercises, lol. If he's 14 and still relying on magic to explain his worldview, I'll weigh in with my opinion but still won't insist that he agree with me. He's a smart kid, I'm not worried.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Mr. Boston's post
02-06-2015, 10:04 AM
RE: God and the Imagination of Children
Put a blow-up doll in the house. We all know that god's sons can't resist beautiful women (Genesis 6).

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
- Paul Dirac
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 3 users Like The Organic Chemist's post
02-06-2015, 10:19 AM
RE: God and the Imagination of Children
I like the story as well. I wish I could say I had some that were that cute. I have two boys ages 6 and 3. I have a story that isn't so cute though and it just happened this past weekend.

My 6 year old was reading through Samson on his "Kids Bible App, again." First of all I find it hypocritical that the writers of this app (Lifechurch.tv) do not include every aspect of the story. Left out are important issues such as, Sampson killing 1000 Philistines with the jaw bone of an ass, catching and tying 300 foxes together by their tails and burning the fields with them, making a bet with the Philistines, losing the bet and then killing 30 more people to get the clothes to pay his debt, etc. However, the end of the story does have Sampson going into the Philistine temple / church, pushing down the pillars and killing over 3000 people.

Hmmm. As my son was reading through this story with my wife and got the end I engaged him and told him about the aspects that were left out of the overall story.

My wife was pissed. She said he is way to young to hear about that stuff. ......

Wait, what the f*ck??? You just let him read that he killed 3,000 people and he's too young to hear that he killed another 1000 along with many foxes? So THAT is where the line is crossed? To top it off my son looks at my wife and says, He was a great man wasn't he? And she said yes, of course......

wait...what the f*ck???? A great man? (i'm not even positing that the story is a myth at this point). So I said, if an Islamist walked into a church of 3,000 people on a Sunday morning and blew it up, killing everyone in there, what we he be considered? She answered...A horrible person. I responded, a terrorist, that man is a terrorist!! Ok, then how is Samson any different?

Her answer, why do you hate god so much? SMH....somebody just stick a pick axe in my brain please. The rabbit hole is way too deep on this one....*sigh*

**Crickets** -- God
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Tonechaser77's post
02-06-2015, 11:50 AM
God and the Imagination of Children
Your little spawn is being cute and inquisitive. I knew an adult who had plans to trap an angel and steal its power.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
02-06-2015, 07:03 PM
RE: God and the Imagination of Children
Jokes on you if he actually catches one.

[Image: oscar.png]
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes earmuffs's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: