By NEW HUMANIST
Added: Sat, 18 Jul 2009 23:00:00 UTC
What can humanist parents use in the battle against religious indoctrination? Danny Postel investigates
"Daddy, why did Jesus invent butterflies if they die after two weeks?"
I just about hit the panic button when my six-year-old son Theo put this question to me not long ago. His mother, who is a Christian, had taught him that Jesus was God. When Jesus's visage appears in a painting or on television, Theo sometimes exclaims, "That's God!" In his butterfly question he seemed to reason, syllogistically, that if Jesus was God, and God created the world and its life forms (butterflies being one of them), Jesus "invented" the winged creatures. Either that or God and Jesus are simply interchangeable in his mind.
"First, Theo, your question presumes that Jesus was God," I responded. "Many people, like mommy, believe he was, but many others don't. It also presumes that there is a God - we don't know for sure that there is." "I think there is," he retorted. "There may very well be a God, Theo. But not everyone agrees on that - there are many people who doubt there is a God. We might never know for sure if there is or not," I told him. "When we die we'll know," he came back. "Maybe," I said. "But maybe not."
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