I had a very interesting experience. My best friend is a Catholic, when we meet up we always talk about religion and politics etc etc. I am very close to his family his parents and his wife are also practicing Catholics. His brother is a atheist. They are all very liberal, baptist hating, ACLU members. I have always found the discussions heated and invigorating and we are still friends at the end. No one takes things personally.
So I am over at his parents house for the evening talking with my friends mother. His wife walks in the room and sits down beside me. The conversation is about indoctrinating children. Imagine my surprise when I bring up Santa Claus, and they act like I just punched a baby. I do not know how this subject is so personal. I believe the direct quote i received was "you can talk about Jesus all you want but leave santa claus out of it."
Two days later I am at my grandmas house with my family and extended family there are about 30 people there because my cousin is being deployed. I bring up this subject with my uncle about lying to children about santa claus. My uncle is as much a militant atheist as anyone i know tell me that he does think its harmful and dismisses my claim.
Ok am I being a dick? I find it very difficult to knowingly mislead children. Children expect you to teach them, they expect you to pass on what you know. Does anyone have any thoughts?
Right, even if there is no harm in it. The children still expect you to teach them, they are trusting of authority. Is it not an abuse of that authority to mislead them, rather than asking them if they would like to know the truth.
I find it very difficult to justifying "protecting people from the truth" for there own good.
Children expect no such thing. You're not a parent, are you? As a matter of fact, as any parent will tell you, they don't enter the world as students expecting to be taught.
I once had an employer who had a son who was eight years old and still believed in Santa. I was asked me not to expose the lie which was quite difficult for me, fortunately the boy went on to become a wonderful skeptic and athiest. Santa should serve as lesson in skepticism for growing children.
My point exactly, though that is a rather humorously extreme example.
As I pointed out above, my niece was still 11 and still believed in santa. Her mother thought it was still cute and wouldn't tell her. She did finally figure it out because my other niece who is 12 told her one day.
The 11 year old was being home-schooled, then. I can't comprehend how an 11 year old in public school, or even in a private school, could believe that for so long.
Yes, you're being dick. All the nonsense atheists say about never lying to children should not apply. In fact, it can be their first lesson, once they discover that SC doesn't exist, to be more critical of what they hear. There's nothing sinister about letting young children participate in the Santa Claus thing that so many of their friends are talking about. They can learn about becoming alienated from the world around them due to what they believe later on when their psyches are stronger.
"They can learn about becoming alienated from the world around them due to what they believe later on when their psyches are stronger."
I would think best a parent put responsibility on external factors (i.e. Santa) in the early days, otherwise the natural selfish greed of a child might become overwhelming.
Turn everything into yes/no right/wrong black/white and there is no magic. And whilst magic might not exist per se, it does add colour to our lives.
So I can use that same argument to tell children that jesus is real?