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Old 12-26-2004, 03:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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God vs. Santa

Thought:

God is a santa clause for adults. Just like kids who believe in santa and hear the songs that press that they will be rewarded with great gifts if they are good this year, adults who believe in god read the bible and go to church and are told that if they do good things and lead a charitable life, they will be rewarded with gods favor and a spot in heaven.
It seems to me like santa was made up partly with the intentions of attempting to alter childrens behavior with promises from a figure who does not exist. Now, looking at how wide spread christmas is celebrated, and the fact that santa is generally held to be considered a fairy tale, is it really that outrageous to say that god is another made up character used to alter peoples behavior with promise of reward after death?
The concept of good and evil is elementary. Through all the education i've had on world history and such, i've learned about many different cultures, who all have their own different religions. Every one of these religions are based on good and evil, if you're good, good things are in store, if your bad, bad things are in store, during life and after death. With all of these different religions, how can someone believe that their religion is fact and the others fiction? Considering all of the die hard believers in every other religion, who would rather die than utter the words that their god is nothing but a work of fiction.

These are some thoughts i've been pondering for a while, thought i'd see what you all think of them. I'm not trying to start any flames, i'm an objective thinker, open to any comments or eye openers.
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Old 12-26-2004, 04:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I agree there are some superficial similarities, but the similarities stop there. A much better case can be made for God than for Santa. For example, one of the better arguments for God these days is intelligent design. I was like six when I figured out that I didn't need Santa to explain where the presents came from on Christmas day.
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Old 12-26-2004, 05:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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One of my more trite obsessions this holiday season has been mentally transposing the letters "S-A-N-T-A" into "S-A-T-A-N" every time I encounter them. Go figure. But it gets my mind off of the first 16 notes of "Carol of the Bells" that it has been stuck on for more than a week now...
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Old 12-27-2004, 09:12 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The only difference between the two is that Santa can be verified false. Just travel to the North Pole and you will see he does not live there, hang out in a house with children and you will see the parents come down and lay out the presents, etc.

The various religions recognize this problem and deal with it by making god unverifiably true or false. They rely on vague notions of faith as the great answer to every question someone puts to them, and continually harp on the fact that "you can't prove god doesn't exist." Well, were the Santa Claus myth constructed in the same way you wouldn't be able to prove he doesn't exist either.

Imagine a Santa Claus that doesn't exist as matter in the same world we do, but once every year he makes a special trip to the houses of only those children he wants to give presents. He is invisible, and knows everything. Although it may appear that the parents are the ones actually giving the presents, you must recognize that Santa works in mysterious ways and they are actually possessed by the Santa spirit.
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Old 12-27-2004, 09:45 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I agree with Contrary's point. I believe that religion was created as a tool to rule over a population. Many early civilizations were theocracies or had a heavy influence of religion in them. The rulers of early nations did not have enough power to subdue a population, but a divine creator has the power to do anything. Fear of not receiving a pleasant afterlife or burning in hell is was what kept a population obeying the laws and respecting each other. Fear of not receiving Christmas presents keeps children obeying the rules and respecting other people. I think children can't always see the benefits of rules and how it helps everyone live peacefully together. I know without laws or religion the world would be a darker place, because many people wouldn't naturally act the way religion tells you to. Humans always need constant reminders of how to be kind and peaceful and to love each other. Religion is that reminder. Just my opinion. I’m Sorry if I offended anyone.
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Old 12-28-2004, 06:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Contrary
.
It seems to me like santa was made up partly with the intentions of attempting to alter childrens behavior with promises from a figure who does not exist. Now, looking at how wide spread christmas is celebrated, and the fact that santa is generally held to be considered a fairy tale, is it really that outrageous to say that god is another made up character used to alter peoples behavior with promise of reward after death?
I never thought of that before, hook 'em on Santa and reel 'em in with the Lord.
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Old 12-28-2004, 09:27 PM   #7 (permalink)
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the fact that the comparison is being made is a problem...

Santa is the diety of our making and control. Good and bad are simple, material rewards are what we think we need. It is a perfectly sanitized story, where nothing ever goes wrong.

God didn't show up with fireworks and toys. God showed up as a helpless child without a home. The first thing that someone gave the family was spices to bury him with.

doesn't sound much like santa to me.
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Old 12-29-2004, 11:55 AM   #8 (permalink)
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The good and evil that have and continue to be the foundations for societies, are I believe not one nor the either but simply peoples ideas about good and evil.

The existence of of these things, particularly evil, forces people to question the world around them. Nothing about Santa's nature forces people to question anything besides the reason we lie to our children and set ourselve broke for the new year.

People, and I am not speaking of myself, experience irrational revelations and 'mirraculous' happenings, and they often tend to relate these experiences to the divine. The same cannot be said for Santa. Certainly it can be argued that pschyzophrenics (?sp) see things, so maybe anyone who's had a revelation is pschyzophrenic, but I think the relatedness of revelations and the repetition of the same or near same message lends some sort of basis to these claims.

Besides that, 3 of the worlds major religions, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, are all very similar and descend from one man, Abraham. In the grand scheme of things the differences that religions fight and war over are much more the making of human greed and desire for power than anything else. In my view they're all quite compatible with one and the same ultimate deity, whatever that is.
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Old 12-29-2004, 01:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Interesting comparison, altough I think I'll refrain from discussing it with my christian friends

Anyway, personnaly, any entity, real or fake, that encourages good values has at the very least my respect, may it be a Santa or a God .
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Old 12-29-2004, 02:54 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Just like kids who believe in santa and hear the songs that press that they will be rewarded with great gifts if they are good this year, adults who believe in god read the bible and go to church and are told that if they do good things and lead a charitable life, they will be rewarded with gods favor and a spot in heaven.
I agree that the idea sounds plausible, but it falls short when being applied to Christianity. Salvation in Christianity is supposed to come through the grace of God by faith, not because of an individual's actions or how well they lived a moral life. IMHO, Christianity - and most every religion that I'm aware of - is far too complex an institution to make such an analogy work.
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Old 01-01-2005, 06:57 AM   #11 (permalink)
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The idea was that a character like santa would be suitable to influence a child, but not an adult. In order to affect an adult, you'd need something more meaningful, with more story behind it, that couldn't be proved false so easily.
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Old 01-03-2005, 08:19 AM   #12 (permalink)
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You also need a good amount of fear to go with all that.
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Old 01-04-2005, 08:21 AM   #13 (permalink)
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The catholic church states, that if people live a charitable life, go to church and read the bible etc etc they will be rewarded... according to the bible.

The protestant church states, that anyone who believes in Jesus Christ as the savior and messiah of the world, and repent all their known sins to God, all was, and will be forgiven through the blood of Christ from the crucifixl.... according to the bible.


yes both contradict each other... you figure out the rest.
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Old 01-04-2005, 11:25 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
The only difference between the two is that Santa can be verified false. Just travel to the North Pole and you will see he does not live there, hang out in a house with children and you will see the parents come down and lay out the presents, etc.
The Bible-based Christian God can be verified false just as easily -- just notice that the design of the world specified in the Bible isn't true. It took the Churches 100s of years to make up new mythos that works around this problem.

I think in many ways Religions generate similar effects in adults that Santa does in children.

"Evil" acts by children tend to be those where they think they can hide from the results of their acts, be it because the penalty is remote or because they think they can hide it from the source of punishment (parents).

Children who believe in Santa now have a source of punishment they can't hide from. And the punishment, while remote, is large and very important -- Christmas presents.

It encourages Children to think of their acts in the extremely long term and how their acts impact everyone else, by using Santa to mirror the results of their acts back onto their shoulders.

Major world religions encourage you to treat harm to others like harm to yourself, at least within the 'in' group of co-believers. The Bible even has a specific rule against charging interest in it -- treat harm and benefit tomorrow the same as harm and benefit today, ie think long term.

Now, the real theology of religions doesn't line up as well with Santa as does the naive theology of the masses of believers. While the religion may talk about 'salvation through faith' or 'reality is an illusion', it is the behaviour of the masses of practitioners, and how they view their religion, that parallels the Santa myth.

Bah, my apologies -- this isn't as well written as I'd like.
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Old 01-04-2005, 11:37 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by typhus
You also need a good amount of fear to go with all that.
can, and in some cases people do inject that fear.

but i hardly agree that it is necessary to make the Gospel revelant. i only returned to the church when i began to see the message outside of the fear and coercion that is tragically common in theology today.
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Old 01-05-2005, 03:38 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yakk
The Bible-based Christian God can be verified false just as easily -- just notice that the design of the world specified in the Bible isn't true. It took the Churches 100s of years to make up new mythos that works around this problem.

This I'd like to hear . . . The Bible-based Christan God can be verified false? Easily? Please do enlighten myself and the rest of the world on your findings.

(I'll post more later, I've got to go to work now.)
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Old 01-05-2005, 07:51 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I would think this "God " entity of Christian mythology, can only be proven false if the Bible is considered as fact, AND the word of God. Were this the case I could see a logical debunking of the entity as based in reality. Barring these criteria however, We are dealing with something far too vague to be "Proven" one way or another.

In My Opinion.
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Old 01-05-2005, 08:35 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tecoyah
I would think this "God " entity of Christian mythology, can only be proven false if the Bible is considered as fact, AND the word of God. Were this the case I could see a logical debunking of the entity as based in reality. Barring these criteria however, We are dealing with something far too vague to be "Proven" one way or another.

In My Opinion.
quite...some fundamentalists have placed the Bible in conflict fact. but outside that, i think you'll find most of the truth claims are afactual...that is to say outside of the realm of competence of science, etc...
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Old 01-05-2005, 08:49 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FailedEagle
This I'd like to hear . . . The Bible-based Christan God can be verified false? Easily? Please do enlighten myself and the rest of the world on your findings.

(I'll post more later, I've got to go to work now.)
The bible describes how the world is built.

Just like the santa claus myth describes how he lives at the north pole.

We can look at the north pole, and notice santa isn't there.

We can look at the world, and notice it isn't built how the bible says it is built.

Now, the churches based off the bible have built workarounds around this problem. Much like a workarounds of "santa's workshop is magic, you can't see it", or that "santa gives the gifts to children by putting the santa spirit into some parents".

God and Santa are just as impossible to refute.
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Old 01-05-2005, 09:07 AM   #20 (permalink)
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My question regarding the whole Santa vs. Jesus (God) thing is this:

Most North Americans are Christians, and they raise their children to belive in Santa Claus as well as God. Both God and Santa are benevolent spirits who care for the children and (in the broadest sense) reward them for being good and faithful. To a child's eyes both God and Santa amount to about the same thing.

The trouble arises when the child reaches the age of reason, usually 7-10 years old, and we pull the rug out from under them, "Hey sorry kid, the whole Santa thing was total bullshit. But that God fellow? Oh yeah, that part is rock solid."

WTF is a kid to think? Mommy and Daddy flat out lied about the whole Santa thing and yet they still expect me to belive in God.
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Old 01-05-2005, 10:02 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I take the Bible vebatium and the inspired word of God, therefore you now know the stance I take.

How does the Bible say that the world was built that in not in conjuncture with the "actual" way in which it came about? Notice actual is in quotes, that is because neither you, nor I, were there physically with the memory of what actually happened. The best we can do is hypothosize. But I will give you the floor and listen to what you have to say, hoping in the same regards you will do the same for me.
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Old 01-05-2005, 10:33 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Ok.....this is my two cents on about five people's responses.

Quote:
The bible describes how the world is built.

Just like the santa claus myth describes how he lives at the north pole.

We can look at the north pole, and notice santa isn't there.

We can look at the world, and notice it isn't built how the bible says it is built.
All fluff, no substance. Provide examples if you make the claim.

Quote:
The catholic church states, that if people live a charitable life, go to church and read the bible etc etc they will be rewarded... according to the bible.

The protestant church states, that anyone who believes in Jesus Christ as the savior and messiah of the world, and repent all their known sins to God, all was, and will be forgiven through the blood of Christ from the crucifixl.... according to the bible.

yes both contradict each other... you figure out the rest.
True, and there are far more points of doctrine that the two disagree on. My question becomes, and I mean this is the general, non-accusatorial sense, what do you say about it? Rather than looking at the statements of Catholics and Protestants, it would be more productive if people actually read the Bible and made their own decisions in the matter rather than having their beliefs spoon fed to them by preachers. I care less what the denominational teachings are and more about what individual people believe.

The use of fear to instill obedience unfortunately has been, and in some cases still is, a practice in use by mainstream religion. However, I do not think it is not required for obedience, and certainly not the best of options. This is somewhat related to the whole people-getting-spoon-fed-beliefs thing. Once people start to shut down their brains, they become very receptive to things that scare them. It works well when people are young and don't know any better (ie. Santa exists); to do it when people are older requires that they submit to the demagogery first.

Quote:
The trouble arises when the child reaches the age of reason, usually 7-10 years old, and we pull the rug out from under them, "Hey sorry kid, the whole Santa thing was total bullshit. But that God fellow? Oh yeah, that part is rock solid."

WTF is a kid to think? Mommy and Daddy flat out lied about the whole Santa thing and yet they still expect me to belive in God.
Yeah.....I know many religious parents who refuse to raise their kids and instill a belief in Santa because they would be lying to their children. I suspect that this issue is something where children should speak to their parents about why they did what they did in raising their kids, and why they believe that God is real. That's what children are supposed to do, right? Pressure their parents into providing answers as to why the world is the way it is?

To those who speak about debunking religion/Christianity/God.....the fundamental problem here is that the majority of humans have no reliable sense that extends into the spirit world. We might be able to attack the Bible and make some claim that it can't stand up against, but all that would prove is that the Bible has an error and that the God described in the Bible is not accurate. It would not prove that there is no God. In general, verifying anything as false is next to impossible because there's always the possibility that we haven't got the total picture. This goes more or less the same with Santa too. While we can go to the north pole and verify that Santa does not exist, it does not rule out that he has an underground operation near the Earth's core where gremlins assemble his presents, and he delivers them by supersonic jet. Of course, since people don't take Santa that seriously, we don't see claims like that.
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Old 01-05-2005, 12:46 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FailedEagle
I take the Bible vebatium and the inspired word of God, therefore you now know the stance I take.
[...]
But I will give you the floor and listen to what you have to say, hoping in the same regards you will do the same for me.
Having a discussion about how someone's faith is irrational is good for little except trolling and flame baiting, and it is not conductive to a polite and friendly board atmosphere.

I will cease to speak to you on this matter, hoping in the same regards you will do the same for me.

I forgot there where people for whom my statements where heresy. Typing them was impolite and unwise of me. My apologies to all involved.
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Old 01-05-2005, 01:06 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_marq
The trouble arises when the child reaches the age of reason, usually 7-10 years old, and we pull the rug out from under them, "Hey sorry kid, the whole Santa thing was total bullshit. But that God fellow? Oh yeah, that part is rock solid."

WTF is a kid to think? Mommy and Daddy flat out lied about the whole Santa thing and yet they still expect me to belive in God.
I don't know. It's been a long time ago but as I remember when as a child I learned that there was no Santa, I didn't stop trusting my parents. I just thought they were doing something to make me feel good like the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy.

These things didn't hold the same weight as religion. I didn't start questioning their (and my) beliefs until later in my teens when I began learning about all the other religions in the world.
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Old 01-05-2005, 03:03 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yakk
Having a discussion about how someone's faith is irrational is good for little except trolling and flame baiting, and it is not conductive to a polite and friendly board atmosphere.

I will cease to speak to you on this matter, hoping in the same regards you will do the same for me.

I forgot there where people for whom my statements where heresy. Typing them was impolite and unwise of me. My apologies to all involved.
fair enough . . . . I will say that it is more than possible to have intellectual conversations on message boards, I've had them. If, however you deem that this is not a possible venue, then we will cease. I have been around here long enough to know that the moderators are pretty good at nippin stuff in the butt before it becomes a flame war.

Anyways, my 2 cents.
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Old 01-06-2005, 12:11 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_marq
The trouble arises when the child reaches the age of reason, usually 7-10 years old, and we pull the rug out from under them, "Hey sorry kid, the whole Santa thing was total bullshit. But that God fellow? Oh yeah, that part is rock solid."

WTF is a kid to think? Mommy and Daddy flat out lied about the whole Santa thing and yet they still expect me to belive in God.
i dunno...i think it's a pretty hard step to say that parents shouldn't engage in fantasy play with their kids...it's one of the most awesome parts of being around kids, that they have a completely different sense of what is possible and what is not.

give them a little credit, tho. adults can be serious about something...and kids will pick up on it. one of the big problems i deal with in my work in childcare is separation anxiety. doesn't help at all that i'm a man, and they miss mommy, the concept of mommy...and all that goes with it.

when we say that "mommy ALWAYS comes back" they know they we're serious about it. when we're talk about barney...i think they get it that it's on a different level. if adults are serious about their faith commitments, then the kids are going to see that...and see the mercy lived out in their parents lives. nobody is going to have to tell them it's different than santa.
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Old 01-06-2005, 12:31 AM   #27 (permalink)
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I dont think we should bullshit our children. As far as the things they dont understand when they are young, they should be told the truth as to what happens, even though they will not understand it. Instead of giving them pre-fabricated stories like Santa, or even God, we should give them given truths.

I'm gonna totally agree with Contrary. God is Santa for adults, in a simplified comparitive sense. When kids dont understand something, they get a story like Santa Claus, or the Easter Bunny. When we dont understand something, we get a story like the Bible, the Koran, [insert holy book here], and God(s) to believe in.

The Easter Bunny thing always gets me too. So if you christians are so proud of your religion, and so sure its true, then why do you have your children celebrate the coming of the Easter Bunny and chocolate eggs and candy instead of the rebirth of your Lord?
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Old 01-10-2005, 05:38 AM   #28 (permalink)
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First of all, I like this thread (and board for that matter). I like how a seemingly silly topic is discussed in depth and with respect for other members, and it's not so silly after all. Kudos!

I think it is interesting that the idea of Santa originated from a religious person. Saint Nicolas (300 AD in present day Turkey) grew up poor but gave gifts to all those in need, especially children. At 17, he became a priest, and was eventually elevated to the status of bishop, who wears long flowing gown, white beard, red cape and miter hat. See the similarities? Only after the death of St Nicolas was he elevated to sainthood. I think the similarities between god and santa are apparent to us because they are both associated with the church and have the same sort of central theme: Be good and you shall be rewarded.

However, I don't think religion was originally formed to keep people down, rather to keep people up. Before truly civilized societies, when people had to fight the elements/nature on a daily basis, religion (belief in higher being) was formed to comfort and bring order to society. It was formed to create order in a chaotic and scary world (I think this a Freudian idea). I then think people realized the power that was vested in this system, and the stronger/ambitious/wiser individuals climbed up the hierarchal ladder to gain power, some of whom were corrupt. Thus the religion we know today.

It is a whole lot easier to believe that someone is out there watching us and protecting us rather than believe that we could perish as soon as we step out the front door.

MacGuyver: The problem giving our kids truths is that there are few that many people agree upon, and those that we can we don't want to tell to children. It is easier to provide comfort to a child (provide pre-fab stories) rather than tell them how the world is cold and dark and full of mean people who are out to get you.
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Old 01-12-2005, 07:49 PM   #29 (permalink)
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After you realize Santa isn't real you have to believe in something don't you God just seems to be the popular choice.
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Old 01-12-2005, 07:56 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BK1017
MacGuyver: The problem giving our kids truths is that there are few that many people agree upon, and those that we can we don't want to tell to children. It is easier to provide comfort to a child (provide pre-fab stories) rather than tell them how the world is cold and dark and full of mean people who are out to get you.

BK: I wasnt trying to promote telling children that the world was cold and dark and full of mean people who are out to get you. (Although it is, but theres nice people too). Anyways I was more looking at telling them what they want to know, not just putting the cold hard truth in thier face without them even saying anything. Kids ask questions: Tell them the truthful answer or don't tell them at all. This doesn't necessarily imply that you have to be a fucker when you're telling the truth all the time. There are ways to tell, and it doesn't have to be negative. Thats all.

As far as agreed truths go, there is always a truth. Be it truth of scientific fact, or truth that any information on a subject is opinion, or anything else. There is always some form of truth.

Sure it may be easier to fabricate stories for a child, but is it a good thing to take the easy way out? Do you take the easy way out in everything else you do? Sure it might be harder, but in the long run, your work will prove worth it, in my opinion.
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