Merry Christmas!

By | December 24, 2014

Or technically, Christmas Eve, but because Christmas tradition starts today, I'll define it as Christmas. And Christmas comes complete with the Christmas story. Only, with a twist: in our home, asking questions during storytime is encouraged, as is questioning everything and every command. My kindergarden-aged son's questions this year are, in my opinion, worth sharing – here's a selection:

1. If God is in heaven and Angels are made of light then who gave Mary a sperm?

2. What does holy mean?

3. Why do we give each other presents? If it's Jesus' birthday then doesn't everyone have to give him presents instead?

4. Why are we celebrating Jesus' birthday if he's not coming (to the party)?

5. Why are we still celebrating his birthday if people killed him a long time ago for telling a lie?

… I gave him a bunch of 'opinions', but no answers, and told him to be careful about who he asks such questions to. I explained to him the brutality through which Christianity spread and how that's why we still celebrate Christmas as tradition today, how pagan traditions like the Christmas tree mixed into the tradition, and how despite all of the past, there still are both good and bad Christians – just like every religion has good and bad followers. He's at a phase where he's learning to differentiate between fact and fiction (he asks the same sort of questions about illogical statements in books where animals talk, for example). It'll probably be some time before he finally sorts things out.

Whatever you believe, wish you a thoughtful and reflective start to the season!

19 thoughts on “Merry Christmas!

  1. deborah rabbit white

    I don't have a scientific mind as such, yet I do this with my child as well.
    Some have told me that I put too much on her. I worried about that for a day or so.
    Some tell me that I am harming my child by not telling her that God exists and Jesus is what some say.
    Some tell me that I stole her magic from her by not telling her the Santa lie. Well, I do the question thing, encourage her questioning, and then give her opinions in answer to her questions.
    Her father thinks I am filling her head with my rhetoric. He based this upon the fact that she told him that she doesn't believe in God or Santa, but does believe in the Easter bunnie, fairies, and Jesus. He claims she ONLY disbelieves in the others because of what I say.
    What he fails to see is that she is actually applying some scientific processing to her belief system, and if he listened to her reasoning, he may see that she is exploring her world. She has logically worked out reasons for her opinions, and they do change as she discovers new information. I think it is cool to watch.
    If asked why she doesn't believe in Santa, she'll give not only reasons that make sense, but also ask questions like, "Why does Santa give wealthy kids way better presents than the poor kids or the starving kids?" That usually shuts down the adult trying to convince her other wise.
    On the other hand, ask her why she believes in Jesus, and she'll say, " because it's nice and I like to."

    I once asked her "Why do you think John doesn't wear high heels, and why Olivia does?"
    Her answer was " Maybe John doesn't look good in them."

    I can not completely agree, or disagree, with the idea that the "sexual reproduction alternatives and free-willing indoctrination are things that, in my opinion, belong somewhat later in life". I guess I mostly do.
    My child has asked some things that I could not answer truthfully without going there…a little. I say a bit then explain that if I tell her more, she will not get it yet because she has not had experience enough to understand. I told her that if she tried to tell a crawling baby how to run (given the baby could magically understand her language), the baby likely could not really get it because baby hasn't walked yet. So far, that has been accepted as a sufficient explanation.
    I just do not want to lie, and I do not want to say something so simplistic that later on it will come back to haunt me when more questions come up, and I do not want to do what my familial adults did, which was: " you don't need to know that".

  2. Sophie Wrobel

    +Alberto Valero Gomez​ I do realise that answering the questions are not exactly the easiest in context and that they may be somewhat offensive – but little kids don't. They ask, and they think, and they sort out the kind of world they live in. And they don't care whether their questions are idiotic or not. To me, that's the biggest joy – seeing them start to think for themselves. The process of getting to the question, and not the answer.

    I agree, though, that how you answer such questions has a large impact on what the child later questions. If I'd told him the doctrine version as fact, he'd probably never ask about it again. If I told him what science said as fact, he'd probably also never ask again. And if I tried to answer the questions here, I'd probably get attacked by people with a stout belief system. Which would detract from the point I'm trying to make: kids should learn to think.

  3. Sophie Wrobel

    +Lason Strike​​ that's more or less what he got. The Christians believe that…. Science tells us that… Jews believe that… The Romans claimed that… and what do you think? (He stayed silent for a while and contemplating how it could be possible to have more than one answer, before making a pick and then deciding that it was time to play).

  4. Lason Strike

    How else is one to answer such questions from a five-year old? According to doctrine; I was taught; scientists think…. You can't really go into quantum theory and the great fate debate can you?

    "when a god and a virgin love each other very much they hook up and …"

  5. Francois Demers

    +Alberto Valero Gomez where did you learn to read and is it too late to get a refund?
    +Sophie Wrobel did not make up the questions: her (young) son did.
    Now, remember, you opened these barn doors: show me this reality you see. Take a picture and post it here. If you cannot, call it by its name: religious belief, not reality.

  6. Alberto Valero Gomez

    I don't know you +Sophie Wrobel​ but why do you make questions in such a way that one of the possible answers seem ridiculous and idiotic. If you know the answer just don't ask and show respect for all us idiots that mistakenly see reality different

  7. Sophie Wrobel

    +Nils Hitze​ i hear you, teaching him to think is one of the hardest challenges – he prefers answers on a golden plate! But lately he's started questions when I'm alone with him (the only time when he'll actually get a serious response out of me, everything else is pretty much goofing around), and I hope that quality keeps on and expands.

  8. Nils Hitze

    I'm trying to get ours to think critical too. Right now I'm mostly getting em to become sarcastic, which is the same thing sometimes

  9. Sophie Wrobel

    +T. Pascal​ I'm not trying to indoctrinate him. I'm trying to get him to think. And frankly, he's doing a good job of that so far.

    Sure, there are technicalities that may be able to provide answers to the immediate question, but it still doesn't solve the problem that something 'magical' happens that doesn't quite fit in… and he'll ask further. Also, sexual reproduction alternatives and free-willing indoctrination are things that, in my opinion, belong somewhat later in life (when sexual maturity is part of his forseeable future), and not in kindergarten.

    That a person of authority can make an error in judgement is, for example, not something he can understand… yet. But as ethics and morality and thinking/questioning patterns solidify, and as he forgets the conversation over the year, I'm sure the topic will come up again when he can revisit it with a bit more depth. Maybe he'll deduce that the whole divinity thing is bullshit. Maybe he'll buy into the argument. But whatever he decides, he'll have his reasons, and his choice.

  10. T. Pascal

    That's how I was indoctrinated. LOL.

    To go more in-depth (please translate to the level of a five year old obviously :), God formed Adam by breathing life into the dust. He would have breathed life into some dust or debris in Mary's womb.

    Incidentally, this is the case today. Gynecologists will pump a woman's uterus full of carbon dioxide to perform a dillette and curettage for example.

    Opinion alert: HE could used a bare ovum as dust. Or, there could just be some actual dust around. It was dusty back then and she was a virgin. Or, maybe the dust was some dead endometrial cells. Or, the dust was metaphorical. Blessed are the cheesemakers and dairy producers in general.

  11. T. Pascal

    According to doctrine, Mary wouldn't have been pregnant with a sperm because the father is a spirit. So it would just be the "essence" of God without any crass vessel such as a sperm. Presumably (opinion alert) he didn't even use Mary's egg. He would have just placed a fully formed Jesus foetus as the spirit of God encased in a tiny body into her womb.

    "Holy" means set aside or separated. The "Holy of Holys" is the concept of a separated area inside the separation of the church. So outside the church is "unholy" (everything) and inside is "holy" separated. Inside the inner sanctum that only the high priest goes is the "holy of holys".


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