Thursday, January 3, 2013

On Santa Claus, Religion, and Elephants.

I have so much to say and find it difficult to take the time to sit down and write. So I'm clumping items together.

Ethan asked me why Santa Claus doesn't die, unlike people. I suppose the whole understanding that if our hearts don't work then we can't survive provides him with a rather unnerving obsession with death. I told him I wasn't sure. That it's magical. All this after a long diatribe about how some people don't believe in Santa and that it's a choice to believe. I muddled through it all because I'm not good at lying to my kid.

To magical, he simply asked how something can be magical. I couldn't answer, so he called his grandmother and asked her the same questions. When he asked why Santa doesn't die, she said, "I suppose because God wants it that way." This was an off-the-cuff answer, I know, but it's so far from where I would've gone. To me, it sends the wrong message since we know that the man in the red suit isn't a real person. He stands for something pure and good, but he isn't a real person.

Ethan has been asking me a lot of questions lately about God and church and beliefs. I thought I had more time to figure all of this out. I thought I had more time to decide how I felt. I was wrong. And I struggle to answer him. And it makes me reexamine all the things I think I believe. And basically it comes down to this:

I don't believe I'll ever go to church. I want to WANT to go, but I can't do something that I don't believe in. When I say that, I don't mean I lack faith. I mean I don't believe in Christianity as it is. I mean, even if you research the beginning of Christmas, while I know what we all celebrate, you might be surprised to find out how it all came about.

I don't believe that God chooses to take innocent lives like those children at Sandy Hook. I don't believe if God brings you to it, he'll bring you through it. I don't believe he answers the prayer to give one person a job over another person who is praying just as hard for that same job. I don't believe that he shuns me because I choose not to go to church and listen to someone tell me what God wants me to be and how God wants me to live and what God is telling us. I've tried it. It doesn't work for me. I can't reconcile it. And I certainly that Jesus Christ is the only way to God. Then why do people say "Pray to God?"

I believe Jesus Christ was a real person. And I believe he was persecuted unfairly. But after that, things get fuzzy. I know what the Bible says. I know that the Bible is "The Word of God." I also know that man wrote that book. And I also know there was a very corrupt time in the history of "Christian Religion," where fear was pushed upon the people and the pockets of men of cloth grew heavy.

My God, whomever that may be, doesn't condemn those that choose to worship him and have faith in him from outside the walls of a church. My God knows where my heart is and what kind of person I am. My God knows that I want to give to charities that could make huge differences rather than give to a church that helps on a more minimal level.

However, I don't know how to explain all of this to a four year old that won't stop asking me questions and continues to get different version from his grandmother who insists of talking to him about it every time he sees her. I understand where she's coming from, but it makes it harder on me.

And here's the thing about Ethan, regardless of what he thinks, he never forgets anything....unless it's his socks or something. I told him just as much the other day, in which he responded with....

"I'm not an elephant. I do forget things!"

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like your in a touch spot right now with answering his questions. I was raised in a church and never really knew anything about God or Jesus. My parents were wonderful people who were totally dedicated to the church but didn't talk about God freely in the house.

    When I married my husband refused to go to church. He was raised Catholic, felt he paid his dues. So we never attended a church and didn't raise our children in one. My kids are good and loving adults, I couldn't be more proud.

    When I was around 44 I became what you would call a born again christian. I had some experiences in the hospital when I was ill and let's say it changed me. I started to go to a church and loved it. I moved further away from the church 7 years ago and eventually I stopped going. Did that change my relationship with God?
    Not at all. I do not believe you have to go church for God to love you and care about you.

    My son when he was younger worried about faith, he had Catholic friends we told him he would not go to heaven because he didn't go to church or catechism. I told him pretty much what I just said, you don't have to go to church to be a good person, God already loves you.

    I know that one day I had a small flyer that on the back it had a verse to say if you wanted to give your life to God. I remember him telling me he did that. As an adult he graduated with high honors in Philosophy, he has a hard time believing. Our daughter ended up going to youth group when I attended the church and I know she has a relationship with God.

    If they come to God like I did, in their own time, that would be great but I know God loves them. Now I don't have a clue how to answer Ethan's questions but I think your doing an awesome job. Maybe get him a children's bible, the one with pictures kinda like a comic book and read the stories to him.