My Son Was Taught to Believe in Jesus by His Mother -- How Do I Help Him Become a Free Thinker?
Panicked by his son's Jesus references, an agnostic dad discovers a skeptic's reading list for kids. But is counter-indoctrination really the answer?
"Daddy, why did Jesus invent butterflies if they die after two weeks?"
I just about hit the panic button when my 6-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.