I want to state for the record that I wish to do the least amount of trauma to my children as possible. Sounds like something every parent would sign onto, right? Wrong. Young Christian children are taught about the crucifixion every year and it's a bloody violent story. Me? One of my fondest and earliest memories was crying uncontrollably in Sunday School as the torture and killing of one J. Christ was lovingly taught. And the best thing of all? He did it just to save my wretched soul. Hmmmm... I can still feel the love. It's no wonder kids grow up to be brainwashed adults with such indoctrination. Every Church’s trick is to build up these emotional, irrational connections with it's congregation so that rational thought gets short circuited when thinking about God. When Christian parents agree with me that they don't want to traumatize their kids it's typically with a caveat that it's OK to do so in the service of the Lord.
Back to my story, I thought I'd ask Will what he knows about Easter. Will's response, "Ummm, Easter eggs and rabbits?" Very good. Job well done by Atheist Dad. He is 7 and is ready to learn some of the craziness that underlies this religious holiday.
Will and I were walking down the hallway in Ali's school and we passed the book, "He is Risen." I took it and asked if he wanted to know what Easter is all about. He looked at me skeptically. He knows my rhetorical tricks by now. "It's too violent. I don't want to look at it,” he replied. Smart. I hadn't told him anything about the violent aspect of the holiday, yet he was able to pick up on it. It was OK with me and I put the book back.
Next day and we were doing the same journey to pick up his sister and he saw the book. "I'm ready for it, " he said. I handed it to him. "I'm not going to read it,” he said still unsure of his choice, "I'm just going to look at the pictures." He turned pages after page as we walked to Ali's classroom. A small crowd of other parents were there. I glanced over to see the illustrations and it was all there: the whipping, the crown of thorns, and of course the nailing. Will was in a bit of shock, "This is horrible!" He repeated that a few times...
I got some glances from other parents.
He closed the book and gave it back to me. At this point, Ali was released and the three of us sauntered back to the car, Will no worse off for the experience.
At dinner I thought it would be wise to debrief Will on the Easter myth. I explained that on the Friday before Easter people believe that J.C. was killed and on Easter Sunday he rose from the dead. I emphasized the fact that folk stay dead once they are dead (with the obvious exception for zombies and vampires).
"Let me guess what the bad news is," Will stated, "people believe that it's real."
Yep, the boy hit the nail on the head.
-Brought to you by LiP