Some questions about fundementalist christian religions

@ElicBxn (60052)
United States
April 6, 2007 10:46am CST
I was brought up in a typical WASP household. I met a friend who was raised in a radical pentacostal faith that totally turned her off and actually scared her. We both ended up in a very conservative orthodox church (but when it went Eastern Rite I left.) My friend told me that her mother didn't raise her to believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy. She was raised to believe in demons, & the "Rapture" & all those other things. What I am wondering is: I wasn't raised to believe in demons, but find I do & it is supported by the faith I joined. But I really don't have a problem with the pretend creations either, tho I'd much rather teach children about the real St. Nicholas because his story is so wonderful. Is what my friend's mother taugh her normal for these fundimentalist religions? I feel pretty secure with what I know about the faith I was brought up in and what I joined, I just don't know anything about these other religions. I'm not even starting on other, non-Christian faiths here, I took a religions of the world course in college & if I have questions about them, I'll address them in a different post some day.
2 people like this
6 responses
@dickkell (403)
• United States
6 Apr 07
I was a fundamentalist at one time. We didn't believe in using Christmas trees. Now I'm a children's pastor. I have to be very careful with things like Santa and the Easter Bunny. A lot of parents let their kids believe in these things and I have to be sure not to tell them otherwise, but I also refuse to validate such beliefs. Personally, while most of us adjust quite well to the truth about these pop legends, it still seems kinda dangerous to teach kids that there are invisible (in the sense we don't get to see them) people who reward you for doing good and are watching your behavior, and at the same time teach them about an invisible Jesus that's always watching you and rewards good behavior. It makes it too easy to group these together and discard them all when one "grows up." I wonder if that maybe why so many people will send their kids to church? Do you think that Jesus may be kind of a kid's thing like Santa for most people? I mean, a majority of Americans say they believe in Jesus, but a majority don't go to church regularly or carry His message into their daily lives...hmmm... Anyway, it's probably not WRONG, but it does seem to me to be unwise to foster beliefs that we know to be untrue. Why not instead tell the real stories of figures like St. Nick, and use Easter and other holidays to show kids how much their parents love them? Let them read rudolph, but don't let them believe it's real...that's just my opinion. Seems safer.
3 people like this
@ElicBxn (60052)
• United States
7 Apr 07
Honestly, I had never thougth about "it still seems kinda dangerous to teach kids that there are invisible (in the sense we don't get to see them) people who reward you for doing good and are watching your behavior, and at the same time teach them about an invisible Jesus that's always watching you and rewards good behavior." and you make a valid point. I'm not saying that my parents ever made the unreal things the focus of the holiday, I knew perfectly well the real reason for the holiday. Actually, I don't remember what they said about Easter, I don't remember any "Bunny tales." For me it was Santa & the Tooth fairy (who left a dime or a quarter.) I'm telling you, the Tooth Fairy has been really hit with infation!
@dickkell (403)
• United States
8 Apr 07
lol...tell me about it! When I was growing up she left fifty cents for my first couple of teeth, then it went up to $1 for all the remainder of my baby teeth. Maybe baby teeth are worth a fortune in some remote part of the world, like ivory or something. She's got to be making a killing - why else buy all those teeth? BTW, do you think she negotiates the price with new parents or does she just have a flat rate? lol! Imagination IS important to developing kids' minds, but I think we just need to let them know what's pretend and what's real. Play in pretend world as long as you want (I still do!), but understand the difference between real and make believe.
1 person likes this
@MrNiceGuy (4148)
• United States
6 Apr 07
So your question is why do some Christians not teach about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy? I guess because they aren't real and cloud the religious beliefs? Some people don't want to teach about that stuff since it will be revealed as childish later anyways and because there really is no place for it in the religion...
2 people like this
@ElicBxn (60052)
• United States
6 Apr 07
I suggested that to my friend, but she said she was made to feel like anyone that believed in such stuff was stupid & she knew that the other kids she met that believed in them were not. I think, as Jesus said, When I was a child I believed as a child & when I became a man I put aside childish things. I see no harm in letting children be children (well, to protect them from evil people but still.) I think believing in these things are like letting a child read a work of fiction, I see no problem with it, by the time a child is able to read, he or she should be able to recognized the difference between Santa Claus and where the presents come from - I did.
@MrNiceGuy (4148)
• United States
6 Apr 07
DO you see any harm in NOT teaching them childish things?
@ElicBxn (60052)
• United States
6 Apr 07
All I can say is that my friend felt betrayed that she wasn't allowed to have them. I think immagination is something that needs to be encouraged, with out immagination, people don't see the less than obvious. IMHO
@winterose (39931)
• Canada
6 Apr 07
yes it is normal for them just like what you believe is normal for you. There is no one right way, and every church will tell you something different. Jesus is not here in person to clear it up.
1 person likes this
@ElicBxn (60052)
• United States
7 Apr 07
I agree with that, I just was wondering if it was a fundamentalist thing, or just her mother - and having known the woman, was quite possible - Thanks!
@seamonkey (1982)
• Ireland
9 Apr 07
I think the closest thing I came across groing up in the vein of fundamentalists were baptists and mormons. Not technically fundamentalist, though, is it? If I am remembering correctly, the baptists were pretty darn strict, but the ones I knew personally were more tolerant and they did include Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the rest of typical childhood pantheon. I got the impression that the grandmnother was a lot more strcit, and the father of these set of cousins was pulling away from it to allow his children to have a more 'fun' childhood than he had had. The Mormons seemed a very strange group indeed, but I remember mainly the dietary restrictions! I don't know where they came down on Santa. I lived in Belgium, which celebrates St Nick's day wholeheartedly and it is a beutiful story and tradition. As a quarter Belgian myself, it is something I have included my children in.
@ElicBxn (60052)
• United States
9 Apr 07
Actually, the Baptists are considered fundamentalist, but many of their churchs have become more main stream, less of the talking in tongues, but you can still find it in smaller or more old fashioned Baptist churchs. Mormons, now that's a totally different kettle of fish, they do have some strange dietary rules - I knew a family that tried to avoid caffiene, but pretty much failed. I think of these things as culteral, that Santa Claus is a hold over from our German heritage, this is where we get the Christmas tree as well. We don't see "Father Christmas" or "Papa Noel" nearly as much because of the fact that most of our English heritage came in before he became common in Britian & we don't have that much French - I'm not going to say for New Orleans, I just don't know about that. Some of you Canadians might know more about the French Canandians & if they have Papa Noel.
@slickcut (8141)
• United States
7 Apr 07
I was raised Pentecostal too,so I can relate to your friend.My Mom told me that her and Dad was Santa Claus,and she was the tooth fairy...we had a christmas tree and we kidded about what santa would bring but i knew he did not exist..I don't think I cared about that,i never misses it really and she was telling me the truth..I believe in the Rapture,and I also believe in demons,as well as angels...I believe in the faith that i was raised in,and when I do go to church I always hunt out a Pentecostal church,which relate to.I was baptized in my church.I am not an active member but i still believe the way I was brought up.My grown children never taught their children about Santa and the tooth fairy or the easter bunny either..I just always knew the truth about all that and it never hindered me in any way...Besides when you grow up you know your parents did not tell you the truth...anyway I was raised like your friend..
@ElicBxn (60052)
• United States
8 Apr 07
I guess I thought it was alright, because there wasn't anything that bothered me about pretend. I liked to play pretend when I was a kid & thought, when I learned, that it was just my parents playing pretend with me. Since I don't have kids, its not an issue for me.
• United States
7 Apr 07
Some of the members of the Pentecostal faith are like that, but most are more easy going. In fact, our church leadership doesn't seem to have much problem with them. It seems like it is more common to be involved in things like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, but not make it a focus of the holiday. We can play those "games" but emphasize the Christian reason for the holiday and what it really means as a Christian. For me, personally, I don't think it's right to leave kids out of what most other kids have fun with during those holidays.
@ElicBxn (60052)
• United States
7 Apr 07
That's cool, the church she went to was a back country, small town pentacostal church. I guess I kind of figured out that most of the symbols of the Easter Bunny were fertility symbols.