by Terry 213 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Satanus

    My father was a 'truth dumped all over a 5 yr old' type of guy. Five yr olds generally can't handle that much.

    I think that fanatasy is a way to shield kids from harsh reality. I have watched parents withhold reality from their kids: things like the hate between people where they work, fights/backstabbing/stealing between adult siblings, money problems, perversions of relatives, political hatred, religious hatred, sex. When the young kid asked questions about things like this, sweet simple stories that were not completely true were substituted. This was w the understanding that, as the child grows older, it will learn the harder truths as it is emotionally more mature, being able to handle those facts without trauma.


  • StinkyPantz

    Most people readily and easily believe in spirit creatures even though there's no concrete prove that any exist. I've often wondered why such thinking prevails even amongst seemingly rational people. Maybe Terry's theory explains why the fantasy of the spirit world is so accepted.. we were poisoned as children.. hrmm..

  • gypsywildone

    I think we could have done without the Sleeping Beauty & Cinderella stories.

  • CeriseRose

    I'm taking a poetry course that started off explaining the 'mothertongue' (the world of rhyme and sounds, nursery rhymes and the like) and the 'fathertongue' (the majority of the world grows up, goes to school and over the course of the school years slowly has the 'automatic mothertongue' worked out of their system as it were). The mothertongue is the language of our origin, the natural rhythms of our body (like the beating of our hearts), and like our intuitive response. The fathertongue is learned, is powerful in the way that it moves us beyond the primary and helps us to develop and communicate our own (and in some cases, others'...like me, right now) ideas and concepts.

    Not being raised a JW, I was told about Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and the like. At some point I knew that they were activities of my parents. Did I suffer psychological damage? Nope. Did I feel lied to by my parents? Nope (and not even, when studying with the WTS, they told me that my parents lied to me and OH how shocking and sad!).

    The fantasy of those things along with the other things I was allowed to experience, as well as a decent education in the sciences and maths, gave me the ability to understand the difference.

    I personally think fantasy holds a very important place in the development of a child and like all other things, needs to be in balance. Children learn soon enough the reality of the world. I think it's when there's a focus of one over the other, or the absence of one over the other, that creates the problem.

    As for JWs and their fantasy, that has many more layers than just the intellectual. I mean, I had a fairly good background in science etc. at the high school level and if I had taken the time to actually study 'worldly' publications while studying with JWs and check it all out then I may not have bitten at the carrot. But what I know about myself...is that I was a lazy student (although I did research and bring things like the 586 BCE for the fall of Babylon to my study conductor, but believed her pat answer and didn't go further). I was also depressed, felt alone, had been suicidal. I wanted the friendship, I wanted the answers handed to me. My parents had divorced and I wanted an intact and loving family that would be the foundation I lost. Which need was higher at that point? Not the intellectual one...it was the emotional one. And let's face it, JWs in their witnessing target via emotions.

    "Sure we may not have all the answers, but this way you're leaving it in God's hands and you do believe in God don't you? Don't you think God is correct in how he's teaching us?"

    Circular reasoning, but to the heart that is longing for God, who is actually reasoning? I think most people who accept religion or a form of spirituality resign themselves to knowing that they will never be able to know all the answers around their God/dess and take things on faith.

    So I guess my question would be where does the concept of faith fall in the realm of fantasy? Where is the line crossed?

  • seattleniceguy

    Hey Terry,

    I'm a definite believer that raising kids with better critical thinking faculties would help protect them from all kinds of foolery, not the least category of which is religious, and make the world a better place. But myth has an important place.

    Most enduring myths have survived as long as they have because they speak on many levels. As a child, you hear the story at its literal level, but as you progress, you begin to see the metaphorical meanings in it.

    The problem with religions like the JWs is that they never allow the child to move on to the next stage. You have adults believing that Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale and spat up unharmed three days later. (Unharmed, that is, except for the nasty whale breath that stuck to him for years to come.)

    We tell children stories all the time. When do children begin to understand that the story is not true, that it happens in some parallel world, sometimes much like ours but sometimes utterly unlike it? I don't know. But fiction and myth are important ways to teach both children and adults. I believe one of the most profound quotes I've ever heard is:

    Fiction is a way of telling the truth.

    I could go on about that for a long time, but it wraps up for me why storytelling, including allegory and myth, is so important for the human race.

    I think the important thing is helping children to understand the value of stories while also helping them to understand that story-worlds are different from the real world. A child who has a firm grasp on these things will be a balanced, critical thinker, who will also be able to enjoy story for what it is: a tool to transport our minds to a different time and place, and cause us to experience lives different from our own.


  • seven006


    An imagination is a terrible thing to waste. I think I see where you are coming from and it parallels a theory that I share with a few others.

    Fiction and fantasy taken to the point of belief and the faith has proven to keep many in the dark and give false hope by those who cannot see between it, and in your face reality.

    Mixing human nature, history, psychology, entertainment and mans need to examen their own spirituality had given us the numerous religions we have today and have had for thousands of years.

    Just reading the bible as well as other religion's epic writings shows how fantasy, that is converted to myth, and mistaken as history, has done that perfectly. The lack of knowledge of science, physics, and human nature shows the stories to be of pure myth time and time again.

    The bible writers did not know their stories would be later examined and put to the test of scientific fact or fiction. They also did not have the communication technology that would eventually expose how they took older myths from older religious and made it part of their own. The hand me down pseudo science of those days that was turned into religion, can only be held to any resemblance of fact by qualifying it's outrageous stories to be true by replacing the word "fact" with the emotional and very effective word and concept of "faith". Mix that with the fear of god distorting you if you do not believe, and you have what we have today.

    I can easily see how a modern day child who now watches TV, plays video games, reads Harry Potter books and has a large collection of super hero action figure was once a child who sat around a camp fire and listened to traveling merchants tell stories about mysterious god like super hero people. I think people crave entertainment more than they crave spirituality. Listening to these traveling merchants bring back stories from the far off lands they visited and mix it with tales of miracles, supreme beings, wars, seven headed wild beasts and virgin births must have captivated their eager audience's imaginations.

    People do not change much through out history. They like to tell stories, be entertained, embellish stories to make them more interesting and astonishing and come off as someone in the know. With the limited knowledge of things we take for granted now, it was, back then, easy to say what ever you wanted without worrying about someone standing up in the middle of your story and saying "prove it".

    In that aspect I can see where fantasy is dangerous. But, if you can be entertained by it and later show it to be, exactly what it is, it's just entertainment. If it is mistaken as fact, converted to fanatical faith that influences ones actions that may eventually kill off millions of people throughout history, then it is a bad thing. Some things never change, back in the bible times you had the battle between good and evil. In our time, we have Star Wars and various other science fiction epics that continue to tell the story about the battle between good and evil. Separating fact and fiction isn't always fun, but it has been going on through out history. Just count the people who stand in like to see the opening of a Star Wars movie and then count those who stand in line to hear a factual scientific and archeological proven event and you'd be lucky to fill Burger King dining room.


  • Princess
    I reared my children with the fun of Christmas but, not with the "lie" of personhood for the character of Santa. They have the same happy Christmas time as other kids, however, they feel they are special because they see other children "fooled" while they are "in the know". It helps them observe the role of belief in fooling people without taking away the fun of a celebration.

    I read that as "superior" and not special. Are you teaching them they are better because you never gave them the chance to experience Santa and figure it out for themselves? The phrase "they see other children "fooled" " bothers me. I don't feel like I'm fooling my children, I'm letting them experience a real life fantasy. Your children will never know the fun of Santa Claus. IMO they are truly missing out on a magical aspect of Christmas, at least they feel superior because of it. I grew up without Santa. My kids are growing up with him. I'm pretty sure my kids are going to figure it out this year. My explanation will be "when you stop believing in Santa, he stops coming to your house". They can choose to go along or quit. It's up to them. It's a game that they are able to live IRL unlike the videos that they play. Your world sounds very sad indeed with the words "poison" and "fantasy" in the same sentence.

  • Nancy Drake
    Nancy Drake

    I always find people who have a good imagination to be more open-minded, well-rounded people. If you have a good imagination of the extraordinary, you will have more empathy towards others as you are more easily able to put yourself in their shoes.

    To teach children that all fantasies are lies and that they are superior to others who believe in magic will only teach them to be close-minded and prejudiced,

    There is so much magic in the world, and to not open your mind to this will only leave you feeling jaded.

  • stillajwexelder

    I was raised with Christmas, Tooth Fairy etc. and I think I am a more balanced person than my kids - I truly believe fantasy has a place in the world - it is good to dream

  • czarofmischief

    If kids grew up never being exposed to fantasy, then they would be easily fooled by the slick talking shysters. Critical thinking can only be engaged by the willful brain, but it may never be activated if they don't know that what "sounds too good to be true probably isn't true."

    I would suggest that myths are like bacteria - they have lives of their own, they have a purpose, they can be harmful if they get out of control. And critical thinking is like an immune system, that needs to be "educated" as to types of bacteria to eliminate.

    But raising our kids in a "bubble" free of "bacterial" myth will only leave them vulnerable.

    Terry, I know you are in love with materialist rationalism, but that philosophy often comes across as dogmatic as any ravings of a Biblethumping revivalist. Why does it do that? Why are the arguments in defense of materialst rationalism so similar to the "blame game" played by faith healers? "You don't have enough faith" = "You are too weak to face reality as I think it must be." and "You are in love with sin" = "You are in love with false hopes."

    Just a thought.


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