Children and Religion

Ask any child where the devil lives and their answer will likely be that the devil lives in hell. Their description of the devil will be that he is red with black trim, has horns and a long tail, carries a pitchfork, and loves to torture bad little children. Children are not born with these ridiculous beliefs, they learn them from ignorant adults. Many use fear of the devil to persuade children to behave. Be good or you will go to the devil! It is apparently very important to instill fear at an early age. In actuality, hell is not the home of the devil, his domain is the earth. Hell is going to be the eternal prison of the devil. As for his appearance, the devil or Satan, masquerades as an angel of light:

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. (II Corinthians 11:13-14)

So Satan's description and home as taught to children by most adults is totally fictional when compared to the truth of the Bible. It becomes even more absurd when Santa and the Easter Bunny are introduced. Here are two concepts which children truly want to believe in. Once again, adults use these myths to bribe good behavior from children. Good little children receive lots of toys from Santa Claus. Theologians and churches state that Santa and the Easter Bunny have absolutely no association with their religions. Really? Is it coincidence that Santa Claus appears on Christmas and the Easter Bunny on Easter, the two holiest of Christian holidays? Children make the association! If parents claim to their children that these myths are true, they lose much credibility when the children learn otherwise. If mommy and daddy lied about Santa and the Easter Bunny, perhaps they are not totally truthful about the existence of God either. Children are supposed to believe in a God they cannot see and be good to get into heaven. They are told to believe in Him on faith, but faith in their main source of learning has been shaken. Perhaps when they get older they will learn there is no God, just like Santa and the Easter Bunny. Thus, another of Satan's tricks has succeeded!

Ask any child where heaven is located and they will invariably point up. Ask them where hell is and they will point down toward the earth. A few short years later, they are taught science in school and learn that the earth is round and rotates on its axis. Consequently, when they point up or down toward the earth and sky, twelve hours later when they point up or down they can be pointing as much as 180 degrees in the opposite direction. What can that mean? Were the teachings about heaven or hell incorrect? Perhaps their earlier teachers really meant that hell in located in the earth, or below us, and heaven is up there away from the earth, or above us.

After leaving home and surviving day-to-day by their own wits for a few years, it is an easy progression that hell is truly here on the earth. Whereas heaven is obviously somewhere else! Heaven is far up there, away from the earth, greatly separated from the earth. The truth is that no human knows the location of heaven and hell. Of course, no one desires to admit their ignorance, so we point up or down, which is sufficiently vague to allow for many "interpretations." Since man does not know, he points up and down.

Perhaps it is false religious beliefs learned as children that lead many of us into creating individual "heavens" and "hells" here on earth as adults. The majority seem to lean toward the creation of their own hell as opposed to heaven, "Life is hell!" Then there are the rare few who could be happy living in prison. The Texas "pickaxe murderer" Carla Faye Tucker claimed to have become a Christian on death row. Appearing on television shortly before her execution, she was full of life and apparently happy, always with a beautiful smile. Her desire was to live and minister to other prisoners.

The "Son of Sam" serial killer, David Berkowitz, claims to have become a born again Christian. He is happier and saner now than he ever was outside of prison. Many others turn to the Islamic faith or other religions while in prison. Are these so called "death row conversions" real, or simply publicity stunts and efforts to please parole boards and authorities? Many would not agree with my thoughts on this topic. I not only believe that most of them are sincere, I believe they are to be expected! These are the humans one should expect to seek God. Many people have to be severely beaten down before ever admitting that their way is wrong. How much lower can one go than to be locked in a small cage with every necessity of life under other people's control, awaiting their early death? They are no longer in control of their life. Is it any wonder that these people seek help from a higher authority? They have finally realized that what they have been doing is not working. There has to be a better way! There are two things that can be said about reaching the absolutely lowest point in one's life. There's no direction to go but up! And often there's no place else to turn but to the Lord. Thus, they let go and surrender to God.