TheHonestAtheistJune 22, 2016

Deception is powerful in the right hands. Take parents for instance: they teach their children to believe in a magical world traveler who delivers gifts based on a punitive system of wrongs and rights done annually.

Yes, I'm referring to Santa Claus. Add on top of that another espoused magical creature: the tooth fairy.

I know some parents that are rational and intelligent, but have chosen to deceive their children with the idea of a tooth fairy.

For those that don't know, some families (I have no idea what percentage) reward their children with money or candy for losing a tooth, which is ridiculous but is made further ridiculous by the idea that a magical fairy exchanges the child's lost tooth for the gift.

I think this is stupid. Train your children to believe in something so fictitious that Bigfoot writes novels about it, and it is sure to stunt intelligence. Before you accuse me of the slippery slope fallacy, let me outline my case.

  1. Children learn by example. This is most evident by the ways children learn from us indirectly--the times where the child says or does something that mirrors us, but we never taught.
  2. Deception is another form of lying. Failing to impart the truth is also another form of lying. Lying is to hide the truth.
  3. Pretend is not the same as the suspension of reality. Insanity can be defined as not living in reality; a rejection of reality. Pretend is to only live temporarily in fantasy, without neglecting to forget reality and returning to it.
  4. Fantasy rests quite solidly on reality and rationality, that is why truth sometimes sounds so absurd. I would encourage a child to read, explore, and ingest fantasy, but that is not a contradiction to what I have said already.
  5. Teaching something that is fictitious as fact and fact as fictitious is wrong. Teaching fictitious as fictitious and fact as fact is right.
  6. Critical thinking is to look and process something skeptically and rationally before accepting it. Belief without evidence lacks critical thinking.

So, I would make the case that inventing such an idea as the tooth fairy is really lying to your child, teaching them that fiction can be real, teaching them it is okay to believe fiction is real, and thinking critically is unnecessary.

The counterargument that the child will grow out of such nonsense seems practical, but again, I would make the claim that entertaining fiction as fact will lead the child to accept other fiction as fact, without critically thinking (examples include ghosts, astrology, chem trails).

I'm not a parent or child psychologist nor an expert at teaching kids. But I don't want to lie to kids. This doesn't mean I would always tell the truth. Answering some questions too early could be a bit heavy for the kid to process at the time, but that doesn't require lying.

What further frustrates me is the parents I know are Christian. Supposedly, Christians desire seeking truth and are commanded not to lie. But I fail to see how this is not diametrically opposed. As always, your thoughts below are appreciated.