The Toothfairy & God: Am I a Hypocrite?
I work hard to avoid being an hypocrite - ensuring that my actions back up my words. Nothing irritates me more than people who say one thing and do another or the opposite. I am a firm believer in actions speaking louder than words. I have cut people out of my life for just that reason. I equate hypocrisy with lying, because the words are the lie. You have to be honest with yourself before you can be honest with others.
Today a friend posted on Facebook that she forgot to play Tooth Fairy the night before and related the story she told her daughter. It reminded me of a night that I, too, forgot my role in my daughter's life. At first I told her that maybe the Tooth Fairy was busy and would be by the next night. Later that day my daughter lost another tooth. I was then able to tell her that the Tooth Fairy must have known she would lose another one so soon and she only wanted to make one trip.
After clicking "post" I began to think of the hypocrisy of my actions. Not the forgetting part, but the lie. Not the lie about the Tooth Fairy coming, but that she existed at all. And not just the Tooth Fairy; Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny too.
In society today, especially American society, icons such as Santa are used as a reward. That and the big profits for businesses! But mostly incentive to get our kids to behave (Santa), be brave at the loss of a tooth (Tooth Fairy), and, well, chocolate bunnies are just... chocolate!
At around 8 or 9 years of age our kids are starting to suspect that mom or dad are the real faces behind the masks (and gifts). Why then do most parents continue the illusion of a god? They tell their children that good behavior will be rewarded but not until after they are dead. How do they pull that off?
The Tooth Fairy pays dividends for bravery that night (or the next for us forgetful parents). Santa pays once a year - on December 25. The Easter Bunny pays in the Spring but always on a different date. But God doesn't pay until you're dead. Hopefully that's a long time for all, but just the same, that's a long time to wait.
So if these parents can come clean about Santa and Company, why can't they come clean about God? He is just as fictional as the others. Oh, well, there's this book. It's called the Bible. Yeah, there are books about Santa and the rest as well. Well, the bible was written by God. Um, no it wasn't. It was written by men and is full of contradictions and inconsistencies, just as there are different versions and names for Santa Claus. Santa won't come unless you've been good (fear). God won't love you unless you've been good (fear again). But God created the earth and the stars and the animals and man. And Santa has flying reindeer. Science is proving every day the fallacies of God, yet these parents won't let go of their own fears that have been passed on through the ages. Fear is a powerful tool.
Telling a child that Santa won't leave them presents unless they are good is using fear as incentive. But believers in God don't stop at fear. They teach hatred as well. Hate those that don't believe as they do. And that goes for both the religious and non-religious. Christians believe that their God is the one true God. The Jews believe that their God is the one true God. Muslims believe that Allah is the one true God. And since their religions and books say different things, sometimes opposing views, which one is the true God? And these people fight each other over it!
Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas. Which one is the true Santa? It depends on where you live in the world and the fables indicative to the region. Same goes for God. What part of the world you live and which religion is dominant.
I was raised Catholic and started questioning my beliefs in my late teens. My questions didn't lead to answers, but instead to more questions. And more questions until I realized that religion couldn't answer them. When you are given a book filled with hypocrisy, contradictions and inconsistencies, how are you to find meaning in life? I have raised my children without God and they have learned how to think rationally. They bring up points I had never even thought of.
But yet I played Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy until they were old enough to understand that those characters only existed in fiction. I had already taught them that God was a fictional character. So based on the evidence I'd say yes, I am an hypocrite. But at least I can admit it. How many others can do the same?