This is what The Professor told his mother a few weeks ago. She blames me.
When he says that God is everywhere and everything is God I ask him to try to explain what he means and what he thinks God is but I don’t impose my views on him. Though if he asks me what I think I don’t lie to him, I tell him that while some people believe in a god I’m not one of those people. I tell him it’s one of those things that nobody really knows, but some people think they know and will claim very loudly that they know but the ones who shout the loudest often don’t know the most.
I told his mother she should be able to explain to him why lying is wrong without resorting to a deity but now thinking about it I’m not sure I could do that. Something about an insult to the self perhaps. Sounds a bit weak, and not likely to make an impact on a 5 year old. Perhaps I could quote Nietsche:
Not that you lied to me but that I no longer believe you has shaken me.
Though with him now asking me how Father Christmas gets into the house when we don’t have a chimney, that’s a quote he could throw back at me in a few years. I try not to lie, not directly, but I’m certainly guilty of deception. I suggest possible ways he could get in. When I was a child I found the idea of a strange man breaking into the house and creeping into my bedroom quite frightening.
I didn’t start him off on this mythology. His mother and I had decided we didn’t want to lie to him, but when he came home from nursery with all the Santa mythology, without any encouragement from us, it didn’t seem right to shatter it. That would be like standing up in the middle of a play and telling the audience it’s all made up.
The Professor’s right. It is OK to lie, though not because there’s no god. He thinks there is so that was his lie.