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 Post subject: Is it sinful to lie to children?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2019 3:17 pm 
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Journeyman
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Is it a sin to tell children lies about the existence of Santa Claus?

I don’t mean telling children about Santa Claus in a carefully worded way which technically may not be a lie, I’m talking about the way most people tell their children about Santa Clause? Is it a sin to mislead a child in this way by lying?


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 Post subject: Re: Is it sinful to lie to children?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2019 3:41 pm 
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I think so. Others may disagree.

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2010/11 ... lause.html
http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2010/11 ... s-lie.html

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 Post subject: Re: Is it sinful to lie to children?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2019 4:51 pm 
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I would consider Santa Claus to be more in the area of "popular folklore" rather than a "lie". I think very few children actually believe in Santa Claus, I think most children know where the presents really come from and regard the story of Santa as an example of "let's pretend". Certainly, every year around Christmas time, children in preschool and kindergarten tell each other that Santa doesn't really exist, so when parents aren't around and they don't have to pretend, kids tend to admit that they know the Santa stuff is nonsense.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it sinful to lie to children?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2019 8:33 pm 
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No - kids really do believe in Santa Claus.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it sinful to lie to children?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2019 8:46 pm 
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I didn't :)

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 Post subject: Re: Is it sinful to lie to children?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2019 9:07 pm 
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Jack3 wrote:
I didn't :)

I didn’t either, Jack3. My mother said she didn’t want to lie to us, because if she had lied, and then when we found out the truth, why then should we believe her about the existence of God, might that not be another lie, and everything about Jesus, why would we trust anything she might say if she was lying about Santa Claus?

She told us not to let on to other children, and we didn’t. I just felt smarter, and I loved Christmas and was very excited about the presents I knew were from my parents.

But I have no doubt that Peregrinator is correct and Doom is wrong, very many children fully believe the lie their parents and society tell them about Santa Claus.

My daughter is too young to understand much about Santa Claus, but as she grows older, I will follow my mother’s example.


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 Post subject: Re: Is it sinful to lie to children?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2019 9:12 pm 
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Our family always did as Doom describes. Santa was a game and we always knew which family member was in the costume. But there were families that didn't do this, and one of my sisters angered another family by spilling the beans (she didn't know some children really did believe).

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 Post subject: Re: Is it sinful to lie to children?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 3:53 am 
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It is fine to pretend and it is even fine to let small children believe he is real, just as they often confuse imagined and real at a very young age.

What is not alright is lying (lying is intrinsically evil), and I find it very perverse how serious some parents take their child's belief in a fictional character (as depicted in the US, as much an invention of Coca Cola as anything).

Many go to great lengths to prolong this belief, even to stretch it into years well beyond the age where children have learned to distinguish between reality and fiction, and even though this brings mockery by classmates (and understandbly so)

The 4th grade teacher here confided that teaching has turned her against Santa Claus and we had a complaint from a parent of a 5th grader that another student had told her Saint Nicholas died years ago and Santa Claus is made up.

I am just out of that hell zone with my age group. Honestly, parents like me, but if I had to deal with hysterics over this, I would not be so kind (I told another teacher that I would have told the parent to get over it and find something worthwhile to care about)

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 Post subject: Re: Is it sinful to lie to children?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 8:05 am 
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Parents, of course, can decide for their children. With the risk that some other child, or adult, will disabuse their child in circumstances outside the parent's control. I remember my shock when some older children told me the truth, but I already had suspicions.

HST, I hold that SC is a shared myth, a cultural meme, that the culture can enjoy and which brings a certain joy and wonder to children who believe and, also, to others who don't ... but who can pretend in a communal, positive, happy way. Part of the whole SC myth was the redefinition of childhood by the Victorians ... the cult of innocence and the prolongation of childhood. I think that learning that SC is a fiction is a rite of passage shared by most in our culture. The revelation that SC is not real serves as a relatively benign model teaching children to handle learning many of their inculcated beliefs are not as noble and pure and simple as trusted adults have told them. It is part of growing up.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it sinful to lie to children?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 9:00 am 
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Can a parent say "we ran out of Ice cream, there's no more" when a child shouldn't be eating more?

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 Post subject: Re: Is it sinful to lie to children?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 9:03 am 
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The parent can, but shouldn't. "You may have no more ice cream", should suffice. So will the oft used, "Because I said so."

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 Post subject: Re: Is it sinful to lie to children?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 1:12 pm 
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Jack3 wrote:
Can a parent say "we ran out of Ice cream, there's no more" when a child shouldn't be eating more?

Why would you say something false instead of simply telling the child he can't have any more?

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 Post subject: Re: Is it sinful to lie to children?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 2:34 pm 
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Because you want it all for yourself?

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 Post subject: Re: Is it sinful to lie to children?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 3:16 pm 
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Highlander wrote:
Because you want it all for yourself?

Then I would just say that the rest is for mama and me. This isn't hard.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it sinful to lie to children?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 4:28 pm 
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Doom wrote:
I would consider Santa Claus to be more in the area of "popular folklore" rather than a "lie"...

Popular folklore, yes. I always considered the discussion of Santa as a way for children to use their imagination. We have five, now adult, children. As they became aware of Santa they began to ask questions about how Santa delivered packages and got around the world. Sometimes I could come up with a plausible answer. At least plausible to a little kid. If I was stumped, I would say, "I don't know, I'm not Santa."

But, inevitably, the day came for each kid when they wanted to know "the truth." We always asked, "Are you sure?" The reply was always, "Yes." So we told them and then swore them to secrecy with a threat (ehh... promise): No telling the younger ones, or "Santa" will stop bringing the older ones presents.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it sinful to lie to children?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 10:04 pm 
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Peregrinator wrote:
Jack3 wrote:
Can a parent say "we ran out of Ice cream, there's no more" when a child shouldn't be eating more?

Why would you say something false instead of simply telling the child he can't have any more?

The child (2yo) is relentless. And, it's a public function and you don't want to make a scene.

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-From the introduction to Our Father, "On the feasts of the Lord and other important feasts", Syro Malabar rite


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 Post subject: Re: Is it sinful to lie to children?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 10:19 pm 
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Jack3 wrote:
Peregrinator wrote:
Jack3 wrote:
Can a parent say "we ran out of Ice cream, there's no more" when a child shouldn't be eating more?

Why would you say something false instead of simply telling the child he can't have any more?

The child (2yo) is relentless. And, it's a public function and you don't want to make a scene.

Then the parent is a coward raising a brat.

Lies are always wrong. You tell the child no more. If he persists, you take away what he already has or ignore him, or, if called for, you give him a swift swat on the rump.

But you don't lie out of parental abdication of authority, due to craven cowardice

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 Post subject: Re: Is it sinful to lie to children?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2019 11:27 pm 
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Can the parent say "there's no ice cream" but mean no I've cream "for you", like how Christ said he didn't know about the end times?

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-From the introduction to Our Father, "On the feasts of the Lord and other important feasts", Syro Malabar rite


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 Post subject: Re: Is it sinful to lie to children?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 21, 2019 9:24 am 
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Jack3 wrote:
Peregrinator wrote:
Jack3 wrote:
Can a parent say "we ran out of Ice cream, there's no more" when a child shouldn't be eating more?

Why would you say something false instead of simply telling the child he can't have any more?

The child (2yo) is relentless. And, it's a public function and you don't want to make a scene.

You can leave the public function, trust me, people will understand.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it sinful to lie to children?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 21, 2019 1:20 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Our family always did as Doom describes. Santa was a game and we always knew which family member was in the costume. But there were families that didn't do this, and one of my sisters angered another family by spilling the beans (she didn't know some children really did believe).
The question is, did she anger the parents or the children? I know some parents who was angry that someone had told their kids that Santa wasn't real. The interesting point is that the children didn't care. They already knew that he wasn't real - but they hadn't told their parent because they thought it was (more) important to their parents that they believed.

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