The Raving Theist

Dedicated to Jesus Christ, Now and Forever

God Squad Review CXLII

September 19, 2005 | 2 Comments

A nanny who belongs to a Christian denomination that believes “strongly in the devil” has been spooking a nine year old girl with tales of Satan. The parents want this to stop, and turn to the Squad for advice. First, they suggest forcing the nanny to lie:

Have your nanny explain to your daughter, with you present, that she has nothing to fear from the devil. Then tell your nanny privately — and for the last time — that if she does not stop scaring your daughter with religious ideas you do not share, you will have to let her go.

The devil, if the nanny’s right, is a huge threat, and that little girl has to be as careful in dealing with Lucifer as she is in crossing the street, or playing with tigers. And it seems to me that neither the Squad nor the parents are disputing the existence of the devil. The Squad has acknowledged his reality in past columns, once even suggesting that it’s dangerous to put on a devil costume on Halloween. So why they’re now claiming that there’s “nothing to fear” from the most powerful evil force in the universe I can’t fathom. And the parents may not believe as “strongly” as the nanny, but given that they don’t deny the devil’s existence either they should really err on the side of caution.

Note that the Squad doesn’t really object to scaring the daughter — the objection is only to when it’s done with ideas that the parents “don’t share.” They can scare her all they want with their own crazy ideas (just like the nanny is undoubtedly doing with her own kids), perhaps with the notion that Jesus will throw her into a lake of fire if she disbelieves in His martyrdom. Or maybe not:

It’s fine for your nanny to have any beliefs that have meaning for her and to follow her faith, but you must draw the line when it comes to telling your daughter things that fill her nights with terror rather than sweet dreams. Nine is already an impressionable age, so it’s particularly important to put a stop to this immediately.

So now it’s bad to scare kids with anything, regardless of the truth. But if it’s fine for the nanny to be how she is, why shouldn’t the daughter have the same privilege? Maybe having a nightmare filled childhood is what it takes to have a respectable faith like the nanny. On the other hand, maybe truth is the criteria:

Finally, it would be valuable for you to consult your priest, minister, rabbi or other clergyperson and have him or her speak to your daughter to calm her fears. This will balance the religious authority of your nanny with a real religious authority who can establish trust and get that devil out of your child’s mind and heart and dreams.

So apparently “real” religious authorities don’t believe in the devil, or don’t believe he’s a threat. But how about the leader of the denomination to which the nanny belongs?


2 Responses to “God Squad Review CXLII”

  1. Anonymous
    September 19th, 2005 @ 4:27 pm

    Train them on Santa, introduce Satan later.
    Both offer temptation, both creep around undetectably and both compete with Jesus for attention.

  2. EJ
    September 21st, 2005 @ 3:50 am

    If you scare them they might look back and rebel. Be honest with them and don’t make it into a boogey man.

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