Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Accountant God

“Mamma, do you know God has a big piece of paper, and when someone is good or bad, he writes it down?” Since my nearly six year old and I had been discussing Superman, I never quite understood where this one came from.
“Who told you?”, was all I could ask.
“Someone”, he answered. “And if I am very bad, God will make me a girl.”

If I wasn’t wild enough with my son being taught that God is an Accountant, this obvious gender bias got we wilder still. “And what about girls who are naughty?”, I challenged, rather pointlessly.
Pat came the answer. “If girls are naughty, God will make them boys.” Things were not as bad as I had presumed – at least, God was just an Accountant, not a chauvinistic one.

“But who told you that God writes down things on paper?”, I persisted. Till I knew where the idea came from, I did not want to undermine someone’s authority by dismissing it outright. “Was it your teacher?”
“No, I figured it out myself.” He was clearly bluffing. “Why, isn’t it true?”

“Not really.” I was trying my best to be diplomatic. “There may be a god who writes things down on paper, but I know only the god who is everyone’s friend regardless of whether they have been naughty or nice.”
“But if God is going to be my friend even if I am naughty, why should I be good?”
“You have to be good, because it is good to be good. If you are naughty, you will make me very sad, but that doesn’t mean I stop being your friend.”

The theology was getting too complicated for my son, so he changed the subject. “Mamma, what happens when that other god runs out of paper? Where does he write things down?”

As we veered off into a discussion on stationery shops, I was happy to have got the Accountant God out of his mind. If I ever find out who filled his mind with those ideas, I will have something to say to them. In a secular nation, why can't people leave the task of imparting theology lessons to the parents?


Tundiel said...

Oh, from the mouths of babes...

I too hate it when they come out with stuff like that. They're so gullible at that age and they believe pretty much whatever they are told. Leave the stronger subjects to the parents!*nods*

Anonymous said...

Sounds as if he is mixing up God with Santa Claus and his list of children who are naughty and nice...

Lisa said...

Awww. Even though I am sure this angered you, you handled it very well. The innocence of children. It is beautiful really.

Elspeth Antonelli said...

I think you handled the situation very nicely. I'd far rather my kids grew up believing in a god that loved them unconditionally than one that was keeping a scorecard.


Marjorie said...

It could have been another child, Natasha. After all we can't really help what our children are told by other children. We can only do our best to correct what we feel is wrong. I think you did handle this very well.

dipali said...

How precious is one's own gender!
Such a dire threat to a six year old.
There will be much deep theology in the years to come, my dear!

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Tara - precisely. I wish people would leave religious education to the parents.

@ Fiona - it does, doesn't it? Except we don't really have those stories of Santa Clause in India

@ Lisa - it does seem to have worked. He's not spoken about that God again. But it is sad when people misuse the innocence of kids to fill their mind with their own ideas.

@ Elspeth - precisely. If God keeps a scorecard, I am not sure if he/she is too much of a god.

@ Marjorie - that too is a possiblity. Never thought of that, but yes, likely.

@ dipali - that sounds almost ominous! And yes, that was cute, wasn't it - the only cute thing about the entire incident.


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