Smarter Than A Preschooler?
Smarter Than A Preschooler? There is a popular TV Show, “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?” My question for adults, who believe in and live in fear of literal hell fire for themselves and/or loved ones, is “Are you smarter than a preschooler?” My three-year-old grandson pointed to the cover of my book, which is a picture of fire, and said, “Oh, fire!” He knew that fire will burn and hurt so he knew not to touch hot things. I said, “Honey, this is not real fire. It is Biblical fire, which symbolizes purification, so it will not burn and hurt you.” When he gets dirty, he likes to have a bath to get clean. I explained purification by fire as God’s way of cleaning adults who get “dirty” with sin, and that hell is God’s “timeout” for adults who sin by hurting others. It is like the Christian hymn, How Firm a Foundation, “…The flames shall not hurt thee; I [God] only design thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.” Fire symbolizes purification in all major and most, if not all, minor religions.
A few weeks after his fourth birthday, I was putting together a fire pit. My grandson, as always, wanted to help. After a few minutes, appearing to be in deep thought, he went into the house. A couple of minutes later he returned holding my book. He pointed to the cover and said, “Biblical fire will not burn and hurt you.” He then pointed to the picture of the blazing fire on the front of the box, in which the fire pit had been shipped, and said, “That fire will burn and hurt you.” I thought, “Wow, how smart and insightful!” At only three years of age he had not only understood what I had shared with him, in a two-minute “teachable moment,” but, at only four, demonstrated that he understands the difference between literal and symbolic fire. He understands what millions of literal-minded adult Christians, living in fear of literal/eternal hell fire, do not understand!
I shared this with my daughter and son-in-law, and they will reinforce his understanding, so that he will grow up to have reverence for God based on a sense of awe (the meaning of Biblical “fear”) about God with zero morbid fear of God. This will result in love and worship of God and altruistic service for God. What a contrast with the answer I received from a literalist preacher when, as a youngster, I specifically asked, “Could the fire of hell be a different kind of fire?” The response terrorized me, “The Bible says ‘fire’ and I believe it means ‘fire!'” Thus, not believing in literal fire meant not believing the Bible, not being a Christian, and, therefore, being condemned by God, at death, to literal hell fire forever!
Millions of Christian parents lovingly guard their children against pornographic internet sites, violence on TV, scary movies, etc., but they, with the best of intentions, take their children to churches which expose them to spiritually abusive preaching and teaching about God torturing “unsaved” children as well as adults in hell fire forever! Teaching children that hell is literal fire and that it is forever is not only spiritual abuse, IT IS ALSO CHILD ABUSE! Victims of spiritual terrorism, from across the country and around the world, have been healed by reading my book. But I prefer to prevent spiritual abuse than to have to piece together lives broken by spiritual terrorism. Adults healed of spiritual abuse, children prevented from being spiritually terrorized, fear being cast out and people perfected in God’s perfect love (I Jn. 4:18) will optimize spiritual maturity and mental health. Universal religious understanding of purifying fire will have a greater impact on the world than the discovery of fire, resulting in universal peace (Isaiah 2:4)!