Here is a good post from an old friend (his family owned my first place of minimum wage employment) about psychological stress caused to children whose parents follow the Rapture teachings. Those of us who grew up outside of such a tradition could always just laugh it off as crackpot nonsense. But if you are a little kid whose parents tell you this is the Truth, such can be downright frightening. Kevin writes:
On a personal note, I remember watching A Thief in the Night as a kid. I was probably 11 and my sister was 9. This film had a very negative impact on both my sister and I. For many years we lived in fear. If our parents would be away from us for a length of time, we would become filled with anxiety. We thought that our parent's were raptured and we were "left behind." This bad theology and the films and books based on it, has caused my sister and I a great deal of emotional and psychological stress. The fact that my parent's and the church we went to considered this movie appropriate for us is unimaginable to me.
Sadly, enough this bad theology is still raging on. Tim Lahaye continues to write his popular best selling Left Behind Series. To date there have been 15 of these dangerous and fantastic novels written, and he will soon release a 16th!
When will this madness end?
Now, from his blog, you can see that Kevin is still a devout Christian, in spite of all this.
My parents, on the other hand, are, like me, more or less open-minded and hopeful agnostics (but we have closed our minds to many belief systems, for instance, the one above-mentioned and Muslim fundamentalism). But when I was growing up my parents told me that there is a God, that Jesus was his son, you/good people go to Heaven when you/they die. (We attended Church on Christmas and Easter only; and though I was, at my grandmother's behest, baptized Catholic -- else I end up in Limbo had I died as a baby -- I was never confirmed, and have never taken communion).
And that's fine. I think you need to tell children whatever is needed to give them a sense of comfort and security. Certainly, they shouldn't have horrific religious tales thrust on them. And that probably goes for the other side -- atheism -- as well. If one is an atheist and believes that to be the Truth, if that will upset little children, then that Truth, like Santa's nonexistence, probably should be reserved for when they are a little older.