Friday, September 23, 2005

Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood (481)

And here let me interrupt the conversation to remark upon the great mistake of teaching children that they have souls. The consequence is, that they think of their souls as of something which is not themselves. For what a man has cannot be himself. Hence, when they are told that their souls go to heaven, they think of their selves as lying in the grave. They ought to be taught that they have bodies; and that their bodies die; while they themselves live on [....] It is making altogether too much of the body, and is indicative of an evil tendency to materialism, that we talk as if we possessed souls, instead of being souls. We should teach out children to think no more of their bodies when dead then they do of their hair when it is cut off, or of their old clothes when they have done with them.

This passage is full of a lot of wisdom. I wonder if there is any way for us who have been taught to think in the way described to unlearn our pattern of thinking and escape some of the influences of materialism. If we could, certainly the fear of death, even in Christian circles, might be lessened.

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