[DWJ] witches in fiction, and exploiting children (was

Belben, Philip (Energy Wholesale) Philip.Belben at eon-uk.com
Mon Jun 19 04:40:42 EDT 2006

Minnow, responding to Sylvia:

>> In fourth grade, my best friend's heavily Presbyterian parents
>> protested when our teacher began to read Monica Furlong's "Wise
>> Child" out loud to us, because it dealt with witches.  Of course, had
>> they bothered to actually pay any attention to the book, they might
>> have noticed that it was about witches being persecuted by Christians
>> for being Wiccan, and that the general message was that everybody
>> worships in their own way and that's fine as long as you don't try to
>> infringe on other people (well, among other messages), but.
> Maybe they *did* know what it was about, then.  That message runs
> clean contrary to "no-one cometh to the Father but through Me", which
> is the christian-exclusivity clause -- as opposed, of course, to "in
> my Father's house are many mansions", which suggests that someone else
> may be right *as well as*, rather than *instead of*, oneself and one's
> parents and preacher. One needs to be very secure indeed in one's
> faith not to be bothered about the idea that it might not be the
> *only* faith, that others who have a quite different set of ideas
> about something may not be *wrong*, they may just be different...
> (The human race seems to be hardwired to think of "different" as
> "wrong" and "dangerous"; left-over bits of evolutionary stuff, or
> tribal stuff, or something.)  The obvious follow-up to that is that if
> it has to be either the one set of beliefs or the other, *they* might
> be "right" and *we* might be "wrong", and then what good does all our
> striving do us?  Not a comfortable feeling at all, and I can
> understand how one might want to avoid having to look at that
> possibility; the obvious way not to have to worry about it is to
> condemn the "threat" on autoilot and not think about what it actually
> has to say.  (I think it's very silly, but I can see how it happens.)

When in Christian groups (I am a Christian, FWIW) I say that although we
are taught that Christ is the only way to Heaven, there is nothing to
say that one cannot find Christ outside the institutional Church, or
even in other religions, my comments generally do not go down well...

>> The teacher wound up reading us something else, instead.  These are
>> the same parents that, when the Magic: the Gathering card game became
>> popular when I was in middle school, refused to allow their daughter
>> even to play it with me, much less buy her own cards.  (Truthfully, I
>> look back on this friendship now and wonder how we got along as well
>> as we did...)
> Might could be they thought it was a huge waste of time and money as
> well as being dodgy on religious grounds, and a commercial
> exploitation of children, which was how a fair few parents I knew who
> wouldn't give a cuss about the "magic" in the name felt about such
> games.  Anything that encourages kids to spend more and more to
> collect the whole set is regarded with suspicion by many people as
> being likely to be a rip-off.
> I can't off-hand remember, because I wasn't interested at the time,
> but I have a feeling "Magic: the Gathering" was/is one of the ones
> that's even more dubious than just "collect the whole set": there are
> several games in which you buy a sealed packet of ten random cards and
> one of them may be one that you wanted, whilst the rest (or the whole
> pack) will just be "swaps".  I didn't like that for another reason
> too, because essentially it meant that the kid who had most money had
> the best chance at the best cards because he or she simply bought more
> and more in pursuit of the one packet with the card they still hadn't
> got, and so the rich kids or the ones whose parents gave them lots of
> money were most likely to win.  I thought that sucked swamp big-time,
> and I'd've discouraged a child of mine from starting to buy into such
> a game.

I must admit that I don't know the specific game being cited here, but I
agree with Minnow about trading-card games in general.  Even without the
random-pack scam, they are bad.  The idea seems to be that you buy cards
with real money; and you play games with the cards, in which the cards
change ownership.  Kids gaming with real money, by the back door!  And
as Minnow says, the odds are slanted in favour of those who spend more,
which would be big-time illegal in a real casino.

A while back there was a fuss among some friends of mine from church.
The daughter of one had found a trading card of some description, and
(presumably for want of anything better to do with it) had offered it to
the nephew of another church member.  The adults concerned were
horrified, and gave the poor girl a good telling-off, but this was
apparently because the picture on the card was a "fiend" of some sort,
and therefore evil.

I failed to see what the fuss was about.  If they'd been fussing because
trading-card games seem to be designed with the sole purpose of
enslaving children to money, I would have been far more sympathetic with
the adults.

As I see it, the Christians are fussing over meaningless "fiends",
totally missing the real evil, and Satan (or whatever you call the Evil
One) is laughing all the way to the bank.

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