Hmmm. Should adults believe in fairy tales? VB comments on the post below that religion is merely a version of a fairy tale and adults should steer clear of placing belief in any such thing.
I wonder when adulthood became this dry desert of state of mind. When “putting away childish things” meant settling for a jaded discontentment and world weariness. I do think it’s possible to close your mind to the broader reality of things beyond this immediate realm, but I don’t think it’s desirable or healthy. Pondering the unknown is how you learn truly new things. Ask any theoretical physicist.
But I’m getting too lofty to answer my question about the fairy tales. I do think adults should believe in fairy tales. Those stories are full of the collected wisdom of those who were here before us and in many ways serve as textbooks for real life. I personally don’t think my religion (Christianity) is the same thing as a fairy tale, but even if it were the belief in it is not harmful. What’s wrong with loving your neighbour, treating everyone else the same way you would like to be treated and living at peace with all mankind? Nothing, really.
In the same way those other things we call “fairy tales” are worth paying attention to. There may not be such things as mermaids–and I can’t prove there aren’t–but the lessons in the Little Mermaid about contentment, striving against nature, sacrificial love and grief are timeless. When parents read their little girls the story of Cinderella they are imparting lessons about treating others with kindness. (Or they used to be…this Disney Princess method of only focusing on the pretty dress and tiara ending leaves the meat of the message on the cutting room floor and is why I refuse to refer to little girls as princesses.)
Everyone believes in something greater than themselves. They may tell you they don’t, but even those who avow atheism do things like running in marathons, working to save the environment, building businesses and writing philosophical tomes. People do these things to be in touch with their better natures. Fairy tales are the poetic narration of the better natures of mankind.
Believing in them is no bad thing for anyone.