My 6 year old son(who we’ll call Bear) found a game on the web called Vampire Physics, it’s a series of puzzles where you use gravity to turn humans into vampires. It's simple fun and as there is a vampire there are the standard vampire pitfalls - garlic and crosses. Bear asked why the crosses caused the vampires to catch fire which lead to religion and the following several days of discussion.
Vampires are just stories
Yes, cool stories. But they are just stories.
Like dancing zombies?
Well, that was Michael Jackson
Yes. Like werewolves and zombies. Now these stories were written long ago. And a long time ago people believed in God. They built churches for God and wore crosses.
Well they had the cross as a symbol of God. They believed God made the world, and they believed that God could destroy anything evil, like Vampires.
By making them catch fire?
Yes. Now since then we've learnt more about the world. We can pretty much explain most thiungs. So where people used to think God made the Earth, we know that it came to be naturally.
Well, there was a big explosion - a long time ago in a galaxy far far away -
and I lost him - he ran off shouting to a tree that he was Indiana Jones and I wondered if this topic would come up again - three weeks later Bear told my wife on the way to school -
I believe in God
She stopped. His school has Scripture classes, which some of his friends attend but which he doesn't. The alternative to Scripture should be Ethics classes, but there aren't enough Ethics teachers at the moment so for that period the non Scripture kids doodle and draw and head butt things.
I want to go to Scripture Class.
He then went on to explain that I’d told him all about God and how God made the world with a spaceship and can how God can destroy vampires. Oops!
Later that day I picked Bear up from school and as we walked he told me he'd seen a real ghost earlier that day.
Yeah, a really real one.
Where did you see it?
He frowned and smacked his head.
I didn't SEE it, I heard it
And what did you hear?
He stopped and hid behind a tree and howled WoooooooOOOOOOO.
And that was a ghost?
Yeah, it really was!
It wasn't the wind?
So that noise is always a ghost?
We hear that sound at home don't we?
And what is that sound at home?
Uhm - the wind blowing outside.
We reached the service station and he pulled his Ice Cream face.
So was it a ghost?
It really was.
It's more fun to say Ghost then to call it the Wind isn't it?
He dug an Ice Cream out of the freezer and handed me one.
God is really real though Dad, even if ghosts are wind.
Because - if he isn't then who made the first children when there weren't any Mums and Dads?
Brilliant question, I was chuffed with that.
Why does it have to be God who made the first child?
No one else could have made it.
The first child wasn't made, people come from nature. Same as birds, germs, horses and dogs.
But God made the planet.
Who else could have?
He stopped and sat on a wall, savaging his ice cream.
What do you mean?
some people believe in a god called Buddha. In China some people believe in a god called Vishnu. In India they used to have a god with a dogs head. Egypt
Well - the Buddha god made China, the India god made India and the dog god made Egypt.
Which one made the Earth?
He jumped across a gap in the wall and shouted Indiana Jones.
God is real.
Is Thomas the Tank Engine real?
Yes, I've really been on Thomas, you remember at the mountains?
So that wasn't a pretend Thomas?
OK, what about Bob the Builder?
I saw Bob at the shops once, he's real.
I've never seen them in real life. They're not real.
But I've seen the Bunny in the Moon, he's real.
In Australia the moon is the other way up, the kids have picked out the shape of a rabbits head on the moon.
People have been to the moon haven't they?
He nodded. We have a moon landing popup book at home.
So people have seen the Bunny in the Moon up close haven't they?
He nodded again.
Do you think it looked like a bunny there? Or just from a distance?
I pointed at a cloud.
That cloud looks a bit like a car.
It looks like a fat car.
Is it a car?
No, it's a cloud.
Is there really a Bunny in the Moon?
He chewed his ice cream stick.
It looks like there is, but there isn't.
Have you seen God?
So why do you think he's real?
He paused and frowned.
What is God?
Deep breath and here we go.
He's a story. Before people knew how things worked they thought maybe there was magic behind it all. They thought the stars were where God lived. They liked the idea that he was looking down watching us. God made thunder, God made fire, God made earthquakes. All the things we didn't understand.
Mum and I don't believe so, no.
You believe he's a story?
Yep. An old story that some people still believe.
God didn't make people?
Nope, people came from monkeys. They grew over a long long time.
Why not? Monkeys look like us.
He swung from a branch and shouted Indiana Jones again.
But God made cars.
He did, he really did.
God made cars? You sure about that?
People make cars Bear.
They learnt. Once there weren't cars. People rode horses. Then someone invented an engine and invented a car. Same with planes. There weren't planes, then someone invented them.
He landed and saw a friend in the distance.
So where did the sun come from?
You'll learn as you get older.
When I have time to Google it, I thought
When you are bigger. Whatever you want to learn, you'll be able to. When you're bigger you'll learn about the stars and the sun and moon.
God didn't make them?
Nope, but if you don't know how they were made it's easy to say that God did. Any time you think the answer to something is God Did It tell me and we'll work out another answer.
His friend turned and saw us and started doing Pokémon power poses. Bear took off running and God went to bed for a while. I told his friends mum about the conversation and she laughed and nodded at her son.
Last night he asked how the boss earns any money when he is the boss? Since the boss pays the people who work for him who pays the boss?
Her husband had ended up drawing him a diagram to demonstrate economics.
I think I’d rather theology, there are less monkeys and vampires in economics.