My son had to spend Easter weekend with the in-laws. Yup, THOSE in-laws. The ones that support the Creation Museum and Answers in Genesis and Focus on the Family (ugh, I gagged a little just typing that). On Monday evening, while we were reading a story that referenced a Mayan creation myth, my son said hesitantly, “Well, we can’t really KNOW there isn’t a god…right?”
I was expecting this, honestly, but I still groaned a little inside when it happened. Of course they would have used the weekend to attempt to indoctrinate my child. Grrr.
But outwardly I smiled and said, “That’s true! There are a gazillion things we don’t know. Could there be some type of deity out there moving things around? Sure!” I shrugged my shoulders. “But what we DO KNOW is that everything in our universe can happen WITHOUT a deity. Without any type of god. The stories written about gods were used to explain something people didn’t understand yet.”
My son nodded slowly, “Like lightening. People made up stories about Zeus creating lightening because they didn’t know what lightening was or where it came from.”
“Right, exactly like that. We KNOW that a god named Zeus, that is married to another god named Hera, that likes to chase after human women and create half-god babies, and that uses lightening as a weapon, does not exist. COULD there be some type of deity that shoots out lightening? I suppose so. But does there NEED to be a god for there to be lightening?”
“No,” he shook his head emphatically.
“Correct. No. And another thing we know is that every single book or story of myths is full of things that we KNOW did not happen, could not happen or are simply wrong. We KNOW that the entire world was not flooded. We KNOW that humans evolved and were not formed whole from dirt like it says in the Bible or corn like the story we just read. We KNOW many of the locations and events described in the Bible simply were not there or did not happen the way the authors described them. You still with me?”
“Yeah. We KNOW rainbows are caused by the sun reflecting on raindrops.”
I smiled and nodded, “Exactly. So… because we KNOW these things, does that mean there is no god?”
My son thought for a moment, “…um…well…no?”
I held up my hand for a high five, “That was kinda a trick question and you got it right. We KNOW that there is certainly not a god as it is described in the Bible or in Greek myths or in Mayan myths. Those were just stories told and written by people trying to figure out their world. We KNOW we don’t need a god for us to exist. We KNOW there is no evidence for a god. But, like you said, that doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t one… or 10… or billions.”
“Oh! Like Superman! Or Thor!” he grabbed a blanket off the couch and pulled it over his little shoulders like a cape. “They were just from different planets! They had superpowers on Earth, but were mostly normal on their planets. So humans thought they were like gods, but they were just a different species!”
“Ooo! I like that! … interesting. What makes something into a god? What is the definition of god?”
“Umm…Mom? Can we talk about this later? I KNOW I want to play Super Heroes now.”
“Ha! Sure,” I put my hands on my hips and stood tall. “Can I be Wonder Woman?”
“Yeah!! Let’s spar! I’ll go get my hammer!”