A Twenty-First Century Fairy Tale?

A Twenty-First Century Fairy Tale?


The elegant lady sat next to a dad and his little girl just minutes before the flight took off. Scotland was in it’s full splendour of late Autumn colours – the Highlands themselves had been a blaze with the majesty of the rut. As the plane roared over an 840 year old city, whose it’s inhabitants could as easily be those of Aleppo, the distant mountains waved a hearty farewell.

A keen bridge player, the elegant lady noticed that the dad was reading while his little red-head enthusiastically monitored  every motion from the plane’s window. Books are great – and often they lead to great conversations. This book was on Network Marketing with the title ‘Go Pro‘. Ironically the former ‘theologian’ (a one time professional on matters of Sacred Theology?) was not reading a work entitled ‘God Pro’. The keen bridge player mistakenly thought the book was entitled such.

This sparked the conversation of a dad and a very elegant widow. Here is some of what ensued:

Elegant Widow: “Oh, it’s not called ‘God Pro’?”

Retired God Pro: “No, but that would have been appropriate at one time.”

EW: “Why is that?”

RGP (not an RPG – although sometimes described as one!): “Well, I used to work for an American university teaching some aspects of Sacred Theology, so I could be called a ‘God Pro’.”

EW: “Sorry, but religion is just mumble-jumble. Superstition the lot of it.”

RGP: “Oh, that’s interesting. How would you define ‘superstition’?”

EW: “Well, all that holy water stuff, and all those fairy tales. The older I get the more I appreciate that these things are products of evolution, and that science explains everything for us.”

RGP: “Oh, I see. So evolution gives us religion and superstition? Does it give us a definition of ‘superstition’? Does it define  things like ‘justice’, ‘truth’, and ‘love’. This is all rather intriguing.”

EW: “Yes, yes, religion is just a crutch that evolution gives to people to help them cope.”

RGP: “Why that is very interesting. So evolution is the cause of all those ‘wars of religion’? And does it also produce what you call ‘superstition’?

Would you like a definition of ‘superstition’? How’s about: attributing to something a power it does not have? Yes, there’s plenty of it around – people avoid ladders thinking they have some kind of power. And tea-leaves are given power by all kinds of people in Ireland.”

EW: “Yes, that is what religion does – it gives things power that they don’t have. And besides, I don’t believe any of those stories.”

RGP: “Is it religion or superstition that gives power to things that they don’t naturally have? True religion and false religions can be considered. If you make the distinction between false religion and true religion then it is easy to see where the error lies. Even those who hold to the true religion can be tempted by superstitious practices. They can leave the truth and promote their own version of the true religion.”

EW: “It’s all superstition. Science has given us the answers.”

RGP: “Like the meaning of ‘justice’?”

EW: “Yes. We know that ‘justice’ is a something evolution gives us so that we can live together.”

RGP: “So everyone on this flight wants to get along with one another?”

EW: “Yes, most people are good people.”

RGP: “And what about ‘bad’ people – are they not for justice? Or are they a product of evolution that serves the great cosmic yearning for transcendence?”

EW: “Pardon? I am frightfully sorry, I do not understand how you went from bad people – and there are some – to transcendence.”

RGP: “Sorry, I tend to do that – a bad habit of mine. And I judge people all the time – some are good thieves and some a bad. But I suppose I shouldn’t since they are just products of evolution.

Let me put it this way. You say evolution gives us (along with science) all the answers. Well if that is the case then no-one is ever doing anything right or wrong. There is no good thief or bad thief. Don’t you agree? We’re all in a great ‘cosmic soup’, so to speak, in which all the ingredients (us!) are being melted down into something delicious for a reason we don’t know about. Maybe something that transcends us all is waiting to eat us all up once the soup has been cooked enough. Some great cosmic bogey-man has us in his pot, don’t you think? ”

EW: “That sounds like one of those fairytales you tell your little girl here.”

RGP: “Oh, did I steal your story?”

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