GodMay 3, 2008
Form time. Not long ago.
“This is boring. I hate form time” said Ryan.
“It’s St George’s Day today” I replied, changing the subject.
“What?” asked Ryan, “Who’s St. George?”
“He’s the Patron Saint of England” replied Jade. “He fought a dragon”
“Here, let me put his Wikipedia page on the whiteboard” I said, “There you go, it says he is also the patron Saint of Aragon, Catalonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Palestine, Portugal, and Russia,”
“This is boring” said Ryan.
“He was a Greek speaker but was born in a place that is now in Turkey” I said.
“Why don’t we have our own saint?” asked Holly.
“It’s typical” complained Julie. “We always have to put up with all these foreigners”.
Ibrahim and Mohsin look uncomfortable. Yusef doesn’t react as his English isn’t good enough to have picked up on what was said.
“I don’t think that’s terribly fair”, I said.
“Is he real?” said Holly.
A short conversation starts up quietly in the back of the room about whether dragons exist. Somebody claims they have them in China, but then looks embarrassed.
“We’re not sure if he existed, but obviously he didn’t really fight a dragon” I said.
“This is all nine thousand years ago” shouted Ryan. “This is boring”.
“It’s not nine thousand years ago” yelled Jade, “That would be before Christ”
“What I don’t understand” said Julie, “is how there can be people before Christ”.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well if God made the world, how come there were people and dinosaurs before Christ?”
“There’s a difference between the birth of Christ and the creation of the world.”
“Yeah” interrupted Jade, “But how come there were dinosaurs before Christ?”
“Like I said, the birth of Christ isn’t when the world began. The world had already been around for a while.”
“But how come there were dinosaurs millions of years before?”
“Sorry, what are you asking? I don’t see why there can’t be dinosaurs before Jesus. Christians believe Jesus was born a long time after people first appeared”
“No, you’re not listening” said Jade rudely, “how come there were dinosaurs before there were people?”
“I’m not sure what you are asking. Why shouldn’t there be dinosaurs before there were people?”
“I mean if God created the world, how come the world and dinosaurs existed before there were people?” asked Jade.
“I’m still not sure what you mean. Are you asking about the story of Adam and Eve and asking how, if God created people at the start of the universe then how could dinosaurs have existed for thousands of years beforehand?”
“Who’s Adam and Eve?” said Ryan.
“You know, from the book of Genesis”, I said.
“What’s the Book Of Genesis”, said Ryan.
“The first book of the Bible” I said.
“The Bible’s boring” said Ryan.
“Sir, sir” interrupted Jade. “I’m not talking about that. I just don’t see how God can have created the Earth if there weren’t people until millions of years after the Earth was created.
“Hang on”, I said as the penny dropped. “Do you think God is a person?”
“God’s boring” said Ryan. “I hate God”.
“Yes.” Said Jade,
“I think you’ll find people don’t think God is a person like that.”
Ibrahim and Mohsin are now rolling their eyes.
“Then why do you see pictures of him” said Julie.
“What pictures?” I said.
“You know. He has a big white beard.”
“Oh” I said. “I don’t think that’s how Christians, or other people who believe in God, actually think of God”.
“This is boring” said Ryan.
Then I paused.
“You are in year eight. You have been doing RE for a year and a half, just at this school. Why are you are asking me this? Why not your RE teacher?”
“We don’t learn anything in RE” complained Julie.
“The teacher’s boring” said Ryan “I hate him”.
“We just did one religion for ages.” This was Connor’s first contribution to the discussion.
“What religion?” I asked.
“The Muslim one” said Julie.
“No we didn’t” said Ibrahim. “We only did it for a week”.
“Wait.” instructed Jade. “What about Adam and Eve then? How come there were dinosaurs?”
“Well I said, not every Christian thinks the story of Adam and Eve is literally true. For instance the biggest Christian denomination is Roman Catholicism, and the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope…”
“The Pope’s boring” interrupted Ryan
“…has said that evolution is more than a theory”
“I think Buddhism is the true religion” said Julie.
“Do you know anything about Buddhism?” I asked.
“No” said Julie.