Says the First: do you believe in God?
Says I: yes.
Says the Second: are you a Jehovah's Witness?
Says I: no.
Says the First: so why do you believe in God?
So now I enter into a dilemma. Since I have to be at a meeting I can't stand chattering, but then St Peter's words about always having a gentle answer to give an account of my faith are ringing in my ears. I wait for a divine word and out it comes. The trouble is that my friends from the Inquisition (sorry Council for the Doctrine of the Faith) are firing questions at me left, right and centre.
Says I: because I do. It's difficult to explain.
Says the First: So when was God born?
Says I: (not wishing to have to plough through the entirety of the Catechism)
He wasn't born. He's always existed.
Says the Second: So do you talk to God.
Says I: yes
Says the Second: So does he reply - no he doesn't.
Says I: yes, He does.
Says the First: How can he? He doesn't exist.
Says I: Well, try talking to Him then.
At this point their conversation degenerates into a blasphemous invective directed to some poor defenceless area of sky. God, I assume is big enough to deal with all the rather colourful language, so I leave them to it.
Now, I am supposed to be reassured that if I open my mouth, the words of the Holy Ghost will fill it. It certainly didn't feel that way, but then the Holy Paraclete works at the level beyond mere feeling.
This does beg the question. What can we tell these children?
From my conversation I got the following information:
- They cannot grasp anything that they cannot experience directly.
- They have no comprehension of the validity of religious belief.
- I need to think about St Peter's words!!
It's always after the event that "clever" things come to you. for instance the conversation could have run:
Says the first: Why do you believe in God?
Says I: I'll try to explain. Do you have a girlfriend?
Says the first: Yeah.
Says I: How do I know she exists? How do you know she exists right at this moment in time?
Now whether or not this would work, I've no idea. Somehow I think ontological philosophy would pass them by.
Cleverness doesn't always have the desired effect. Perhaps, to keep it short and simple was best.