Thursday, 11 September 2008

If God was a parent today...

Just when you think life can't get much tougher, your 4.5 year old asks you (as you're trying to fill the car with petrol): 'Mummy, did God make the whole earth and why did he do it?' Which then led to: 'How did God make earth and who is God?' All good questions my son, all good. However, I don't have the mental strength right now to answer them.

So I said: 'Yes God made the whole earth. He did it because it was just dark before and he thought it would be better to have something else to look at. First he made light and dark and then land and seas and then animals and plants and people (am sure I got the order jumbled up somewhere along the way but it's been a while since I was in Sunday school). And finally, who is God? That's a difficult thing to answer. He's different things to different people.'

That wasn't good enough. 'Well how come God could make the earth?' he asked. 'Because he is God and he has the power to do so,' I explained, not being a complete believer myself but having christened our children felt a duty to say something vaguely appropriate, all the while cursing in a non-religious way under my breath at the cost of diesel. He kept quiet for a bit and then said: 'So he's like a Power Ranger.' 'Yes, almost certainly that's what God is like,' I said, anything for a quiet life.

On the way home, looking out of the window he asked: 'Does God make cars?' And then before I could answer, he said: 'Oh no, I forgot, factories make cars.' End of discussion. Thank God for that.

I think this new found fascination has come from having Religious Instruction at school and indeed tomorrow they'll be visiting the church, no doubt dispelling my son's belief that God is a power ranger.

I've recently had to read him his children's Bible which he is fascinated with, particularly the story of Jonah and the Whale. He especially likes the bit where Jonah gets swallowed by the whale but is disappointed that the picture doesn't actually show him inside the whale as he wants to know what the inside of a whale would look like. Don't we all. And it's occured to me, during the course of reading this Bible, that if God were a parent (I guess if you believe the Bible he is) then he would definitely go well beyond the supernanny/naughty step school of parenting. I'm thinking he might actually have leanings towards corporal punishment. I'm not convinced the earth mothering types of today would approve of his parenting style to be honest.

I mean the people of earth weren't being well behaved - probably not eating their vegetables or hitting their brother etc - so God decided to drown all of them by sending a big flood. Well except for Noah of course because he was very good (shared his toys nicely perhaps?). Now doesn't that seem a little harsh? What about just counting to three or giving them a time out? And let's not forget about Jonah who refused to do what God asked him to, and as a result ended up getting swallowed by a whale until he begged for forgiveness. Surely even Gina Ford would find that a bit harsh (Small print: this is a joke and in no way meant to be slanderous to the aforementioned person. Please don't sue me).

I keep trying to make the point to my children, that perhaps they should do what their mother asks them to because bad things happen when you don't listen. But it doesn't seem to work. I think they secretly hope that they will be swallowed by a whale so that they can finally see what it looks like on the inside. Which might explain why they never do as they're told.

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