| What to say to children|
P. Do we believe in god?
M. No darling.
P. Gemma says if we donít believe and donít do what god says weíll go to hell when we die.
P. And the Muslim girls say we have to do whatís written in the Koran or else weíll go to hell again.
M. I donít think you can go to hell twice my angel.
P. Maybe we can! Maybe if we donít believe in anything we do a tour of lots of different hells.
M. What do you think hell would be like?
P. Not being able to find you...and daddy.
M. Darling, weíd always find you!
P. What do you believe in?
M. Mm, thatís quite a long story.
P. Tell it to me.
M. Well, Iíll try. Are you sitting comfortably?
M. OK. Once upon a time.
M. No, I mean it. Most stories have a beginning, a middle and an end but this story goes round in a circle so I can choose to start whenever I want.
P. A circular story?
P. And youíre going to start a very, very, very long time ago.
M. Clever girl! How did you guess?
P. Iím a genius!
M. Then Iíd better be careful what I say.
P. Yes you had! How long ago?
M. Fourteen billion years give or take a few.
M. No, really! Scientists can prove that approximately fourteen billion years ago all the energy in the universe was gathered together in one place.
P. Whatís the universe?
M. Itís everything that has ever been, is now and ever shall be.
M. Yes, absolutely everything.
M. And whatís energy?
M. You should ask! All that rushing around in the park with Gemma and then swinging for forty minutes on the bar. Energy, my darling, energy!
P. But you said that fourteen million..
P. Sorry, fourteen billion years ago all the energy was gathered in one place. My park and bar energy wasnít there Ė Iídíve remembered.
M. Well in a kind of way it was. Scientists can show that everything in the universe is made of energy.
P. What does that mean?
M. Well, this sofa seems solid and simple but if we had a very powerful microscope weíd be able to see that really itís made of tiny packages of energy arranged in a particular way.
P. Are you kidding?
P. Everythingís made of energy, giraffes and the moon, and even Bunny?
P. And even us?
P. Oh! .......But where does energy come from?
M. It doesnít come from anywhere and it doesnít go anywhere, it just changes. For example, if we light a log fire it gives out heat, which is a form of energy, and makes smoke and ash, also forms of energy.
M. It gets curiouser and curiouser.
P. So, all that time ago all the energy was bundled together?
M. Yes my poppet.
P. What was outside it?
P. Nothing? Just darkness?
M. No, not even darkness. Nothing.
P. I canít imagine that.
M. You donít need to. ĎNothingí is the word that tells you to switch the imagination off. There was all the energy gathered together and thatís all.
P. No outside?
M. Zilch! You donít need to try to think about it.
P. Iíll try not to.
M. Thatís my girl!
M. But Mummy what did all the gathered together energy make? Maybe an awesome elephant?
M. It might have but along with some other people I believe that It was a place of total happiness for billions and billions of people living there.
M. Yes. Paradise.
P. It must have been very, very crowded!
M. Well no. The people there didnít have physical bodies like we do, they lived in what we call a virtual state.
P. I donít understand.
M. Well, you know when youíre imagining something or dreaming, you know itís not physically real, it all happens in your head?
P. Oh! so they were like dreaming?
M. Sort of but they had complete control. They could do anything they wanted and make it seem totally real.
P. So they could have treats all the time?
M. Non-stop treats.
P. Yummy! Is paradise still there?
P. Aww! Why not? What happened?
M. It exploded, the biggest bang ever!
P. Oh no! The poor people!
M. Donít cry my darling; this is a happy story.
P. How can it be? Such a terrible accident!
M. It wasnít an accident.
P. Oh! So it was blown up by bad people? Terribly, terribly bad people?
M. No darling. Very, very good people.
P. Good people? How? They blew up paradise? Why?
M. Remember this is a circular story.
P. Whatís that got to do with it?
M. Well the people of paradise knew absolutely everything and so they knew that for the circle to exist there has to be a time when people are born.
M. Because the people who come into being during that time are the ones who live in paradise.
P. Including us?
M. So through the explosion they created what we call Nature and thatís the circle.
P. What is?
M. Well, thereís paradise, then the big bang which shatters the universe into tiny pieces, then Nature which weíre living in now and then the bringing of everything back together again so that thereís paradise once more.
P. But Mummy, after the big bang everything must have been crazy. How did the paradise people know that it would all come together again?
M. Clever girl! Things were mad but the paradise people had built in some rules which made energy behave itself. We call the rules Ďthe laws of natureí. Energy was free but only within certain limits.
P. But where were the people?
M. There were none. There was only fizzing energy but Nature took its course, with energy following the laws, and billions of years later humans emerged just as the paradise people had planned.
P. And, now that weíve arrived, itís our job to put everything back together again like a massive jig-saw?
M. Yes. Exactly. We are conscious beings with willpower; we are, bit by bit, taking charge of energy.
P. But Miss Moverly said that our planet is very, very little, she showed us a map. How could we put everything back together?
M. Almost certainly itís not just us, darling. There are bound to be billions of others on planets like ours. As time goes by we will make contact and weíll learn to work together.
P. Exciting! But might there be wars like Oliver in my class says?
M. Well, there might but eventually it will be realised by everybody that to re-create paradise we need to do two things.
P. What things Mummy?
M. Most importantly, we need to treat all beings with love because itís love which will draw us all together.
P. But Mummy, Oliver says that on other planets there are probably very cunning evil creatures with sixteen eyes each and worms wriggling out of their ears and noses and massive teeth that crunch up babies. How could we love them?
M. If there are such beings we wonít have to cuddle the
M. If they are intelligent they will eventually realise that violence is not the way to regain paradise. But the laws of nature will have worked throughout and almost certainly people on other planets will be mostly like us.
P. Good. Can we have tea now?
M. Can I finish my story first? It wonít take very long.
P. OK MuM.
M. Thank you. Can you guess what the other important thing is after love?
P. Umm Ė brushing our teeth?
P. UmmmM.... feeding the goldfish?
M. Not quite. Itís truth.
P. Oooooo Ė truth!
M. Yes. Itís only by finding the truth of everything that weíll be able to re-build paradise.
P. Mummy, is that why youíre a scientist?
M. Partly, yes.
M. So what are the two most important things?
P. UM. Iíve forgotten.
P. Errrrrrrrrrrrr. Love.
P. Errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Toothpaste.
M. Poppy! No treats.
P. Truth, truth, truth!
M. Good girl.
P. But mummy, Iíve been thinking.
M. Delighted to hear it.
P. OK. Itís so, so long ago that everything exploded. How will people know how to make paradise again?
M. Remember, everything is energy and all energy is connected. Every time energy changes it makes its mark, Millions or even billions of years from now the people who come after us will be able to trace a complete map. Theyíll use the map to bring everyone back to life.
P. But mummy itíll be such a long time to wait!
M. There will be a very long time but we wonít know it because when weíre dead thereís no experience. Itíll literally seem like no time at all. We die and the next thing we know weíre back in paradise.
P. But mummy, what about bad people? They canít be in paradise it wouldnít be fair.
M. Most of us do bad things in our lives. The important thing is for us to be living truthful and loving lives at the time we die, then weíll be ready for paradise no matter what weíve done.
P. But will the ones who arenít loving go to hell mummy?
M. There is no hell in the before-and-after life. People who have not become loving and truthful will be given the chance to change which they will surely take because the lure of paradise will be irresistible.
P. Whatís lure?
P. Oh! But Gemma says that bad people have to be punished in terrible fires for all eternity.
M. Thatís such a horrid idea. By the time we are ready to re-create paradise the barbarous idea of punishment will have long ago gone.
P. What have barbers got to do with anything?