“Mamma, do you know God has a big piece of paper, and when someone is good or bad, he writes it down?” Since my nearly six year old and I had been discussing Superman, I never quite understood where this one came from.
“Who told you?”, was all I could ask.
“Someone”, he answered. “And if I am very bad, God will make me a girl.”
If I wasn’t wild enough with my son being taught that God is an Accountant, this obvious gender bias got we wilder still. “And what about girls who are naughty?”, I challenged, rather pointlessly.
Pat came the answer. “If girls are naughty, God will make them boys.” Things were not as bad as I had presumed – at least, God was just an Accountant, not a chauvinistic one.
“But who told you that God writes down things on paper?”, I persisted. Till I knew where the idea came from, I did not want to undermine someone’s authority by dismissing it outright. “Was it your teacher?”
“No, I figured it out myself.” He was clearly bluffing. “Why, isn’t it true?”
“Not really.” I was trying my best to be diplomatic. “There may be a god who writes things down on paper, but I know only the god who is everyone’s friend regardless of whether they have been naughty or nice.”
“But if God is going to be my friend even if I am naughty, why should I be good?”
“You have to be good, because it is good to be good. If you are naughty, you will make me very sad, but that doesn’t mean I stop being your friend.”
The theology was getting too complicated for my son, so he changed the subject. “Mamma, what happens when that other god runs out of paper? Where does he write things down?”
As we veered off into a discussion on stationery shops, I was happy to have got the Accountant God out of his mind. If I ever find out who filled his mind with those ideas, I will have something to say to them. In a secular nation, why can't people leave the task of imparting theology lessons to the parents?