My name is Jeremiah and I am eleven years old. Friday, in Science class, I learned that the Universe is 13.7 billion years old and that it was created in an instant called The Big Bang. I also learned that we know this to a high degree of certainty, about 1%. The scientists that figured this out are called Cosmologists and Physicists. They use a lot of extremely difficult math and science called Quantum Physics and Relativistic Physics to arrive at their conclusion. I asked my teacher what came before this Big Bang. He answered that we don’t know yet but that their are a few groups of scientists working on this problem as well. This branch of science is called Pre-Big Bang Physics. All the while I thought to myself, “Sister Mary Ellen is not going to like this information one bit.”
On Sunday, after mass, I went to Religious Instruction. Mom says they use to call it Sunday School. Sister Mary Ellen teaches us and she’s really nice, most of the time, but I don’t think she knows much about Quantum Physics. She says that god created the Universe in six days and then needed to rest on the seventh day. I had some questions about her hypothesis so I raised my hand. Sister glared at me as though I was gonna pee on the table or something. Before I could get my words out she said “It’s in the Good Book boy”. “Well yes of course it is but”, I thought I’d start with an easy one, “If he is all-powerful then why did he need to rest, and why did he take six days in the first place? Couldn’t he just snap his fingers and make it all happen?” Sister was quiet with her answer, as if she didn’t quite believe what was coming out of her mouth, “He works in mysterious ways Jeremiah”. “Well yes, of course he does Sister, but that doesn’t really answer the question now does it.” This claim doesn’t match up with what we learned in Science class, that the Universe was created in an instant called The Big Bang and it took billions of years for mankind to appear on Earth and not on the sixth day like the Bible says.” By now Sister Mary Ellen’s eyes were very wide and I knew I had crossed the line. Facts and science, as was generally understood, were things that we didn’t talk about in Religious Instruction. We were to only learn about the Bible and even then only a few carefully selected parts of it. “JEREMIAH”, she scolded. I shrank back in my chair. “I’m sorry Sister Mary Ellen.” I thought I’d better be quiet for a little while but it was too late. “Hold out your hand and make a fist”. Uh oh, she reached for the ruler. This wasn’t an ordinary ruler. It extended on both sides about four inches or so and was finely crafted from authentic New England oak. At least that’s what the good Sister use to boast. WHAPP!! I tried not to cry but as I winced I felt a tear run down my face. “Now no more disrespecting god.” “Yes Sister Mary Ellen.”
Note – god is intentionally lower case. I would not capitalize any god in the Greek, Roman, or Norse pantheon and I will not capitalize the Christian god either.