Monday, September 11, 2017
Conan found himself awakening during the history lesson.
"Some of you might wonder why, on certain occasions last week, the year ten thousand nine hundred fifty After Rocket Crash was not used. Instead you saw one hundred and one thousand nine hundred sixtynine A. D. - Anyone knows what A.D. means?"
Conan had a vague memory, turned his head where his associations went. Right : Harold was lifting up his hand.
"A. D. means Anno Domini. It means Year of the Lord."
"And what does that refer to?"
"Year after Our Lord Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem on Tellus I."
"Correct answer, Harold, but you need not overdo the empathy with those archaic superstitions."
"I don't think they are archaic superstitions, Sir. I think they are tr..."
"SILENCE! ENOUGH! As a punishment you'll go out into the corridor. The hologram TV is switched off, you'll have a boring time. Now, out."
And out went Harold.
The teacher - he was named Bertrand for some reason - went on.
"One hundred thousand years ago, we humans developed rockets on Tellus - you know, the third planet from Sol, also referred to as Tellus I, mentioned in connection with Bethlehem. Or also as Earth, though that is very archaic. The planet where our species evolved. And we developed rockets in the nick of time.
"One thousand years later, Earth blew up and we saved ourselves on rockets - and those who didn't died.
"Our rocket fleet roamed space for some centuries before finding a suitable planet. In fact, if we hadn't learned to make artificial ecosystems, we would have died on the rockets very quickly.
"Then we colonised space. Those on the original planet - the one we found, Tellus II, near Southern Cross - presumably don't know of our success, if they are still there. Ourselves, we know of it, since our own history goes on where we left Tellus II for Tellus III, three thousand years later - we know another crew went off in another direction before that, but we don't know what happened to them. That voyage took our ancestors three thousand years.
"After that ..."
The bell rang.
Conan went out to Harold. They went off to a corner of the schoolyard, while Bertrand was busy quelling a quarrel.
"You are a Christian, right?"
"Don't you guys believe he Universe is going to end, or something?"
"Yes, we do."
"Now we are alrady one hundred one thousand years after your religion was founded," Conan said, generously rounding off to the lower on the remaining nine hundred sixty nine years, "hasn't time disproven your prophecy?"
"Oh, not yet. You see, if it is true that the Universe was thirteen billion years old when He came, the time since then is still too insignificant to disprove it. He still came 'in the last times' and not midway or early in the history of the Universe."
"Wait ... you mean one or two or at least thirteen billion years from now, we won't be around and the Universe won't be around?"
"We'll be around, but the Universe as we know it won't. We'll be around and we will all be either saved or damned and living in eternal bliss or eternal misery. We will all have died and resurrected and we will not die again."
"All? I thought this Judgement stuff you believe in was about your acts, but what about the babies that are made twenty billion years from now? They won't have acted, will they be judged at birth?"
"We won't be making babies any more."
"So you'll have super contraceptives?"
"We won't be having sex any more."
"But you said something about eternal bliss ...?"
"Not that kind of bliss ..."
The bell rang for the next lesson. Conan knew he would be punished for having talked to a Christian who had declared himself so.
And while the bell rang, Conan found he had his eyes closed, was in bed and was waking up. As he did so, he recalled the real conversation with the real Howard.
And the real Howard was a Young Earth Creationist. He believed that Heaven and Earth had been created only seven thousand years ago - some say six, but he goes by a Bible text called Septuagint - and obviously this meant that Doomsday was coming much faster, probably no time to get to "Tellus II" even as per his dream in ... say AD three thousand three hundred and fifty ... and certainly no time to get to "Tellus III" in AD nine thousand three hundred and fifty. If Harold was right, that is.
That was what had bothered him the evening : what would they say of such prophecies one hundred thousand years from now after huge space discoveries had been made. And Harold had answered, with a very cocky, actually a bit nasty self assurance:
"Oh, we aren't there yet!"
Conan tried to get to breakfast after just dressing but was told to get a shower first. While under the waters, he reflected on something else Harold had said.
The stuff about saving mankind to other planets around other stars had, at least at its most basic principle, been tried before - by one Nimrod building a Tower of Babel. And God - some kind of invisible guy these Christians believe in - Harold actually said God had thwarted this, "because it won't work that way."
As he dried his hair with few quick strokes of the towel, took on same clothes and went to breakfast, he thought over and over again "if these Christians are right, there is so much which doesn't make sense."
And at the breakfast table he actually muttered these words a bit audibly, his mother asked:
"What doesn't make sense?"
"Going to school for one."
Here his father lowered the newspaper and asked:
"Well, if these creationists are right, we are taught minute details about a process or more than one which never happened, we are taught elaborate projects about things that won't happen, but nothing about the things that matter most."
"You know what, Conan?"
"You ask Harold for some scientific material, we'll go through it and see why it doesn't make sense."
And while the author of this story wishes them an ironic "good luck" with finding that, he also endorses getting the material and looking at it. Even from a Protestant, if it's the scientific stuff on Young Earth.