Harley stood nervously in front of his class and read out loud the quotation he had found:
** “In consequence, if the world is beautiful, that fact would be evidence for God’s existence.” (Swinburne, Richard, The Existence of God, OUP, 2nd Edition, 2004,)
“So,” Harley said, “for my reader response to this quote I would like to read a short poem I wrote.”
Harley took a deep breath, remembering as best he could, and recited his poem about The Fall Season:
Such a lovely time is Fall
Treats and pumpkins, masks and all.
Gorgeous colors on the trees
No doubt that God painted the leaves.
Or are the colors really masks
Secrets for someone who asks?
Such a lovely time is Fall
Playing in the leaves that fall.
Harley’s teacher thanked him, and mentioned his poem seemed to have a hidden meaning. Harley chuckled and said:
“The only thing difficult about my poem was remembering all those lines!”
(5) Darth Harley begins to think about Christianity:
Harley sat in his bed with his mom and talked about his day at school.
H: In Social Studies we started to learn about Christianity. They think God raised Jesus from the dead and that he appeared to his followers.
M: Do you think God cast a magic spell and raised Jesus from the dead?
H: I don’t know. I think there are probably explanations that are better than supposing magic occurred. Long ago they didn’t know what caused things to fall to the ground when dropped, but “magic” wouldn’t have been a good guess.
M: They say Jesus was missing from the tomb …
H Corpses can go missing from tombs without needing magic for an explanation.
M: They say the risen Jesus appeared to Peter, then the 12 apostles, then to 500 people a once …
H: It’s not uncommon for people to have unusual experiences when they are really hurting because of the loss of a loved one. They may hear or see weird things, but that doesn’t mean it’s their loved one was brought back to life.
M: What about Jesus appearing to the 500 people at once …
H: It reminds me of the children predicting the miracle at Fatima, and then a huge crowd saw weird things in the sky. I think it tells us more about how our minds plays tricks on us rather than thinking the Fatima miracle really happened.
M: They say the touched Jesus’ wounds …
H: Those were later stories that were trying to convince people Jesus really did die and come back to life. There’s no reason to think there were any early stories about people touching the resurrected Jesus.
Harley’s mom smiled: “So you’re not convinced Christianity is true?” she asked
“Not yet,” Harley replied. “Magic could have happened, but I think there are better explanations where we don’t have to use magic as an explanation to support our ideas.”
Harley sat with his mom one night and she read to him from one of her favorite books, “David Copperfield.” The book was often too difficult for him, but he loved reading with his mom. She read:
“I was sensible of a mist of love and beauty about Dora, but of nothing else … it was all Dora to me. The sun shone Dora, and the birds sang Dora. The south wind blew Dora, and the wild flowers in the hedges were all Doras, to a bud. (Dickens, 2015, ch 33, Blissful).”
His mother said to him: “You fell in Love with Wendy from the book Peter Pan because she was the first person to ever have the name Wendy and you thought she was going to fly into your room one night and take you away to Neverland. How did the world show itself or appear to you then?
“Everything was alive and magical,” Harley said.
“Remember when you started taking allergy pills and you felt a little funny and the world seemed to have stronger colors than usual? Now imagine how a really strong drug can change the way you feel and what you experience.” His mom continues: “And Harley, when you have a headache or stomach ache, how does the world appear then?
“Everything shows itself in an irritating way. I want to go to my room and shut the world out.”
“Can you see why talking to someone as smart as Li’l Yoda about God is so fun and challenging? Trying to suggest to people that it’s possible they are only experiencing a god-filled world, that it’s just a trick their mind is doing, is like trying to convince someone they aren’t seeing what they’re seeing!”
“Then it’s impossible,” Harley laughed.
“Not impossible, just difficult. Certain kinds of doctors are very good at talking to confused people in such a way that they no longer believe they are being followed by strangers. The strangers aren’t really following them, that’s just how they appear to the patient. It’s a trick their mind is playing on them. People called “Deprogrammers” are good at getting people to stop believing things they once believed with all of their hearts.”
“Can doctors and deprogrammers use their skills to dispel religion?”
“They can and do, but many of the doctors are also believers in religion themselves. Like I said, it’s a fun challenge.”
Harley thought for a bit and asked: “Mom, do you believe in God?”
“Most people seem to. Many of them are far more intelligent than me, so maybe they’re right. Let’s say for the sake of argument that I do, but am open to your questions … ! Spend time with Li’l Yoda, go back and forth with his ideas like Jedi dueling with light sabers. It’s great sport!”
Finally, his mom said as she wished him good night: “Harley, you are very special. You have been born with a tremendous special gift, a dis-Ability of not being able to remember very well. This may seem bad at first, but you will learn to use this gift, and in a world full of people lost in the details, you will be able to focus on the important information and see the forest despite the trees. The key to a wise and thoughtful life is to always sniff out when ideas don’t make sense and to question them – kind of like the main character in the picture book ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes.’ The great thinker Socrates said ‘I know that I know nothing. I am neither wise with their wisdom, nor foolish with their foolishness.’ “
“I sort of understand, Harley said – but not really.”
“I know,” his mother replied, “and I’m very proud of you because you recognize what you don’t know”
Darth Harley and L’il Yoda
Harley and Li’l Yoda talked that recess, and many others after, and became good friends. They talked about video games, God, TV, sports, and music, to name a few. Harley would always go home and tell his parents about his conversations with Li’l Yoda, and his parents were delighted he made a friend. Harley couldn’t always remember the details of his discussion, his memory being no where near as good as Li’l Yoda’s, but he thought he remembered the important parts and while Harley didn’t have many ideas of his own to say about God, or even if there was a God or gods, he thought he came up with some good questions. For instance, he and L’il Yoda discussed:
(Baby Yoda/Grogu image Wiki fair use: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grogu)
1 (Li’l Yoda) Science isn’t exactly sure how everything began, so God must have created everything
(Darth Harley) A long time ago they didn’t know why the sun moved across the sky, so they guessed a god was making it move. Is it a “good guess” to say we’re not exactly sure how everything began, so an invisible, magical leprechaun must be responsible?
2 (LY) When I die, my soul will live on forever
(DH) Why do you think we have a soul? When a part of the brain gets destroyed, that part of the mind stops working. What would be left over that would be a soul?
3 (LY) God is our loving father and wants us to always think about Him, worship Him, and stay close to Him.
(DH) A father may want those things when you’re young, but doesn’t a loving Father want you to grow up and discover your own place in the world, not having to think about Him and depend on Him for everything?
4 (LY) God Can Do Anything.
(DH) Why can’t He show up now and say “Hi” to us?
5 (LY) No one can see or hear him when God talks to me, but he always does, and even helps me to think what to say, like right now.
(DH) My imaginary friends talk to me and we have great times, but they’re not real.
6 (LY) God is Love.
(DH) Then why is there so much animal and human suffering? That’s not love.
7 (LY) There’s no suffering in heaven
(DH) Then why don’t we just start off there? That still makes things more confusing. If God made heaven without suffering, then he could have made this life without it. Again, that’s not love.
8 (LY) God always answers prayer, just that sometimes the answer is no
(DH) We know heat makes water boil because it always works. Prayer and good results go together sometimes, but it seems to be an accident, not that prayer works.
9 (LY) The doctors were sure my mom wasn’t going to get healthy again, but she suddenly did. It must have been God!
(DH) Isn’t that like saying it’s almost impossible to win the jackpot when you buy a lottery ticket, but someone won last night, so it must have been God?
10 (LY) Some religious people (not me) say God hates LGBTQ people.
(DH) Who you love isn’t a choice. Is heterosexuality a choice? If God hates someone for something extremely important to the person that they didn’t choose and can’t change, then God is Evil
11 (LY) We’re not that different. We both question the belief of most Gods. I don’t believe in Zeus. You just disbelieve in one more God than I do.
(DH) What happens when you question and look at your God the same way you question and look at Zeus?
12 (LY) God helped me to win my hockey championship!
(DH) Does that mean God made the other team lose?
13 (LY) Don’t you want to live in heaven forever?
(DH) It would probably be like living in Disneyland forever, great for a while, but eventually you would get tired of it.
(2) THE LEGEND OF DARTH HARLEY Episode 1: Young Darth Harley, Bark Lord of the Sith, and the “DOG-MATIC” Jedi Li’l Yoda
“If one is to understand the great mystery, one must study all its aspects, not just the dog-matic narrow view of the Jedi.” (Darth Sidious: Star Wars Episode 3, Revenge of the Sith)
*** image Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1884697
Harley had a different childhood from most kids. His parents worked far away from other people in a deep, dark forest, and so Harley never even met other kids until his parents moved and he started school in grade 5. His mother and father said to him that his teachers will give him a neverending supply of information about every subject imaginable, and some teachers will think the best students are the ones that can remember the most information the quickest. But, Harley’s parents said, what they wanted him to practice the most was sniffing out “dog-ma”, to see when people are saying things without good reasons supporting what they say. To help Harley understand this, his parents shared with him a book about the adventures of invisible leprechauns. Harley’s mother and father asked: “Do you see the difference between learning a lot of information about the leprechauns and their adventures, and asking for evidence that such leprechauns actually exist?” Harley’s parents said if you keep this idea close to your heart, the difference between little questions and big questions, you will begin to see the difference between “Intelligent” people who have and play with tons of information, and “Wise” people who know how to ask questions.
It was very difficult for Harley when he first started school, because even though he spoke the same language as the other kids, in a way he didn’t. When they talked about the video games they liked, or the tv shows and movies they watched, Harley didn’t know any of them and so mostly just listened with some confusion and tried to understand what the kids were talking about. Happily, the more Harley listened, the more he understood, and as he started watching the shows the other kids watched and playing the games they played, he felt he was becoming more like them. Harley got sad some times because he couldn’t remember details as well as the other kids, but his mother always reminded him that he should always try to figure out what the few important ideas are in the galaxy of details, and keep those close to his heart.
One day something happened that made Harley feel really different from the other kids. The teacher wanted to have a discussion about something called “pluralism” where each student was supposed to talk for a minute about the religion they celebrated. Harley sort of understood what religion and God was from listening to the other kids, but his parents had never really bothered to mention God, so he was eager to learn and question the other kids about God. Harley said this to his teacher, and his teacher paired him up with a very smart student at recess, Li’l Yoda, who would be his friend and talk with him about God. His teacher quietly whispered to Harley that he didn’t have to agree with Li’l Yoda, just listen and try to understand – always asking questions if Li’l Yoda wasn’t being clear.
A long time ago, a thousand year before Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, the Sith were fighting among themselves, and had become weak. Because of this, the Jedi nearly destroyed them.
Then, the Dark Lord Darth Bane emerged with a new plan for the Sith. The Sith would combat the Jedi with intelligence, cunning, and reason, rather than power.
It took a thousand years, but eventually the Sith Lord Sheev Palpatine, also known as Darth Sidious, outsmarted the Jedi and nearly took control of the galaxy. His two great defeats came when his apprentice, Darth Vader, and his granddaughter Rey turned against him.
All was thought lost among the Sith, until a new Dark Lord surfaced: Darth Harley, Bark Lord of the Sith. Darth Harley was rumored to be so wise, that he even figured out a way to get his family and friends to clean up after him when he pooped! Darth Harley challenged the “dog-ma” of the jedi!
These are bleak times, with superstition and thoughtless beliefs taking over everywhere. Become Darth Harley’s apprentice and use the power of wisdom to bring reason to a galaxy of confusion!
***Darth Harley Thinking Tip: When you really need to concentrate, pull up your hoodie to block the world out and focus. That’s why they put blinders on horses!