Do you ever tell people about your fantasies? I do, on occasions.
Sometimes, it's gotten me somewhere. Other times, things did not work
out as I hoped. I remember one woman's comment, very deflating: "Don,
if people were interested in your fantasies, they wouldn't be
Nonetheless, I want to tell you about one of my recurring fantasies.
Don't worry; it has nothing to do with sex.
It's about time travel. Nothing grandiose, like having a chat with
Socrates or interviewing Napoleon—just a reverse journey back to a few
childhood scenes. My fantasy returns to 1946, 47 or 48 when I was in
3rd, 4th or 5th grade at St. Barnabas School in Southwest
Philadelphia. I had teachers named Sister DeChantal, Sister Lucy and
In the fantasy, I would ask questions in religion class. Nobody ever
asked an original question during those years. We were assigned
questions to ask! And we were expected to write out the answers—and
know them for tests later in the day.
Now, after what seems a century or two, I have many questions—all
original, not assigned. What fun it would be to put a few of my today
questions to the good nuns of many yesterdays ago. How would they
reply? Would they provide answers, or would my questions puzzle, shock
or offend and be referred to higher authorities, the parish priests?
Or, would they just beat the hell out of me for being Satan's little
I don't have any specific questions in mind for these fantasies, but I
can make up a few without a moment's hesitation. Nothing profound—I'm
genuinely interested in what the nuns of that time would have said
that never would have occurred to me then because we were to memorize,
not think. For instance, questions such as:
Why does God desire my worship?
Why does he welcome sacrifices?
Is he in difficult circumstances?
Is he poor or hungry?
How do my works satisfy him? I am (was) a little boy clueless about
the nature of things—he was (and presumably, still is and always will
be the nuns would say) the infinite, all-powerful lord of the
universe. I'm a grain of sand and he is everywhere and eternal. Why
How can we know that he is who the nuns say he is? I heard other
adults are not even Catholic but say God favors them? Who's right?
Is it really true that God "gives rain for praise, gives sunshine for
prayer and blesses a boy simply because he kneels?"
I did not say this was my only fantasy—I have others having nothing to
do with boyhood time travel, nuns, religion or God(s) and would be
glad to share a few, depending on one thing or another (e.g., are you
female, cute and open-minded?). But, I remember that woman's comment
long ago, so I won't volunteer any more of my fantasies. Unless I
change my mind.
Donald B. Ardell is the Well Infidel. He favors evidence over faith, reason over revelation and meaning and purpose over spirituality. His enthusiasm for reason, exuberance and liberty are reflected in his books (14), newsletter (566 editions of a weekly report) and lectures across North America and a dozen other countries. Write Don at firstname.lastname@example.org