On the Origin of Cars
Also sponsored by Earth Pendant at PeacefulJewelry
Or the disprovability of certain delusions
Meet Matty. He's a nice guy. He was born in Jacksonville, Florida, and has always lived there. He was raised fundamentalist Christian. And he is a bit daff.
Matty believes that God creates cars (and buses and trucks). Matty does not own a car. He stocks shelves at a local convenience store and lives in the same room he grew up in. He is not much for coming up with his own ideas. He knows the earth was created by God in seven days, that Satan is real, and many other things thanks to the Church that he gives 10% of his meager wages to. But that God creates cars, much like God created the rest of the world, was his own idea.
Although Matty did not share this belief with many people, it is unusual enough that I heard about him. So I made a point to visit him on my last trip to Jacksonville (where I grew up).
First, I determined, through ordinary conversations with him and his supervisor, that Matty is not mentally ill or even particularly mentally deficient. Matty is a good worker who rarely makes mistakes in his assigned tasks. He even has displayed flexibility at times, dealing with customers, vendors, and unexpected situations.
Hence, he was ideal for my experiment in education. He agreed to spend some time with me after work. I told him I wanted to learn more about how God runs the world.
First thing I took him to my car, which was a rental sedan. "It's a rental," I said. "It's a Ford."
Since he did not volunteer his opinion, I asked. "I always wondered where cars came from. I mean, I know I'm renting this onet, but where do they really come from?"
"God made them," Matty volunteered. "But they aren't in the Bible, because it hasn't been updated since John wrote Revelations."
"Sure, God makes everything," I said agreeably, not using my usual vocabulary saying that Everything and Nature are two names for the same thing. "But humans come from other humans, and chickens come from eggs, and I've seen houses built by constructions workers."
Matty explained, "There are houses and chickens and children in the Bible. God created cars, and then he showed some men how to find them."
"So people find cars, and then they sell them, or rent them."
Matty's face brightened. "That's right."
He was happy to get in a car with me and chat about the Bible while I drove. Matty was almost as familier with life in the time of Moses and Jesus as he was with his tiny triangular world of his mother's home, his church, and the store he worked in. He had heard of evolution and knew it was the work of the devil. He knew about dinosaurs, but believed they were a recent creation and died in the Great Flood.
When we arrived at the Ford car factory, I explained to him that God would not want him to be shocked by what he was about to see. The factory people gave us a nice tour.
Matty had become very quiet. I told him my theory about Henry Ford and others learning to strap motors to horseless carriages around 1900, and how cars evolved over time as as engineers figured out better ways to do things. He thanked me for the ride when I dropped him off at his mother's house.
I had one of my Jacksonville friends check on Matty a few weeks later. I wanted to make sure I had not done him any damage, as well as to see if his thoughts about the origin of cars had changed.
Matty still believes cars are one of God's miracles. But he understands that they are built by God's workers in factories. He is saving up to buy a used one. And he is going to see the world, starting with the town of St. Augustine, where Spaniards built a fort a long, long time ago.
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