A VISIT WITH THE LEPRECHAUN; or, the Fallacy of Religion by Joel Sattler
There was a day that I saw a leprechaun.
I lived on the edge of a park. From my back window I could always hear the sound of Sligo Creek running down to the Anacostia River, gurgling through the rocks, under the big poplars, oaks and elms.
There was a pathway, a narrow trail about a quarter-mile long, that led from where the stream crossed East-West Highway, up to the back of the place. I knew it by heart, having walked it many many many times.
One night, in the dark, I was carefully picking my way along, when a leprechaun suddenly appeared right in front of me, standing in my way.
I stood stock still. I said to myself: “This can’t be real!”
He looked at me, I looked at him. The light was very dim.
I wasn’t frightened, but I was alarmed. Still, there was no threat, I felt no danger. But I didn’t make a move.
This went on for a number of minutes.
if I had, at that point, turned around and walked away, if I had backtracked,
I would believe to this day that I had actually seen a leprechaun, and no one would have been able to talk me out of it, no one could ever convince me otherwise, and I would have been dead sure of what had happened.
After all, “Seeing is believing.”
And, if you can’t believe the evidence of your own eyes, what can you believe?
But the little man got down on all fours and skittered away and an amazing visual transformation took place and the leprechaun turned into….
My eyes had insisted on making sense of what it saw, despite of [or, perhaps, because of] the darkness, and my brain had insisted on interpreting what my eyes had seen, and my heart insisted on thumping.
But they were wrong.
This is the fallacy of religion: that it depends on belief, takes hearsay as evidence, and faith as proof.
But there is nothing provable in religion, and its history is merely mythology.
Religion insists on
perceiving the imperceptible,
conceiving of the inconceivable,
receiving the unacceptable,
and effing the ineffable.
It is human nature to attempt to understand the universe.
It can’t be done, but we try anyway.
We make models of the universe and then to try to understand the models.
If that doesn’t work, we make models of the models.
If that doesn’t work, we make models of the models of the models.
If that doesn’t work, we pretend the models are real, and we put our faith in them.
It’s not that religion is a lie, but merely that it is untrue .
And, hey, it works!
Well, it works for most people.
Who can argue with that???
[someday, I’ll tell you the story of how I saw a ghost!]