Betcha thought I was gonna talk about fantasy novels! But no such luck–we fantasy story-tellers can’t compete with some of the fantasies that are floating around out there in the real world. The difference is that our stories are plainly packaged as fantasy, while these other products of the imagination try to pass for reality.
Here are four of my favorite real-world fantasies. (Others will occur to the thoughtful reader.)
1. “A good person will be good, no matter what he believes.” This is a distortion of the Christian notion of “common grace” shared by all mankind, born of a wish to get out of owing God anything. Try to imagine a benevolent jihadist, just before he detonates his suicide belt amid a crowd of children, or a kindly SS man wishing people “a nice trip” as they’re herded into the cattle car, and you’ll see what I mean. Humanists also invoke this fantasy when they try to take credit for the moral and cultural capital built up by Christendom over the centuries.
2. “Our leaders know what they’re doing.” One hardly knows whether to laugh until one cries, or to reach for the barf bag… It seems incredible that anyone still believes this fairy-tale. Our leaders can’t even manage relatively simple tasks, like jumping hotel chambermaids or broadcasting lewd pictures of themselves, without making a total hash of it. To entrust them with war and peace, trillions of dollars, and the destinies of nations seems downright suicidal.
3. “Scientists are honest and objective seekers of truth.” Actually what they’re seeking is bigger grants, bigger paychecks, fame, and political power for themselves–and they’ll do just about anything to get it. If you can believe in the objectivity and honesty of the scientific establishment today, you shouldn’t have much difficulty believing in flying, fire-breathing dragons.
4. “Our freedom under the U.S. Constitution rests on the separation of church and state.” I’m always astounded by how many people believe this. The phrase “separation of church and state” is not in the Constitution! Honest. Look it up, read the document. As easy as it is to obtain a copy of the Constitution, and to read it, people will prattle on about “separation of church and state” without having the slightest idea of what the Constitution says or means.
How many of these fantasies do you believe in?
One is one too many.