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If you bring up children in any part of the world, it is almost impossible to protect them from religious influences. In the Western hemisphere, for example, they will sooner or later be exposed to Christian horror stories like Abraham's attempt to murder his son, God's slaying of first-born children or the hell he has prepared for most humans. The only way of damage control is to explain to them that these are just made-up stories to scare people, just like Little Red Riding Hood or Hansel and Gretel.
Another aspect are the Christian festivals, of which Christmas is by far the most popular and inevitable one. But rather than avoiding nativity scenes and Christmas trees (which are a pagan custom, anyway), we should take a leaf out of the Christians' book. When they conquered Europe and slaughtered those who wouldn't convert, they didn't take the people's festivals from them - they only changed the mythology behind those festivals. For example, the festival of the winter solstice which celebrated the rising of the Sun from its lowest point after lingering in the Southern Cross for three days simply was changed to Christmas. Let's just take it back!

A long time ago, when children were taken seriously, Robert and his wife Susannah were about to go to bed. It was a cold winter night, and Susannah was expecting another child; when she got out of her seat, she noticed that it was about to arrive!
Robert was a doctor, and he woke up his servant, telling him to get the coach ready to bring him and Susannah to his practice.
Then he woke the housemaid and asked her to look after their other five children while they were away.
The coach was waiting, and as soon as the two got in, the servant took off. The coach rode at full speed, despite the icy roads, until one of the horses slipped and the coach crashed into a nearby barn.
There was no time left. All Robert could do was take off his coat and put in on the ground to make his wife comfortable as she gave birth to the child.
As the happy parents wrapped the baby boy in blankets, they noticed three strange men standing by the door. They were dressed in extravagant clothes and had brought a lot of expensive presents.
'Who are you?' Robert asked.
'We are three kings from the East. I am a Jewish king, this is a Christian king, and this is a Muslim king.'
'And what do you want?'
'We have followed a star in the sky. According to the ancient prophecy, it led us to the saviour of mankind - it is here, and now the truth shall be revealed to us.'
The three men knelt down in front of the manger in which Baby Darwin had been put, and they asked, 'Tell us, master, which is the right way to worship you? Judaism, Christianity or Islam?'
'Are you mad?' interrupted Susannah. 'He's an infant, he can't talk!'
'But we have been promised to get an answer here and now so we can make peace. For hundreds of years we have fought wars against each other, killing so many people, just to find out which is the right way to worship God.'
Richard gazed at them with a bewildered look. 'But - there is no God.'
'No God?' the kings shrieked. 'Does that mean we have killed all these people for nothing? Does that mean we could have lived peacefully together all these years?'
'It certainly does,' said Robert. 'But it is never too late to start.'
Now the three kings knelt before Robert, gave him their presents and thanked him: 'The prophecy was correct - we have found the saviour after all!'

When Baby Darwin grew up, his parents often told him of the strange men attending his birth. In those days, many people still believed in what they called God, an invisible man in the sky who supposedly created every creature on this planet with his bare hands, watches everything humans do, tells them to kill each other and has prepared a place of everlasting fire for most of them.
Darwin saw how much evil was done in the name of God, and how much adults and children were scared of him, and he made it his mission to prove that this God does not exist, so all people could live peacefully and free from fear.
He went on a voyage with a large ship, the HMS Beagle, and found a lot of animals that were only a little different from others. One example was a group of finchlike birds on the Galapagos Islands who are now called Darwin's finches. All these birds looked almost the same, but some were larger than others, and on every island they had a different beak that suited their needs: some had a long and thin beak with which they could reach and eat the pulp of a cactus, some had a smaller and thicker beak with which they could get at seeds in hard ground, some had a sharp and slender beak for catching insects, and so on.
This meant that there always is a slight change in every generation, and if that change is useful, it will be passed on in that family, while other families will pass on other changes. And over thousands of years, all these slight changes turn into really massive changes: the sparrow and the peacock both come from the same bird, the reindeer and the zebra come from the same mammal, and the chimpanzee and the human come from the same hominid. (A hominid was a manlike ape.)
This was called evolution, and it proved that living things were not created by somebody but come from other living things that lived before them.

When he returned home, Darwin had grown a large white beard and was celebrated as the saviour for having freed the people of their belief in God, although some still tried to cling to it - a few of them were priests, people who make a lot of money with the belief in God, while others said that God had created evolution as well, and some believed evolution was a trick God played on humans so they wouldn't believe in him.
One of those priests was Bishop Wilberforce who challenged Darwin. He said that red is the colour of the Devil (the Devil was believed to be another god who tried to overthrow the original God), and if Darwin put on a red suit, stood on the roof and claimed he was a saint, God would kill him.
Darwin accepted the challenge. In the freezing cold, he climbed up a ladder, stood on the bishop's roof and shouted, 'I'm Santa Claus!'
Nothing happened. Well, one thing did happen - the bishop removed the ladder, and Darwin was left on the roof. So he looked around and soon found another way to get down.
Bishop Wilberforce stood at his fireplace and said to his wife, 'That'll teach him! And if God doesn't kill him with a thunderbolt, he will certainly kill him with the cold.'
Suddenly they heard a noise from the fireplace. As they looked, they saw Darwin who had come down the chimney and said, 'I told you, there is no God.'
They both ran out of the house in terror and left their children behind, but Darwin took them to the corner shop and got them a lot of sweets and toys to play with while they waited for their parents' return.

Darwin died peacefully as an old man, but every year his life is celebrated by men who put on white beards and red suits, and who give sweets and toys to children.

And to answer the question your children have undoubtedly asked: yes, the horse and the servant were all right after the accident.


© 6253 RT (2012 CE) by Frank L. Ludwig