04. Playaday: Obliteration

#59   If you could obliterate something, what would it be?

Setting: A panel discussion program.

Characters:

The Moderator

The Reverend

The Doctor

The Teacher

The Scientist

MODERATOR
Welcome to “Expert Opinion.” Today’s experts are a Reverend, a Doctor, a Teacher and a Scientist. And today’s question:  If you could obliterate something, what would it be? Who wants to answer first?

REVEREND

That’s easy. I’d eliminate evil. It’s said that love of money is the root of all evil, but I’d go right for evil.

DOCTOR

Sickness, for sure.

TEACHER

Ignorance.

SCIENTIST

I’ll pass for now.

MODERATOR
Evil, sickness, ignorance, and a pass. All right then. Now if you’re joining us for the first time, you know that each panelist is allowed to ask a question of another panelist. They may ask only one question, and any or all questions may be asked of each panelist. So question away. Yes, Teacher?

DOCTOR

I’d like to ask the Reverend who decides what is evil?

REVEREND

The holy scriptures are very clear about what is evil. I know that there are misinterpretations of scripture going on all the time, but those of us who study it carefully are more than qualified to determine what is evil and what is good.

MODERATOR

Thank you. Next?

REVEREND

Well, I’d like the Doctor to tell me who decides what sickness is.

DOCTOR

The basic diseases, of course: cancers, heart disease, diabetes. And infections of all kinds. And mental illnesses, and disabilities.

SCIENTIST

We’ve been down that road before. Besides, artists. . . 

MODERATOR
No comments, please until the next round. Next question.

SCIENTIST

Ignorance, Teacher. Why ignorance?

TEACHER

Well, you’re a scientist, so you should know. Ignorance is the root of all evil, in my experience. It’s where prejudice and resistance to progress come from. And I have a question for the Reverend. Would you alone decide what is evil?

REVEREND

Oh no. I’m certain that if I were allowed to obliterate evil, the Lord Himself would decide.

MODERATOR

Now for the comment round. Each panelist may make one comment, either directed at another panelist, or in support of their own viewpoint. Who would like to begin?

DOCTOR

A minute ago, the Scientist implied that the elimination of disease would lead to eugenics and the demise of the arts. A small price to pay, I think, for the well-being of the whole population.

REVEREND

I partially agree with the Doctor, though I certainly believe that illness is given to man as a test, as a punishment, or as a vehicle to reveal the glory of God.

TEACHER

And the Reverend’s comment confirms my opinion exactly. Appalling ignorance that leads to witch hunts and wars and all manner of suffering.

SCIENTIST

However. There is ignorance of that kind, and there is another kind of ignorance as well. The kind of ignorance that causes people to say “I wonder why. . .” All great discoveries arise because of that kind of ignorance, the kind of ignorance that may be overcome with curiosity and experiement. We are here today, sitting in comfortable chairs, using microphones, wearing useful clothing, because of that kind of ignorance. And so I will answer today’s question by saying that if I could obliterate something, it would not be ignorance, but certainty. Certainty is the problem with the Reverend’s response, and the problem with the Doctor’s. Certainty is the root of all evil. I am certain that. . . 

MODERATOR

Thank you all. I see our time is up. Join me again next week for “Expert Opinion.”

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