Last Wednesday I had the misfortune of watching the UEFA Champions League final. Before you immediately look for the X in the top right corner of your browser window, rest assured this isn’t a football rant!
I support Liverpool FC, who were defeated by AC Milan. Now, I thought losing in a European cup final would take some beating in terms of pain, but funnily enough, Milan’s Brazilian superstar Kaka had other plans. At the end of the game, he took his club jersey off to reveal a white T-shirt that read “I belong to Jesus”. Ah, whole new levels of pain.
I think anyone who believes that an almighty sovereign being who created the universe, and oversees the lives of 6 billion people on the planet, whilst at the same time being involved in a battle of literally biblical proportions against the forces of evil for the salvation of the human race, really cares about the result of a football match, is a severely deluded conceited individual.
I can just imagine God™ now: “All those millions of starving children…oh what’s this, yet another footballer crossing himself as he walks on the pitch…hmmm… eeny, meeny, miny, moe….I think I’ll give Kaka a goal.”
There are so many reasons why this kind of superstition quasi-OCD behaviour is ridiculous.
First, how bloody self-important and conceited are you if you think that God (if he exists) has nothing more important to do that make sure you play well in a game of your chosen sport?! I bet after setting the Big Bang in motion God could barely wait those 15 billion years until Jonny Christian showed up on the scene and needed help scoring a goal at football.
Second: the first point above is really magnified when one considers that almost ALL Christian footballers of any real belief ALL cross themselves when they walk on the pitch. And how many sportsmen attribute their win to God?!
So, if you’re a deluded Christian (like Kaka), you’re not only arrogant enough to think that God is going to favour you over all the other issues in the world, but he’s also going to favour you over OTHER CHRISTIANS who’ve also asked for his help?! How does God go about deciding whether to help Christian A on Team X or Christian B on Team Y? Toss a coin? Ip-dip? It’s just not clear to me. Maybe it’s the person who prays the most??
I think you’ve got to be a really self-deluded narcissist to honestly think that asking your “god” for help at sports is going to be anything other than the superstitious egotistical bullshit that it is. It’s the epitome of arrogance and is just plain irrational.
Praying for sports seems to take the proverbial biscuit, and then regurgitate it. But when you think about it, praying for anything at all makes no sense. For the sake of the following, let’s assume that God™ does exist:
God already knows what you want before you ask for it. So asking for it is irrelevant! If he knows you need/want something then he’d just give it to you anyway. Some might say that he wants you to ask for it first, but this isn’t really a good justification. Does God see humans as pets that need to beg to get a treat?? “Stand up. Roll over. Speak. Good boy!! Ok I’ll cure your cancer.”
Besides, doesn’t God know the future anyway? Nothing happens without God’s knowledge and approval, yes? So asking God to change what he has ordained for the future is pointless. Everything that happens does so according to his will, so who are you to try and change God’s will? In fact, trying to change God’s will is a bad thing surely! Or is the Christian claiming that they know better than God?!
Third, beseeching a supernatural being for interference is useless for another excellent reason: Epicurus observed that God(s) would not be perfect if human actions and desires could influence them. To be perfect is to be unchangeable, un-improvable. If God did something based on human desire, it would imply that there was something better that could be done that he wouldn’t have otherwise done. But for a perfect being this makes no sense.
Finally, (to lend slightly from skepdic.com), the idea of supernatural beings interfering with human affairs makes our understanding of the world irrelevant: imagine if Roger Federer wins Wimbledon 2007 (again) and claims that God helped him. Do we disqualify him?? If Filipo Inzahgi scores the winning goal in the Champions League final with help from Jesus, or Michael Jordan’s incredible prowess was due to supernatural assistance, what is the point of sport?
There would be no point humans competing against each other, since some of them have God’s help and some don’t.
In fact, the whole world would be pointless. How would we make sense of anything? A hurricane might just be a force of nature, of it could be God being angry. A lottery win might be blind luck, or it could be Jesus rewarding someone. Being hit by a bus or falling in love might be the end result of a necessary sequence of events, or it could be God deciding that your time was up, or that you should meet your soul mate. In this world, there’d be no point trying to make sense of anything or looking for causality.
Why bother trying to understand how stars are formed, or how the human brain works, or what makes a better athlete? Supernatural beings can just snap their fingers and do whatever they want with our universe, so the laws of nature mean nothing. Cause and effect means nothing.
Fortunately, we don’t live in that kind of world; supernatural beings don’t interfere with our lives, and the Gods of human myths and legends we can safely say are just imaginary. The laws of the universe are pretty much ubiquitous. The universe we see is one governed by mysterious or mundane natural forces that have no sentiment or conscience. The universe is indifferent to humans.
There is no god to thank or rebel against. No one to thank for our good luck or bad luck. No one to pray to when we really really want something. No one watching over us to keep us safe and warm and protect us from our enemies. We are on our own.
Perhaps people who like to believe that a god listens to them and that they’re his special one have bliss in ignorance. Personally, I’m happy not to be deluded. I’m happy to see the world how it really is, and not have the arrogance or conceit to imagine that an almighty sky-creature sits around waiting for me to make a request or tell It how amazing It is.
The only thing we’ve really got is our minds, our bodies, and other people. And if you want to do anything in this life you’ve got to do it using a combination of the three things above. No one belongs to Jesus, you belong to yourself! Cut out the superstition self-gratifying prayer and kneeling! Get on your feet and make your own actions. Take credit for your own accomplishments and responsibility for your errors – don’t pass them onto an imaginary being.
Time to grow up and be an adult; be a human being. Look at the world as it really is.