Friday, January 29, 2010

FAITH-BASED SPORTS - ARE YOU SERIOUS?

I'm nauseous. And I'm sure I'm about to get controversial here.

But I'm tired of it all.

And that's because there are those in this world that for some reason believe that religion and sports go together. They go together about as much as government and religion do. They don't. As much I as I love and respect the heck out of Kurt Warner, this statement today makes me sick:




"I've been humbled every day that I woke up the last 12 years and amazed that God would choose to use me to do what he's given me the opportunity to do."

God chose you for what exactly? You believe God chose you to throw a leather ball across a gridiron in a game that is being proven to do a little less than mash players' brains into an early grave. You believe this is God's work? That with all the things going on on this planet, the unimaginable suffering in Haiti, the undenialable cruelty in Sudan, North Korea and other corners of the world, that God chose you to throw a football and make millions because why? Because you might give some of it to charity? Because you might distract people for awhile with your talents? So you're saying you're God's circus performer, a jester if you will for his masses?

I understand being grateful for your gifts. And being humbled, certainly. But I'm sorry -- if our God is actually sitting up in his universe appointing people to be great pigskin tossers, than I've got a huge problem, and it doesn't just involve rewriting the prayer book.

The egotism and arrogance involved in assuming that your career, your gifts, were pre-ordained by God in some sort of grand plan as it seems implied by not only Warner's constant reference to God after sporting events, is just one of the many ways religion is being misused in my mind.

God has nothing to do with it Kurt. Sure, you have a gift you were born with, and perhaps God made you a football player. But he didn't choose anything for you. He gave you a great arm to do with what you would. He gave you terrific hand-eye coordination to use at your disposal. And you chose football and sports as a way to best access and use those gifts. But don't go patting yourself on the back that God is eyeing you and your family as pre-ordained special folks because you can take a lick and keep on ticking. Hey, so can a Timex.

Every time I hear an athlete give thanks to God for allowing him/her to succeed I nearly lose my mind. Call me dubious enough as it is about an omniscient presence because of the thousand questions or so it brings up about free will, but don't tell me that God is concerned about how the Arizona Cardinal organization does. Most humans have choices, to do or not do what they want with their talents. They can choose to use them at the expense of someone else, or at their behest. They can step on people on the way to their personal goals, or elevate those around them as they rise. I'd like to think God smiles on those who use the latter of both those statements, but I know he doesn't punish those who use the former. At least not in this lifetime. Cause it makes me wonder if Steve McNair said the same thing before he found himself at the end of crazy young woman's gun muzzle? Certainly, God's chosen profession for him had a lot to do with his untimely end then.

As far as I'm concerned, instead of thanking God after you perform well on the field, why don't you pro athletes donate your salary to something positive after that great game? After all, men are humbled before God, and thus, money isn't the real goal here, is it? Donate your salary, and do it anonymously (the greatest way to give charity according to Maimonides) so as to defer the spotlight of credit.

Then, if you want to get up and thank God for 'choosing' you to hit this home run or score that touchdown, I'll be a heck of a lot more apt to listen.