In the news, Mark McGwire admitted to steroid use through the 1990s and especially during the 99 season when he and some other baseball player were battling it out to earn the homerun crown.
To a guy like me, I could care less. Baseball and almost all American sports mean very little to me. Since I was young, I’ve compared American sports to a predominantly man’s religion (sexist I know). I’ve met women who are die-hard fans since I’ve moved to Chicago. But very rarely have I met women before who crack a cold one to watch a Sunday afternoon game.
The whole “comparison to a religion” thing, I get why that makes sense. I get why the religious say, “Atheism is a religion.” The religious say just about anything is a religion if it distracts a person from god worship.
The faithful are taught that anything that distracts from faith in god qualifies as idolatry. This is how the faithful interpret the ten commandments (Deut 5:7).
In their modern context, money, sex, sports, material goods like cars or houses, alcohol, drugs, stamp collecting … all these things qualify as “idols”, because they steal precious worship time from the heavenly father. They only say this on paper and in public. But if you called them out for idol worship, say, every week night when they turn on their glowing shrine to Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly, they don’t qualify. Partly because they think they are pastors sent from god.
Teaching that distractions from god is idol worship is what Christians are made to think.
But read that verse. New International Version says, “You shall have no other gods before (or besides) me.” Literally, this meant no other “gods” as in no other deities like Ra. Obviously, the poor illiterate Israelites had no access to food let alone sports stars or stamps. The Israelites were secularized and their access to gods was aplenty. They lived among many cultures. In Egypt, they would have been exposed Mafdet, Menhit, Meretseger, Meskhenet, Monthu, Min, Mnevis, Mut, Neith, Nekhbet, Nephthys, Nu, Nut, Osiris, Pakhet, Ptah or a slew of other deities. They had to be coerced to remove other gods from their pantheon, because the bronze age was rife with gods.
So baseball is a religion. And science worship is a religion. Laudee freakin’ da. So is stamp collecting and building model trains. Wrap your mind around it, and absolutely anything that distracts from deity worship is a religion. Straining on the commode is a religion for some.
Ye shall have no other poop strainers before me.
When the whole “climategate” thing went down, conservatives collectively foamed at the mouth attempting to destroy all notions of climate change. To their chagrin, it proved nothing. It got their gullible minions riled up, that’s about it.
I know people who make global warming jokes every time we talk. Have they ever studied global warming? They’ll admit no. Is it annoying? Yes.
Climate change is still occurring despite anyone’s best efforts to bat it down. But the “controversy” gave climate change a bad wrap. There are no data or documents available that can prove it to the faithful, because they, as Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
As long as the faithful do not see the results of years upon years of data and research, it’s not true, because that is what they hope for. But the irony is that what they have seen in the bible has convinced them there’s a god. How they interpret nature as “perfect” and “awesome” gives them the right to take that interpretation to the streets.
But while climategate has destroyed their perception of science, the faithful’s perception of baseball — despite McGwires deliberate dishonesty — will be solid and unyeilding. The faithful will still spend a few hundred dollars on game tickets for their families. They will drop a few hundred more buying pop, beers, cotton candy, $7 hot dogs and popcorn, peanuts and cracker jacks.
This is certainly a hypocrisy within their ranks. It’s not huge. It’s just big enough for me to spend some time musing about it.