This praying-to-God moment at the end of the game kind of reminds me of all those who pray to God before the “game,” putting in their request for a specific outcome that will benefit themselves or their “team” (organization, group or other designation) as if they somehow have a direct line to “the powers that be” in the heavens and that their prayers can sway the chief miracle working Big Guy in the sky up high over to their side.
Which brings me to the way many religious people operate. If God is FOR your “team” (religion), then he would have to be AGAINST the other “teams” (religions). So, following along those lines, if one fervently prays for a specific outcome, and gets it, it must obviously mean that one is acting in keeping with God’s will, because it worked! Following down that path a little farther, one would probably believe that God is a fan of just one particular religion, and obviously THAT religion is the one that HAS to WIN! (I used to be Catholic; I was taught that Catholicism is the only one true religion. Many of my friends were Jewish, and they all felt just as sure about their own faith.) If indeed that “oneness” were true, then one would probably believe that no person of any other religion would ever be allowed into heaven (I know people who still believe this) and if one cared about bringing unbelievers (those who are not of the religion you subscribe to) into heaven, one would be obligated to convert them so they would not be lost. Or, maybe they’d go for the alternative reason for “converting” people: to simply get more people to give glory to God in the way that God would want it, at least from their perspective. Hence, consider those teams of two on bicycles who show up at our door every now and then trying their best to convert us, and the fire-breathing preachers who preach hell and damnation to all who won’t come forward and mouth the words they want them to say. And those “crusaders” are in addition to those radical Muslims who believe that death in this life is the answer for all those who choose some other belief system — no waiting for them to get to the other side to then be kicked out of heaven by the god they feel sure is on THEIR side!
So, for those who hold fast to their belief being what God has decreed, first they must have determined for themselves (probably with the help of “well-educated” religious leaders) what God wants; then they would feel obligated to tell others what God wants…and insists on; then they would demand that all people follow those dictates as given to them either through their holy book or through their teachers; and then some would go on to say that they have no choice but to kill those who do not follow their way, because their way is God’s way. And obviously, God’s will must come first!
The problem with that line of thinking is NOT that God’s will should NOT come first, but that sometimes people put words into God’s mouth, thoughts into his mind, and order each other around in his name, forgetting that his very nature has nothing to do with hatred or prejudice or force.
Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Common sense tells us that hating only adds more hate to the world, no matter who it is from or for what purpose. But the good news is that even a tiny lit candle can add light to the darkness.
While we all have our own beliefs and our own way of expressing and/or living those beliefs, my personal view is that we should not make fun of each other’s beliefs. A “belief” is just that: something totally believed, so making fun of a belief is making fun of the person doing the believing; and in the case of religion, it’s also making fun of the god they believe in and all the “holy men” who proclaim that “truth.”
To state what one sees wrong with another’s beliefs, along with the reasons why, is like a critique and a pathway to dialog. True, those you want to dialog with may not be receptive even to offer you their best arguments in favor of their beliefs, but they will possibly see you are going for some logical debate rather than just making fun of them. Insulting their beliefs, on the other hand, is like calling someone names or saying their mother is ugly or their father wears ladies underwear. None of that does any good and only hurts those who were specifically ridiculed.
Religion will probably always be that one subject that makes people want to back off. Politics, however, is probably an arena many deliberately go to for a spirited and almost total-mind-challenging submersion in an old-fashioned debate that never gets won, depending on who the contenders are, of course.
Practically anything goes in those kinds of debates, just so long as all parties know that God is not a Seahawks fan, a Green Bay Packers fan, a Democrat or a Republican.
If you must bring God into your debate, then just thank him for still being free enough to think for yourself and come to your own conclusions. After all, if someone else does your thinking for you, you may well end up changing teams!