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A conversation is recounted in the book # Shantaram  in which the character, Khaderbhai, says: “There is no such thing as believing in #G...

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Wednesday, 13 April 2016


Have you ever noticed how many sportsmen point a finger heavenwards after they’ve scored a goal, nailed a putt, made a century or done something else special on the sports field and thanked God for the assistance?

Which is all well and good until someone on the opposing team scores a goal and then also thanks and acknowledges God. And that of course then leads to a few questions such as:

·         Is it the same God they are thanking?
·         If so, is God just balancing the books by letting them each score a goal?
·         If it’s a different God for each player or each team, do you have to assume that the winning team has a stronger God on its side?
·         Does God actually care who wins or that someone should score a try, a goal, a touch-down or a century?
·         Is God really interested in rugby? Or does he care whether you make par, birdie or bogie on the golf course.

In South Africa we used to have an enormous thug on the rugby field called Bakkies Botha, known to his mates as “the Enforcer”. He would generally hurt people and oftentimes had a higher penalty count against him than anyone else in the team on any given day. And yet he was the one who would generally lead prayers of thanks after a match which had been won. Really? Was God a part of that? Or was it just that part of God’s plan was to give people the choice to hurt each other or not, and then let them live with whatever karmic consequences might follow each choice until they got Life’s lessons? If I was God I would have kicked Bakkies Botha’s butt, and those who behaved like him, but perhaps that’s why I’m not God.

The problem isn’t of course confined to sportsmen. In all religious wars the protagonists on each side have believed God was supporting them. Even when the wars aren’t religion-based, soldiers on both sides often pray to the same God. That of course must present God with a bit of a problem: Which soldier is less or more deserving of being killed? Little do they know that God apparently doesn’t judge, so he is unlikely to make a choice about who should die and who shouldn’t. He’d just rather leave them to slug it out and get their lessons from the combat.

There’s no real problem in believing that God gives you strength, courage, kindness or whatever other attributes you appreciate about yourself. But I do think there’s a problem when you believe that God is more of a Manchester United fan than a Liverpool fan (and that he might change allegiances from season to season).

1 comment:

  1. To my mind I always think that they are thanking God for their talents rather than thanking God for their winning ways. There is a difference in attitude....you can also lose and point your finger heavenward and say thank you for encouraging me so that when all was lost I did not give up but I did my best because you are my God. As Pieter de Villiers is purported to have said "Winning is just like losing .....it's just better"


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