Today’s open missive written to the wide, wide world is actually a reaction to someone else’s blog post. You can read the original here. Go ahead. Go read. I’ll wait. OK, now that you’ve carefully and thoughtfully read that other post you can either decide to read this or you can just decide you don’t give a hoot about either post and go on with your life. Either way, going on with life is a good thing just as reading is so whatever your decision, I stand behind you. If in doubt, Magic 8-ball can help.
The article I pointed you to is from my friend Grant. He’s a devout Christian and as a result he disagrees with me about a lot of things that he thinks are really important and that I think are just nice, fun(?) things to do on Sunday. No matter in the end though since I love a debate more than … well, just about anything else. I will say that on many levels I think that by responding it’s just possible that we may discover that as contentious as the religious debate is in this country we’re not really all THAT far apart on most things. Issues of salvation aside, we’re all children either of God or of the heartless but infinitely orderly universe. Perhaps the two aren’t all that different?
Grant begins with a disclaimer and it’s a very tempting one when writing about religion. Grant, like many writers on this topic, doesn’t want to offend anyone else. Talking about religion is one of the supreme conversational no-no’s and that’s always bothered me immensely. Come on. Let’s put it out there where everyone can see it. Discuss, debate, you might learn something.
Getting some housekeeping out of the way, I’m with Grant in that last night’s Broncos v Steelers game was a grand one. Exciting, big personalities, etc though I am forced to point out that Denver didn’t exactly claw its way back from adversity. They were up big time and just about blew the game in the second half. So this particular game wasn’t so much a Cinderella story as it was a near replay of the Tortoise and the Hare. The guy pulled it out but not before taking a bit of a nap. Oh, and as to the hype, I’m not sure anyone else was really following him either so Grant shouldn’t feel bad about catching the Tebow train after it was well underway with a good head of steam. We’re Americans, it’s what we do.
The heart of Grant’s post is to answer the question: “Did God help Tebow win?” As an Agnostic, I don’t really think I’m in a position to make a value judgment on the validity of that question. I can, however, (much to my insane and giddy glee) make a logical assessment of the validity of Grant’s arguments. His first response here is pretty typical and unassailable: (to paraphrase generously) “God is infinite and therefore can do any damn thing he damn well pleases.” No argument from me. Christianity defined its God in a manner that can’t really be refuted. By definition God’s existence can never be disproven since his definition also includes the ability to hide himself from outside scrutiny. So to this point I merely shrug and say, “ok, sure.”
Grant’s second argument seems to say simply that God did not intervene directly but granted Tebow the skill, talent, dedication, whatever to make this happen on his own. This bit makes me ponder a bit more than the previous since this doesn’t actually REQUIRE a benevolent creator be involved. Grant even admits that an atheist could also have been successful so it almost begs the question of why bring the creator into it at all? It would seem that a faithless man can work hard and wring benevolence out of the universe even without God?
Grant closes with his third point about Tebow’s ending prayer. Again, as a non-religious person this totally fails to offend me. Do whatever it takes to make you feel inspired, grateful, whatever. I will say that those showboating wide-receivers who praise God for every single catch do tend to get on my nerves. Do what ya gotta do, but keep it classy.
Personally, the idea of God’s interference with… well, anything on a local level, is just insulting. It’s insulting to God. If God exists, he’s been sitting back and watching for the past 15 billion years with absolutely no interference necessary of any kind. Why do I say this? If God exists, he’s also absolutely perfect. If he wants Tebow to win the Super Bowl then he doesn’t have to do anything. Tebow would have been destined to win the big game from the absolute first instant that God put pen to paper. Everything, the entire history of the universe, the path of every single molecule, the outcome of every game was mapped out with absolute certainty on the EXACT moment of creation. God, if he exists, isn’t some celestial plate-spinner dashing from plate to plate keeping things going just the way he wants but rather an immaculately perfect clock-maker who wound up the cosmos billions of years ago and went off to smoke a really good cigar but hasn’t touched the damn thing since. Anything less… just wouldn’t be very God-like.