I was watching Survivor on TV this week and during the reward challenge the religious thing cropped up again.
There were two groups, with three contestants per side. The object of the challenge was to release as FEW coconuts that were resting upon a bed of entangled rope.
Each team took turns to remove a rope, with the first team with a hundred coconuts to their score, to be the losing side. Before this contest began, one group joined hands in that endearing Christian way, and prayed for their success. They then named themselves "prayer warriors", now convinced that they had the upper hand. The other team had only one member appealing to God, so she was outnumbered three to one in the power of prayer department.
At this point I have to stress that prayer would have been better directed at the possible removal of the latter's grey steel rug of a mullet. Even I would have joined in prayer for that eventuality.
The "God' team was quite successful in their challenge, and while I can't remember the exact numbers, they had about seven coconuts to the other teams 67 or so. It was obvious to all that their prayer was effective. All the time, either side took turns invoking their God, while their opposite number had their turn pulling a rope.
It was at this point that woman in the "God Squad" confidently announced that it was obvious that God was on their side. She then removed her rope, and lo and behold : 58 coconuts fell like manna from heaven! They lost the challenge and the reward that came with it.
So what point am I trying to make? Well, this happens every day around the world in just about every sport, where you have one team thanking God for their goal or try, or century. I think this is the most presumptuous thing that one can do. What makes you so special that for the duration of the game you are the one that God is looking after. What does the religious person on the opposing side, having given his prayer, silent or otherwise, feel about being the recipient of, by default, God's disfavour?
Are 'normal' Christians not offended by such crass behaviour? If they were thanking God when they didn't do well then it may be a different story, but such people are eerily quite when things don't go their way. Have they ever thought, for instance, that their God may just be saying something like :" WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? ASSUMING THAT TODAY, OF ALL THOSE PEOPLE, YOU ARE THE CHOSEN ONE? WHAT A CHEEK!" And the bales tumble, and the ball is lost, and the coconuts fall.
People can believe what they like, but isn't there a verse or saying somewhere in that heavy ancient book, that directs against this very thing? It doesn't matter if there is or if there isn't, because it's all open to interpretation, which is what makes it so popular. And no, I haven't just punched the air and pointed skywards in thanks for writing this article. I think I'd like to take the credit for doing that myself, quietly, if you don't mind.