You may have missed the excitement from yesterday's NFL games. My beloved Buffalo Bills nearly pulled off the upset of the year by beating the Steelers of Pittsburgh. The local club snatched victory from the jaws of defeat when a wide-open Stevie Johnson dropped a pass in the end zone in overtime. The ball hit him right between the numbers.
Johnson was inconsolable after the game. Apparently he was feeling a little more wordy after the game when he tweeted the following:I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!! AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??? HOW???!!! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!!! THX THO...
Wow. This is completely fascinating on several levels. Where to start?
How about the end of the tweet? I just called you an a-hole, but thanks for everything. Is that any way to treat the giver of all things good? Call me crazy but that sounds like a back-handed thank you.
I would be remiss if I did not point out the hypocrisy behind athletes giving thanks to the sky for victories achieved on the playing field. As a kid I remember Orel Hershiser appearing on the Tonight Show after his team had won the championship. Carson asked Hershiser how he stayed so calm in the face of adversity and Hershiser responded that he said little prayers on the mound. Hershiser must have been a better Christian because he beat the Christians on the other team and some of them were surely praying. Never mind the famine, sickness and the like going on around the world. God picked the Dodgers to win in seven.
Johnson's tweet also demonstrated the appeal of religion. Rather than thinking that he is just another mammal on this planet, the believer is told that he is a special mammal. Better yet, all of this was created for him. Appealing, isn't it? As with the kid that is told throughout childhood that he is amazing and deserving despite never accomplishing anything, the believer is then shocked when things don't go his way. After all, the true appeal of religion is "what is in it for me?". Be it the afterlife or happiness or a sure pair of hands, there has to be a golden carrot to appeal to the masses. Want more proof of these egocentric view that is implanted in the believer? Johnson questions what lesson he is supposed to learn from this event. Never mind all of the wives that are going to be beaten by degenerate gamblers that didn't have the Steelers on their ticket. Never mind the people that may have reached performance bonuses based on wins. Never mind that 75,000 people that showed up that day and had their sunday ruined. Hell, never mind that MY sunday was ruined. It was about you. We're puppets in your world.
I actually think in a weird kind of way that Johnson's tweet was refreshingly honest. When praising a deity there is always some kind of expectation that you're getting something in return. Very few believers want to acknowledge that if the sky daddy is behing all of the good things that he must also be responsible for looking the other way when bad things happen (or worse, causing them. Cue Epicurus - if he can stop bad things from happening but doesn't..... you fill in the blanks). But you never here someone actually come out and say "hey big guy, we had a deal. I'm a member of this flock and I want my end of the bargain". Don't worry - I'm sure some holy men have already gotten a hold of him by now with some cute passages that will make him feel better.
And last, it is funny that this guy is blaming anyone but himself for his mistake. That's pure and unadulterated scapegoating. In case you didn't know, the term "scapegoat" came from the practice of a village sending out a goat into the wastelands to die as a payment for the village's sins. Sounds immoral, doesn't it? Well that's the same thing that Christianity and many other religions borrowed. So when a deity does it we praise him but when Johnson does it....
Anyway, it would have been worse. He could have blamed it on the fact that the laces were in on the football. (kudos to you if you got that reference). Then again, maybe God never saw it as he doesn't follow Johnson on twitter.
Oh well, that's life is a Bills fan.
(taken from my blog here