Nancyboys and Fairies League (part 4)

This post is a direct extension of part 3.

With reference to the whole "pointing upwards" ritual, two questions arose over the weekend:

1: Why point upwards?

Isn't it only children who believe that the christian god lives in the sky? Isn't that a convenient get-children-to-believe twisting of doctrine? Don't christians believe that their god is everywhere? Couldn't a player, therefore, point at the crowd, the uprights, the QB, the opponent's coach, the ground, or his own crotch and still be pointing to his god?

2: Why point at all?

Isn't it an accepted part of Christian doctrine, and repeatedly stated in the bible, that the Christian god knows what you're thinking? Doesn't it go something like "all of human heart he knows" or somesuch? So why point? If you believe that the invisible old man helped you score, just say "thanks" inside your head and he'll know, won't he? Won't he?

The two questions have similar answers. A player would never point at the ground because people would think he was thanking Lucifer, so in order that everyone know that one is thanking one's god, one must point in the only direction that almost everyone would understand to mean "I'm thanking my god", and one must point, because otherwise how will people know one is thanking one's god?

But why?

PDR. Public Displays of Religion. It's the current big thing. We must loudly, vocally and publicly thank "God" wherever, whenever and as often as possible.

Yet this is another case where Christians are following the teachings of Paul, not Christ.

The bible says that Jesus Christ (y'know, the guy who put the "Christ" in "Christian"?) held forth on this very subject:

Matthew 6; 5-6

5And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

6But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Seems pretty clear to me, but then, I'm just an atheist.

Paul, of course, takes it upon himself to disagree with - er - his own god:

1 Timothy 2:8

8I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

So, are they Christians or Paulians?

1 comment:

Notorious Apostate said...

Not sure if Paul is straight out contradicting Christ here. He doesn't say 'do it in public'! Still, this leaves the question of what the role of public displays of religiosity actually is. I can imagine two kinds of answer relevant to the question. The first is going to talk about religion as an indicator of beloging to some group (much like the flag that is also revered in the US) and the desire to affect the beliefs of others (tied in with the desire to make your group stronger). The second, given by Christians, is going to talk about giving witness to the power of God and seeking to affect the beliefs of others (i.e. converting them). Neither explanation actually has anything much to do with God, it might be noticed. This also explains why they point into the sky - this is the one direction where their action is the least likely to be misinterpreted - after all, what does it mean when somebody points to their genitals in front of thousands of people?