Religion in Football

The amount of religious expression in football seems to many to be larger then in other public life.

Why? I have two possible complimentary explanations.


Religion and Politics

I heard a couple things this weekend about the Middle East that I thought were worth thinking about:

1) Jimmy Carter reminded us on CNN that the PLO, whom we currently consider the rational political party in Palestine used to be a terrorist organization that held as a prime tenant that Israel should be pushed back into the sea.

2) A commentator, whom I could not pick out of a line-up, on some random PBS show Friday mentioned an experience he had at a Foreign Affairs conference recently where everyone was trying to analyze the Middle East using game theory and other rational actor style analysis.


H.R. 4569 -- Digital Conversion Illegal?

Robert X. Cringely (love the name) wrote recently about new legislation that would make analog-to-digital conversion illegal unless digital rights management were incorporated into the system. [ Nothing Changes -- Dec. 22 -- about half way down the page ]

I respect Mr. Cringely greatly and generally agree that government needs to stay out of technology fields. This needs watching.

Intelligent Design = Creationism

Update on the Intelligent Design court case:

"Pennsylvania science teachers will not be forced to advocate "intelligent design" after a judge ruled that that the theory is really religion in disguise. ... As such, it is primarily a religious theory, not a scientific one, and cannot be taught in US public schools, which are prevented from promoting religion." (New Scientist)

I wrote about this case at length when it opened (Science and Religion | Sept. 26) and will only add now that this is a welcome decision. Yea.

Religious fundamentalism explained

Lets start with a theory:

As science increases in complexity it becomes indistinguishable from magic.

I don't really know the origin of this theory but I credit Todd with bringing it to my attention. Its a fun theory. I like it because it often proves to be a useful filter through which to view technology's relationship with people.

With no empirical research, I sense that mankind is beginning to tread down the back side of a bell curve because of this theory and that this is causing a rise in religious fundamentalism.


of God

Near the end of the Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson, which I heartily recommend, Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz debate the nature of God. During this debate Sir Isaac utters the following gem, which is here taken out of its context as part of a rationalization for seeking out the power that God uses to influence his creation.

"For the relationship that our souls bear to our bodies, is akin to the relationship that God bears to the entire Universe."

This sentence resonates with my own personal view of God and ties it to every sentient being's own set of morals and values much neater then I ever could.

Just as each of our souls or values or beliefs are guided and shaped by experiences taken in through our body's senses and filtered by our physical brain, so too is God shaped by the universe's senses.

Just as different experiences filtered through different bodies result in different souls, so too do different people in different places and different times result in different Gods.

Science and Religion

A trial began today in a Delaware court that will decide if "intelligent design" (ID) is a scientific theory or a religious dogma and thus whether it can be taught in the American public school system.

New Scientist article (Sep. 23)

ID is obviously is nothing more then creationism re-cast in an effort to get it into schools and it will likely and correctly be held out of the Dover Area School District.

Good, simple critique by a Brown University Professor of Biology

What is really sad is that this argument need not even be taking place. ID and creationism strike me as nothing more then jealousy based on misunderstandings or narrow-mindedness or both. Some with a religious bent incorrectly believe that science and religion are mutually exclusive and jealously view science as winning.

No less of a scientist then Stephen Hawkin concluded at the end of his best-selling Brief History of Time that his studies and research do nothing but further convince him of God's existence. While Brother Guy Consolmagno, the Vatican's own Astronomer (no, really) said in a recent interview (when asked about ID) that "I believe in science because of my faith in God." (He actually said more then that and it is worth a read.)

Seriously, nothing in creationism proves that God does or does not exist. The tricky thing about God is that God can't be proven for. To paraphrase, through my own prism, Brother Consolmagno: God is an assumption (like Quantum theory) that you either start with or you don't. But that assumption does not change the behaviors of the world around us. The only thing ID supporters can really hope to achieve is to stunt our understanding of God's creation.

Where's the line between right, wrong, and private schooling?

Thanks to my loyal-est reader for this tip:

"School expels girl for having gay parents" -- (AP)

On its face, this headline screams out an obviously outragious action that will likely soon be corrected and might not really merit much attention. However, this is not a public school. Its a private school. An Ontario Christian School, whose policies apparently state that that at least one parent may not engage in practices "immoral or inconsistent with a positive Christian life style, such as cohabitating without marriage or in a homosexual relationship" according to an LA Times article.

First of all, if these "Christians" think that it is Jesus' wish that they expell students from their ministry/education because of what they believe is a moral transgression then they need to re-read their gospels with an eye toward the message rather then simply seeking out-of-context justifications for their own witch-hunts.

In, however, the likely event that they do not realize how wrong they are don't they have the right to their own beliefs in this private setting? Should this child simply go to a public school or a different private school?

But what are the public schools like in that area? I certainly do not know. However, this country is full of areas where public schools are failing and private schools are a child's best shot at a good education. What if this school is the only decent education in the area? Are the best interests of the country served by allowing the best schools restrict access based on moral philosphy?

No, it is not.