I Would Like To Thank God...
Praise The Lord!
I know you've all heard it before. Whether it's the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, or any of the many other sports leagues throughout the world. The scene is always the same. After winning it all there is always one player(usually more than one), that gets up on the podium and robotically recites these words..."First and foremost, I'd like to thank God."
I know you've heard it before. Whether it's the Oscars, Tony's, Grammy's, Emmy's, or any of the many other entertainment award shows from around the world. The scene is always the same. After winning the big award, almost every entertainer in every category (even comedy) gets up on the podium and creatively (remember their entertainers) recites these words..."I'd like to thank God!"
I know you've heard it before. A person has a near death experience or some good fortune comes their way. The scene is always the same. Someone is surrounded by anxious reporters who are all trying to get a sound bite. The reaction is usually one of these "sound bites."
1. Thank god...blah, blah, blah.
2. By the grace of God...blah, blah, blah.
3. God is good! Whoo!
4. If it wasn't for God...I wouldn't be here today...
I could go on forever but I'm pretty sure you get the point. It seems odd to me that so many people thank God when good things happen to them. At this point, I figure if you've read this far then you are either interested in this topic yourself or you're one of the people who thanks God for things all the time and you just want to read to the end so you can feel more comfortable about calling me an idiot or some other word. Hey, maybe it's both. Either way, If I just sparked your interest lets explore the question...why do people thank God?
It takes Two
The way I see it there's only two logical reasons why anyone would thank God after winning any type of award or contest.
1. They truly believe that an all powerful being has actually chosen them to lead their teams to the promise land of victory. If you need proof there's an athlete by the name of Lebron James (you may have heard of him), who actually has a tattoo that reads "Chosen 1" on his back.
2. Thanking God has somehow made its way into our society's book of manners. It's just what you do! When you ask someone for something you say 'please.' When someone does something for you, you say 'thank you.' When something good 'happens' to you, you THANK GOD.
Now we dissect these two.
You Are The One Neo
Jason Terry is a member of the 2011 Championship Dallas Mavericks, an NBA basketball team that showed great resilience and determination on their quest to win an NBA title. After leading his team (along with the great Dirk Nowitzki) through several comeback victories, Mr.Terry was sure to thank God for his teams victory. Hmmm, I'm guessing God didn't think they deserved to win 5 years ago when they played the same team (The Miami Heat) in the finals. Or all the other years in between when they just couldn't make it all the way to the end. Maybe he doesn't like the fact that Lebron James is flaunting his 'God given' talent by running around with "Chosen 1" on his back. Hey, I guess if God gave him the talent he can take it back right? Lebron even said after the game that, "The Greater Man upstairs knows when it's my time," James tweeted. "Right now isn't my time." Really, Lebron? And when will your time be oh chosen 1?
If God is selectively chosing when people win things, what's the requirement for being 'Chosen?'
1. Shaquille O'Neal won several NBA championships while admittedly committing adultery (sorry Shaq, but at least I'm not ratting like Kobe did, this is old news). Is cheating on your wife now punishable by #winning! as Charlie Sheen once said?
2. OJ Simpson allegedly cheated on, beat and murdered his wife, over the course of his marriage. I guess killing your wife (allegedly) is like the 11th commandment or something.
3. Mel Gibson a confirmed racist (have you heard the tapes?), enjoyed years of success throughout his movie career. He won Best Picture and best Director Oscars for Braveheart and at one point he was the highest paid actor in the world. Not only does this man thank God when he wins, he even made a movie about the big guy.
4. George W. Bush wins the presidential election not once but TWICE, the second time after being the Commander and Chief while the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil happened on his watch. The only 'Mission" he actually accomplished was ensuring that our economy is in a cataclysmic state from which it will never return. I guess God rewards people for lying (WMDs), cheating (Florida voting fiasco), and stealing (bailout, 2 failed wars with budget funds that disappeared).
5. President Obama...just read number 4, delete the 9/11 fact (for now), and add the fact that he's black.
You get the point yet? I could go on forever.
I just don't get it people!
Why the hell (pun intended) would people thank God when they're are obviously, as religious people say, living in sin? If you believe in God and you believe that he's giving you the necessary abilities to succeed at the highest level, how could you be doing things that are morally wrong and still think that Mr. Goody Two Shoes still has your back. Hmmm, maybe it's ego.
What if you kept doing things that were morally wrong and not only did you not get punished, but you were constantly rewarded. Now add in the fact that you have been brought up under some kind of religion that forgives you for all of your sins immediately (say 6 hail Mary's and go to work tomorrow as if nothing ever happened Dexter), how would it affect you? You may just believe that you are more important than anything or anyone else in the world, and if you did something wrong you could just pray for forgiveness and your criminal record would be expunged. Forget about all those innocent hurricane Katrina victims that needed help or the Tsunami victims that sadly had no chance in hell (again pun intended), God was helping your favorite athlete, movie star, or singer, win the top prize at the awards show.
Did I Dooo That!?
So you've been trained to believe that God is responsible for all your accomplishments. How demoralizing is that?
I think there are a lot of people who just thank God because, everyone else does. sometimes when I see a person win an award it appears that they don't even want to thank God but they feel like they have to. I wonder what this does to peoples Psyches. How would you feel if you busted your ass and practiced at your craft day in and day out. Then, when the time came your performance excelled beyond anyone's wildest imaginations and propelled you and or others to success. You're the 'man,' (so to say), everyone loves you, your at the top of your game. At some point you are honored for your accomplishments and presented with an award that you can hold dear to your heart until the day you die. You walk up to the podium and before you can even get a word out of your mouth, someone comes in and takes all the credit for everything you did. I guess you aren't the 'man' after all, the 'man upstairs' is. You suck! You're Milli Vanilli, your Lance Armstrong, you're Barry Bonds...You didn't do it on your own. God must have a trophy room the size of Earth right now, oh he already does...it is Earth.
Thanks But No Thanks
If God exists I don't think he takes time out of his day to make sure that Woody Allen wins an Oscar for best director and and Alfred Hitchcock goes to the grave win less. I don't think he helps one hit wonders win Emmy's while Susan Luci had to wait 19 times as a nominee. I don't think he keeps Barkley, Reggie, Ewing, Malone, and Stockton from winning championships while Jordan wins dos Threepeats (although there is some speculation that Jordan 'is' God or that he sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for basketball immortality). I don't think he keeps The Boston Red Sox from winning the World Series for 85 seasons (give or take) and then lets them win in 2004, although I would like to know who is responsible for my Yankees losing 4 games in a row after being up 0-3. Besides A-Rod.
People the truth here is plain and simple. If God exists and has the power to do whatever he wants to, why would he selfishly help certain people attain success while refusing to help others? Why would he give advantages to people who did not live morally favorable lifestyles? And why would he waste his time helping any of these people win awards when there are people dying of AIDS, starvation, acts of nature, etc? It does not make sense.
I am not judging anyone on there beliefs here, I am simply stating what I think are logical facts. So, when Jason Terry says he'd like to thank God for allowing him to win an NBA championship after he was the one who went out and busted his ass to get it done, fine. Whatever gives you the strength to go on, use it! What I am worried about is people like Lebron James. People who believe that they are put here to do things like win an NBA championship. What does this guy do if he never wins one? How is he going to feel about God when he looks into the mirror and sees that 'Chosen 1" Tattoo on his back, after retiring a wealthy, popular, loser? He might start to resent that same God that he thought was not only on his back, but had is back. And you might too.
To end these thoughts, naturally I have to ask myself a question. No matter how illogical it seems I have to realize the fact that so many people give thanks to God all the time, even those who claim to be non-believers have been known to beg God for help in the most dangerous or life threatening situations. I wonder if someone who was raised outside of society and blinded from any type of religion would 'naturally' pray to God as an uncontrolled stimulus response (Ivan Pavloc)? I guess that's another story, for another day.
"It is now life and not art, that requires the willing suspension of disbelief"- Lionel Trilling
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