Christianity Johnson on 22 Jul 2008 09:54 pm
In case you missed it, Josh Hamilton is the famous Christian baseball player. In this ESPN article, he tells the story of how he went from near-dead crack addict to baseball phenom:
He was made more famous by his performance in a recent hitting contest, and then a comment by a sports announcer where the announcer said, “It’s a lousy day to be an atheist.” Here Newsweek takes a look at the comment:
This paragraph is interesting:
Had Reilly said it was a lousy day to be a Jew or a lousy day to be a Muslim, I donâ€™t doubt we would still be hearing about it and Iâ€™m certain the announcer would have faced some sanction from the network. In the end, I think Reilly could have come up with a better way to explain what he was seeing.
Meanwhile, millions of Christians cheered on, feeling smugly proud of a brother’s accomplishments.
Let’s start by acknowledging that it is good to see a fellow human being overcome an addiction. To then achieve greatness is a nice bonus. If it takes the belief in an imaginary being to get there, so be it.
But let’s also acknowledge that the belief in this imaginary being, both by Hamilton and billions of Christians, is a dangerous delusion. It is dangerous because, in order to believe it, you have to turn off your intelligence. Whenever humans stop thinking rationally, it is a bad thing.
Here is the point of disconnection:
And still Katie told me, “You’re going to be back playing baseball, because there’s a bigger plan for you.” I couldn’t even look her in the eye. I said something like, “Yeah, yeah, quit talking to me.”
She looks pretty smart, doesn’t she? I have a mission now. My mission is to be the ray of hope, the guy who stands out there on that beautiful field and owns up to his mistakes and lets people know it’s never completely hopeless, no matter how bad it seems at the time. I have a platform and a message, and now I go to bed at night, sober and happy, praying I can be a good messenger.
Katie is his wife, who apparently stuck by her man through the depths of addiction. She deserves credit for that. But here is what she is saying: “An all-powerful being has a plan. My husband’s pain, and subsequent recovery, is a part of that plan.” The only way to believe that is to totally disconnect yourself from the real world. Anyone who wants to believe in an all-powerful being who forces someone into drug addiction like a puppet in order to fulfill a “plan” is delusional. Who would believe in such a demon?
And what about the millions of addicts whose lives are ruined? They end up penniless, in jail, or dead because they never break free of their addictions. They are so damaged by addiction that they never recover. If Hamilton’s puppet plunge into the depths of addiction is part of a plan, then all the other hopeless addicts are part of the plan too. And a plan like that sucks. The reality is easy to see: the only reason that Hamilton’s story is interesting is because it is rare. And the only reason it could be rare is because million of others suffer and die to make it rare.
For Hamilton to celebrate a “victory” over addiction, when that “victory” could only be had through the intense suffering and death of millions of other addicts, is, quite honestly, disgusting. “God” had to plan for millions of failures when he planned for Hamilton’s success, because that is the only way for the success to be noteworthy. Who wants to believe in that being?
Christians would counter with, “drug addicts become drug addicts through free will – God never planned that. Addicts make bad choices.” That of course negates the plan that is key to Hamilton’s message. And that is not what Hamilton and his wife said. They say that God planned for their misery so the redemption would be sweeter, and the public platform given to Josh would allow him to glorify God. To emphasize the point, Hamilton makes this declaration:
But the way I look at it, I couldn’t fail. I’ve been given this platform to talk about the hell I’ve been through, so it’s almost like I need to do well, like I don’t have a choice.
How am I here? I can only shrug and say, “It’s a God thing.” It’s the only possible explanation.
It was the same dream, with an important difference. I would hit [the devil] and he would bounce back up, the ugliest and most hideous creature you could imagine. This devil seemed unbeatable; I couldn’t knock him out. But just when I felt like giving up, I felt a presence by my side. I turned my head and saw Jesus, battling alongside me. We kept fighting, and I was filled with strength. The devil didn’t stand a chance.
You can doubt me, but I swear to you I dreamed it. When I woke up, I felt at peace. I wasn’t scared. To me, the lesson was obvious: Alone, I couldn’t win this battle. With Jesus, I couldn’t lose.
Translation: “God” put Hamilton through hell, then saved him through personal intervention by Jesus. “God” did that so Hamilton could speak about it from the platform. That sounds reassuring until you consider the millions of people who God must plan to completely destroy.
A person who is thinking clearly knows that you can’t have it both ways. If God had anything to do with Hamilton’s success, it means that God is also central to every failure. God planned it all. If “God” helped Hamilton recover, then… well, let’s look at starving children… The 10,000 kids who will die of starvation today all over the world must die because of God’s plan. And that is utterly disgusting to think about.
We of course do not hear the stories of the dead children and the dead addicts, because they are dead. They would certainly curse “God” after hearing Hamilton’s story. After all, if God were to exist, and if God has a plan, then God must be their murderer.
Who would believe in such a being?