Blessed art thou … well, as long as you're Ray Lewis and a Ravens fan.
Before I begin my rant, let me be clear about two things: One, I am not a Ray Lewis hater necessarily, though his over-the-top "hey look at me" persona rubs me the wrong way at times. And two, though I recognize that religion and sports make strange bedfellows, I will preface all this by stating upfront that I am a believer in God.
That said, I just find it ridiculous when players like Lewis continue to believe that God is a fan of their team. “When God is for you, who can be against you?” he asks, as if God had a horse in this race. In fact, aren't we taught to believe that God has ALL the horses in the race since He loves us all?
This nonsense really grinds my gears. Players get a sack and point up to heaven as if the good Lord willed it to happen. Look, it's all well and good to credit God for your talents and abilities. But when athletes start crediting Him for their wins, I quickly turn and run the other way. The God I believe in has more important things to worry about than who wins a football game.
Yet this is nothing new. For example, when asked why the Ravens beat the Broncos, Lewis said, “When you believe in the possibility of God, the impossible can happen.” Now call me crazy, but I tend to think that God has other concerns that are a bit more important. Like war, poverty and famine, to name three things just off the top of my head. Yet you hear athletes all the time believing that God willed their team to victory.
My problem isn't with the words themselves, it's when they're used specifically in answer to a question as to why a team was able to win the game. And, in this case, the BIG game.
So does God hate the 49ers? Did He call down to the officials on that fourth down play at the end of the game and tell them “thou shalt not call a holding penalty”? Not only does it annoy me when athletes like Ray Lewis give these sermons, it concerns me. It creates a thought process that tells kids that you're only loved if you win. That you are not blessed if you lose.
And that, my friend, is not what we want to bring up our children believing. Learning that you're not always going to win—that losing is, at times, as inevitable as death and taxes—is an important lesson. It is an unfortunate part of life, to be sure, but learning how to gracefully accept losing is one of the things that give people the strength to carry on.
But it gets even worse. According to The Christian Post, "27 percent of Americans believe God plays a role in the big game."
Hey, Ray has the right to say what he wants. But we also have the right to shake our heads and wish he would just shut up and go away. To think that God cares who wins and loses a sporting event is not only difficult to fathom, it borders on the asinine.
Now, if the Cubs ever win the World Series, I might have to rethink that point of view.