So here's a train of thought I wanted to try out.  I was watching some of the Mr. Deity pieces.  I totally love the one titled "Mr. Deity and the Messages".  It's on Youtube, so check it out if you haven't.  They're all good, but that one is sooo perfect.  Click here: ? Mr. Deity Episode 4: Mr. Deity and the Messages - You... 


OK-- so then I was thinking about the creator of the series, Brian Keith Dalton.  He satirizes all religion but has a special interest in Mormonism since he apparently bought into it in a HUGE way in his late youth.  And while he can now not only see the absurdity but also create delightful, spot-on satire, there must have been a time when he could NOT or did not see the absurdity, right?  How could that be?  Or did he see it and just ignore it?  And why?


While musing about how that could be I thought of a baseball analogy.  My family has been St. Louis Cardinal fans forever.  We are highly emotional.  We equate the love of baseball and specifically the Cardinals with all that is good and warm and wholesome, we see it as something that ties the generations of our family together. We cry watching a movie like "Field of Dreams".  We purchased a memorial brick for my brother at the new Busch Stadium in St. Louis.  We get teary eyed when we visit the brick.  We fanatasize about a visual of my brother playing catch with Jack Buck and Stan Musial in "heaven".  (At least it's fantasy for me since I know my brother's consciousness simply ended when his brain died-- can't say about other family members.)

We wear red to Cardinal games when we visit St. Louis and scream our heads off along with a stadium full of others of the "Cardinal Nation".  We are personally invested and highly sentimental and emotional.  Yet if we step back we KNOW that baseball is a business, that most of the players don't live in St. Louis and didn't grow up there, that they could be wearing a different uniform next year or next week, and that they are paid huge salaries.  Beyond that, we know that baseball is a game that would look ridiculous to the proverbial Martian trying to make sense of it.  Grown men running to "safe" spots on a field where nobody can tag them-- much like a kids' game of backyard tag?  Acting like any of it MATTERS??  MAKES NO SENSE, we can SEE it makes no sense, yet that does not touch our emotional attachment  to and our continued support of the game.
Can religion be a lot like this for people who KNOW it makes no sense yet that changes NOTHING for them in an emotional or even practical sense?

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People have us vs them mentality with sports. The idea of having a team and group that anyone can join is appealing. People also enjoy feeling like their supporting their "home team" even if in reality the players on that team come from all over the place. I think it's the sense of community as well as the group think which makes it similar to religion. 

Yep, QW, I think you nailed it.  That's sorta what I was getting at.

The sense of community and belonging is what church and religion is all about anyway. People like to be a part of a group and belong to the group that is the RIGHT one. This is the truth and yet the danger of religion! Religion is like a contagious disease.

Ahhh... now this I like.  Choosing to be a heretic is one of the few actually justifiable reasons I can imagine for being a Cubs fan.  (Just kidding, of course. It's fun to be at Busch stadium when the Cards and Cubs play each other.  Much nicer than when christians and heretics get together.)

Yes, religion is a lot like baseball. Most people that believe it are bats!

There's a graphic floating around listing "12 Reasons Why I As a Pastor Have Decided To Quit Attending Sporting Events", which is supposed to mirror people's weak excuses for skipping church. The reasons include "The coach never came to visit me", "Every time I went, they asked for money", "The seats were very hard", and last but not least, "I don't want to take my children because I want them to choose for themselves what sport they like best." (As if kids thinking and deciding for themselves is a bad thing!)

Seth Andrews just produced a beautifully done and pointedly stated video rebuttal, "Go Ahead. Skip Church."

He gives plenty of substantive reasons to sleep in on Sunday mornings and skip the game church service without guilt, including "The coach didn't show up. Ever."

(I like the "Easter egg" in the presentation of his reason #2, "Players had to figure out the playbook, which was poorly translated from other languages and didn't make any sense.")

(h/t: Friendly Atheist)




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