The other day I was talking to a woman in our community about club soccer. To the casual observer that might sound like a strange topic of conversation, but it’s something we soccer parents tend to talk about on a fairly regular basis (did I really just refer to myself as a soccer parent?). My daughter had recently switched clubs (which is not uncommon, especially in Southern California) and so had hers. The conversation began benignly enough as she explained that her daughter was unhappy with her old club, but then suddenly took a turn as she exclaimed that she had prayed to God and he “told” her which club her daughter should join next. I wasn’t sure that I’d heard her correctly but she noticed the puzzled look on my face and repeated herself, this time clear as day: “God told me which club she should join next.” My first thought was, “Holy hell – this woman is bat shit crazy.” My second thought was, “Wow, that’s pretty fucking self-absorbed to think that God has nothing better to do than advise you which soccer team to put your 10-year old daughter on.” I’m not sure why her comment elicited such a negative response in my mind. Perhaps it was her choice of words (God “told” me…). Really, why the fuck are you so special? God’s never said a word to me. I’m not even sure he exists. Or perhaps it was how comfortable she was making a statement about God in front of a person she barely knows. We’d literally met just once before and not everyone is open to having religion shoved in their face. I wanted to respond with, “Why on God’s green earth would He give a rat’s ass which soccer team your daughter plays for?” But I’ve been working really hard on implementing a personal filter (you see honey, I do listen to you) so I took a deep breath and looked at the bigger picture before responding. The reality was she meant absolutely no harm in making her statement. And for all I know she might have meant it metaphorically. So I bit my tongue and finished the conversation without ever acknowledging what she had just said. As I walked away and further processed what had just happened I found myself filled with mixed emotions.
On the one hand I was annoyed. What’s the deal with people giving God credit for every little thing that occurs in their lives? Are they really that weak? Like a bunch of pathetic leaves blowing around in the wind with no free will? Isn’t religion really just a convenient way to explain the things we can’t possibly understand?
On the other hand I was a little jealous. Maybe it’s a comforting thing to feel so completely connected to something so much bigger than you. What the fuck is the point of all this if when we die we simply burn out like a candle? Although there is a certain tidiness to that methodology. Perhaps when God created humans he hard-wired us to actually need religion?
Can you tell I have a lot more questions than answers on this topic? My parents both had negative experiences with religion growing up, so they made a conscious decision to raise us without religion. This provided a blank canvas to practice whatever religion we believed in when we grew up. Or did it? Without a foundation to base things on I find myself caught somewhere in between those who believe blindly in the words of the bible as gospel, and those who view religion as yet another flawed construct of man. This often times creates moral dilemmas in my life (like dealing with awkward religious statements made by people I barely know).
In the end, after careful consideration of my encounter with the club soccer Mom, I concluded the following: Fuck it, if it makes you feel better and it doesn’t hurt anyone else, why not be outward with your religious beliefs (and make all the crazy statements you want to about your conversations with God). Who am I to judge?
And if the team God hand-picked for your daughter doesn’t win the state championship, I’ll bet the team who beats them is going straight to hell.
The Quinsey Blog