I was struck with this question as I watched the Jim Harbaugh interview as he accepted the head coaching position for the San Francisco 49ers. His was a simple statement, in the midst of many others, about how he had reached his decision to be their head coach. It was surrounded by concerns for family, his professional potential, the love for his kids at Stanford, etc. but he did say “I prayed.”
Far beyond the rational separation of church and state, this statement seems to immediately raise the ire of a great multitude of the Bill Maher “Religulous” ilk that balk at any faint mention of spirituality of any kind. It matters not that this vague reference indicated no particular faith, let alone religion, to which or with which Mr. Harbaugh might have communicated.
I, being brought up a strict Missouri Synod Lutheran, and still able to recite the Apostles Creed, Benediction, and Doxology after not having graced the doorway of a Lutheran Church for some decades, can relate to being somewhat recalcitrant regarding some religious practices. Having survived a myriad of atrocities committed in the name of various Gods throughout the ages, from The Crusades to the Salem witch hunts, and Rush Limbaugh to suicide bombings, it seems that people are always willing to kill and die in the name of their particular loving God. At the very least they insist on wearing some outward display of what helps them find inner peace, and more often than not share this belief with anyone willing to hear it, or too slow to run away.
My own personal space can best be expressed as spiritual but not religious; somewhere between the teachings of Jesus (not necessarily the teachers) and the teachings of the Buddha with room for the truths that pepper all other teachings. Those truths are all there, but far too often clouded by the egoic rantings of those who would seek to turn them into fear for some sort of personal gain.
Isn’t it fears after all that keep us all separate? Isn’t that what drives us all to compete rather than cooperate? Isn’t it that which makes us rile when we are afraid that someone might be ready to proselytize by the mere mention of the word pray? He didn’t, after all, have scriptures written in his eye black like Tim Tebow formerly of the Florida Gators.
Isn’t, after all, religion nothing more than man’s impossibly feeble attempt to explain the unexplainable?
In my opinion, man’s supposed dominion over this planet can only survive to the extent that we can view each other’s commonality as part of the great “all that is” and seek ways that we can help; to “do the next right thing.” We cannot burn fossil fuels indefinitely without impact. We cannot blindly consume resources without impacting the rain forests from which they are harvested. We cannot “become an internet millionaire” without first paying forward some good honest content and hard work without consequences.
Our internet is one of the greatest experiments of man beyond Malthus. It is largely unchecked, self policed, organic, and fertile. Take the example of Wikipedia; Sure there are some inaccuracies in the billions of references it posts, but we now have a free database of information that dwarfs the totality of all encyclopedias written before it.
Be responsible for what you post. Take care. It is our cyber-world and your opportunity. Think before you post, and if necessary, you can pray on it.