Friday, September 2, 2011

A sports question

Dear Brother Sam,
If religions were subject to similar recruiting standards for adherents as the major educational institutions in the United States face for student athletes, would Christianity be more like Ohio State or Southern Methodist in the early 1980s? Obviously the University of Miami, by way of hosting elaborate sex parties full of 72 virgins for their players, belongs to the Muslims.
Brother T. Scott Brown

Dear Brother T.,
Brother Sam does not follow college golf, so I cannot speak with authority to the historical references you offer. But I will note that religions are subject to recruiting standards; but those standards are of a markedly different, lower, order than even those flauted by the collegiate sports industry to which the idea of liberal education is anathema. As Brother Sam has noted before, religion, like spectator sports, provides something of no material consequence about which people may disagree, and an impetus to conflict when conditions otherwise favor harmony. The standard, and there’s only the one, for getting into a religion, any religion, all religions, is a willingness to value yourself over all others. Salvation, a higher plane, nirvana, bliss, paradise, heaven: call it what you will, it’s for yourself alone. Can’t be transferred. Can’t be shared. As to whether that standard is worse, equal to, or better than another, say the NCAA’s, I’ll leave for another time. But that’s the standard. One other way religion is like sports: both are hard on your knees. 
Brother Sam