Having read about the growing evangelical influence in American sports (players dropping to knees to pray after a touchdown, "prayer circles" on the 50 yard line, every team having a chaplain, a "Fellowship of Christian Athletes") I wonder if there are any areas of American life that are not infused with religion? Sport, politics, education, law, media, science, health, welfare - there seems to be no institution or activity not bent and twisted by evangelists. Given that America already seems a society raddled with religion, as much if not more so than any fundamentalist regime in the Middle East or Africa, one wonders how bad it would be if there wasn't a supposed separation of church and state.
But having read about the athletes - one said "his Christianity is part of who he is, and he can't separate it from his life as an athlete", another that there was "no intent to alienate people, only to share Biblical truth", another that "when athletes publicly talk about Christianity, it's often just a reflection of the joy of the faith" - another thought came to me. Not new, necessarily, but revisited. And that is what extraordinarily limited minds the fundamentalists have.
When Shakespeare said "There are more things in heaven and earth ... than are dreamt of in your philosophy" he might have had American fundamentalists in mind. There seems to be just one tiny part of their brain, the god particle, that has been programmed to think and speak in a particular way, and ... and, well, nothing. That's all there is. No curiosity it seems about life, the universe, and everything; about art and literature; history and geography; politics and society; different cultures, different ideas.
I mean, so much for this great big brain, evolved over millions of years to be much better than the Chimpanzee's brain at thinking and analysing and discovering and debating and creating. And these people don't use it. Bit like having hundreds of functions on a DVD player and all you do is play pre-recorded discs.
Normally chimp's brain capacities are compared to those of scientists and atheists (a tautology of course), and Chimps don't do very well, once you get past painting and communicating, and opening ant nests with sticks, and nuts with stone tools. But I reckon if you put a chimp against an evangelical it would be a near run thing. Would the evangelical succeed in getting the nut open? I think the answer is clear.
What a waste of a brain in Homo sapiens almost as big as that of Neanderthal man. Time these athletes stopped praying, in a circle or otherwise, started thinking. Got a life.
Reading the Watermelon Blog would be a good start.
Oh, and happy Xmas.