Tuesday 19 September 2017

So what?

I'll be rooting for Ding today. Partly because I like to support the underdog, but partly because this gets on my nerves.

Normally it's in rather bad taste to publicly criticise a sporting competitor's religious views, since they're not intrusive and they're not our business, but if a player's going to make a public claim that they won because God helped them win - so what made Fedoseev less worthy, are you a better person than he is? - that's the kind of circumstance that alters cases. Different things get up different noses, but this is the kind of thing that gets up mine.

As it happens, Wesley discussed this very question in a recent article for Christianity Today. What Wesley said is this:

which is all well and good but it doesn't go on to ask the obvious question as to whether, if God helps Wesley win chess games, that means it's God who makes other people have cancer, say, or die in car crashes. Think it through, man. Think about what it would mean if we applied it to the lives of other people. Is that like Daddy too? Is that like being punished by Daddy, because they've been bad?

Perhaps the key phrase in Wesley's piece, though, is the bit about the child whose father says no. There's something of the child in the whole approach, and I guess that may partly explain why this apparent self-centredness,  this not thinking about other people, goes with his also being modest and unassuming in a number of ways. He's just a kid. Maybe it's harsh to judge him for it.

But as I say, it's public. There he is, when he wins, telling the public that God helped him do it.

So what I'd really like is for God to turn up like the scene in Annie Hall

and to tell Wesley look, you think I have nothing better to do today than help you win a chess game? There are people dying, for pity's sake. This isn't important.

It probably ain't going to happen, though. So in lieu of that, I'll be cheering on Ding. Or hoping God* moves Ding's hand instead of Wesley's.

[* in whom I do not believe]


adamponting said...

Yeah, it's very weird. So weird it feels like a waste of time discussing crazy xtian beliefs in detail. Whatever "xtian humility" could be when you think your best mate is creator of the universe I don't know. It's the telling people that humans are bad, not to trust in human relationships, only in god etc that really disturbs me. At least they've stopped killing people who don't share the insanity, like they did for centuries. Well, I hope you don't, as I often do, see in your facebook news disgusting pictures posted by Filipinos of Jesus covered in blood and wounds - I mean, as horrifically-tortured-looking as possible - under which one is asked to comment "Amen".

I have a lot of Catholic friends - Filipinos and Latin Americans (because they make such great friends!) - so as an atheist have had quite a few conversations (short ones, I find it a very boring topic) about that stuff, with people living in a Catholic world. I mean everything is Catholic - school, church, media, friends, parents etc etc. Hard to imagine. It's on occasion like talking to someone from 1500. Sometimes I explain that it's like I'm from the 1800s, they're from 1500 hehe. Often they've never met an atheist. "What do you believe in?!" they say. Fascinating question, not easy to answer. Latin Americans in particular say 'thanks to God', if God wills it, God bless you etc constantly. "You won today!" "Yes, thanks to God" is utterly normal latin american conversation. Filipinos don't talk like that so much, but are as if not more involved with the church, I think. It's just a new thing to hear it in chess.

Who is So talking to, who is he thanking?! God can hear your voice but not your thoughts? It seems mostly a spreading-the-word kind of gesture, 'representing' catholics in chess, not afraid to be seen believing what he believes. But yeah it's bizarre, I always think if I was the interviewer I'd start asking questions like yours about it. Because it makes no sense whatever, in so many ways. One wouldn't let many other kinds of utterly ludicrous and apparently insane statement pass by unchallenged. Although maybe chess journalists would.

Jon said...

There's always a home for Wesley at CCF in Coulsdon, they're sure to embrace his brand of bollocks; might strengthen their Surrey League first team too... ;)

Michael Bacon said...

When it comes to religion I am agnostic. When asked in what I believe the answer is invariably, "Now."

Anonymous said...

I think the assumption that So is catholic is probably wrong - he seems to have adopted a US evangelical religion to which his adopted family subscribes.

ejh said...

Yes, that's correct.

Jonathan said...

Actually, it made me think immediately of this... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzKZcVtO8f4