An old chum called the other day. He’s the kind of guy who has retained the quirks and traits of youth while transforming into something foreign.
We don’t see much of each other anymore; it’s usually by chance at the supermarket. He’s had more than a few troublesome twists in his life, and they seem to get worse with the years.
He doesn’t have a TV and he called to ask if he could come over to watch Jeremy Lin play basketball. Lin is a guard for the New York Knicks; an undrafted, unheralded Harvard grad who came off the bench and is credited with putting his team on a winning streak, and doing it with style. As an Asian-American, his presence in the NBA makes him stand out.
“I don’t remember you being a basketball fan,” I said.
“I’m not,” he answered. “But this guy is a sensation … and he’s a Christian.”
“Aren’t most of the NBA players Christian?” I asked.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean the dominant religion in America is Christianity. I assume the majority of the NBA players are Christian.”
“Jeremy Lin practices his faith,” my old friend said.
My inclination was to start an argument, asking if it was his Christian duty to judge the entire NBA.
But I didn’t.
I let it go and told him I’d to be happy to watch the next televised Knicks game with him.
“As long as it’s not on Sunday,” he said. He won’t watch TV on the Sabbath. (Would he think less of Lin for playing on the Sabbath?)
Afterward, I pondered his use of the word “faith,” which from my perspective on language I find odd. Why do Christians and member of other religions need to have faith? In the secular life we either believe something or we don’t, or maybe we admit we just don’t know. A Republican who claims lower taxes spur economic growth doesn’t require faith.
He or she simply believes it.
Why can’t Jeremy Lin and my friend just believe in what they espouse – that Christ is the divine savior who rose from the dead? Needing faith suggests doubt.
“Faith is believing something you know ain’t true,” Mark Twain said.
I have no doubt in my spiritual beliefs. That’s because they are my own. I’ve no need to take the dogma of others and cram it into my value system. I’m comfortable discarding what I don’t like or what doesn’t seem logical.
My religion is my own. I’ve crafted it.
In a piece I’m writing, I recommend others do the same. And I offer my view of a creator who has put the universe in motion based on a complex probability formula that ensures both free will and a pre-determined outcome.
The plan operates on its own, like a machine. There is no divine intervention. No corrections or adjustments. God does not help the Jews in battle.
After all, why would a perfect being have to intervene in something it created perfectly? That suggests imperfection.
Comments on this idea are appreciated and could help with the direction of my writing. I’d especially like to hear from Christians, of which I claim to be one.
Go Jeremy Lin!