Monday, April 06, 2009

God’s Priorities

My wife is an avid Michigan State University Fan. “Avid” may not be a strong enough adjective—obsessed would be the terminology psychiatrists would use. We have the flags, the stickers, the dog collars, the pillows, the blankets and even a room with Spartan wallpaper border. Pens, screen savers, wastebaskets. And every imaginable coat, sweater, sweatshirt, or hat.

To give you an inkling of how “MSU” my house is, you would have to understand there is a friendly (like Hatfield-McCoy “friendly”) rivalry between MSU and University of Michigan. My wife never roots for U of M. I didn’t realize how deep and insidious this was being passed onto our children until the day I was having a conversation with my youngest. 7 or 8 at the time. We have a relative who attends U of M.

Youngest: I can’t wait to see C…..but….
Me: Yes?
Youngest: Don’t tell Mommy….[whispering]…she goes to a VERY BAD SCHOOL!

Ah the joys of brainwashing children.

Secondly, what you would have to know about my wife is that her favorite sport is basketball. She played basketball in High School. Watches basketball (college) whenever the opportunity arises. When the NCAA 64 was being played locally last year—she got tickets. Even though the teams playing were all from out of town. Needless to say, our March is absolutely controlled by “March Madness.” Brackets, games—the works.

This year, the Final Four of the NCAA was to be played in Detroit. Over a year ago, my wife began scheming and planning to get tickets. As you get them through a lottery system, my wife had every friend, relative, neighbor, or minor acquaintance signing up in the hopes of getting tickets.

And she got four (4). She was ecstatic. This was the equivalent of Super Bowl, World Series and the U.S. Open all rolled into one.

This year her beloved Spartans were not likely to get past the top 8—in other words, probably not coming to Detroit. Yet they managed to beat a higher-seeded team to be in the Final Four. She was thrilled to see them play at least once.

Then they did the even more unlikely, and won again on Saturday—meaning they are in the Championship Game. My wife thought she was in heaven. A dream come true.

Now I am not going to say my wife prayed for this to happen…but I am pretty certain someone did somewhere! Yet while all these things were being put into play, 100’s of 1,000 of children were dying from starvation. From easily treatable diseases. Surely someone was praying for them?

It is usually at this point the atheist says something like, “Why would God allow those children to die?” and the Christian is supposed to respond with, “Who are you to ask God, ‘Why?’” and we get into a bizarre discussion debating characteristics of a creature we cannot verify a thing about.

I guess I am looking at this slightly differently. We all agree it is unlikely MSU would be going to the Final Four this year. Not impossible—just unlikely. And even more unlikely it would happen in Detroit and my wife would get tickets and so on. We all probably agree that if there was a personal, interactive God, it would be within its power to manipulate the universe in such a way to make sure MSU was in Detroit, playing the Final Four, with my wife in the audience.

It is also possible for this God to prevent starvation. To facilitate cures for diseases. Yet it does not.

It would seem, in the grand scheme of things, if there was an interactive God, for whatever reason, it is more important to it that MSU be in the Final Four, then for children to live. Because that is the situation in the world.

How are we able to discern anything about a creature that has priorities so contrary to what we believe? I can understand people who are motivated by things I am not—maybe they have a higher priority for a larger salary than I do. Or they love a sport more than I do, and will commit time and effort to it.

But imagine someone who thinks it is more important a certain team plays basketball than 1000’s dying? We can’t get our hands around that; we can’t understand that. In fact, if we presented a moral dilemma where a person chose to go to a basketball game at the expense of 1000’s of people dying—we would lock them away! We would question the stability of their mental state!

It baffles me when I read theist say, “God finds this important….” Or “God looks at that….” Or “God wants this….” or “God dislikes….” We can’t even understand the priority system of such a God; to talk of “likes” and “dislikes” is pure unadulterated speculation.

You have a God (if there was such a creature) who finds it more important to have a world where my wife gets to go to a basketball game than to save dying children. Don’t tell me you understand the inner-workings of what such a creature desires—you can’t even explain its priorities.


  1. Jesus Christ, your wife must be blessed. One sports fan to another. ;)

  2. Uh Oh........Looks like your wife and fellow Spartans fell out of Gods favour. :)

  3. I hope "God" didn't put any money on the game! If he did, I'm sure he's really PO'd right now.

  4. What a great example you give in your daughter of how our emotional disposition and judgement can be molded by a parent.

  5. What can I say? I am not nearly as crazy as your wife, but I am the sports fan in the family.

    If it weren't because DH is a fundy Christian, I would suggest you two form a support group for husbands of sports-nut wives.

    The difference between your wife and me is that I don't spend a penny on it. I watch it all on TV. Also, my sports are hockey, curling, tennis, track & field, and occasionally, soccer.