Sunday, 17 June 2012

When God doesn't want to be given credit

It started with Cassius Clay converting to Islam, changing his name to Muhammad Ali and fighting in the name of Allah.  Since then it's become a trend in combat sport for fighers to thank Jesus/Krishna/Buddha/Allah after having just "defeated" (read beat up) another human being.

Yes, thanks to God's blessings you were able to punch another man's face in and inflict all sorts of ailments, some of which could manifest only years later.  Ali remarked, "I do my best and leave the result with Allah."

Fair enough, both fighters who enter the ring/octagon are there by choice, but please do not expect God to endorse or bless your endeavour of hurting another.  Religious groups and leaders are only too happy to use famous fighters as figureheads and role models to promote their religion, as was the case with Muhammad Ali.  Somehow preaching peace yet touting someone who earns their daily bread through violence as a beacon of your religion is consistent.

It seems that resident motor-mouth of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Chael Sonnen is the only voice of reason:

"You know, these guys want to talk about God. 'Oh, I want to thank God. I want to thank God.' Listen, I'm a God-fearing man, go to church every Sunday and have since I was a boy. But if I ever found out that God cared one way or another about a borderline illegal fist-fight on Saturday night, I would be so greatly disappointed that it would make rethink my entire belief system."

Religious texts frequently make reference to holy wars and fighting in the interest of preserving the faith, but any modern bout is a contrived event whose result has no consequence on the well being of any faith, culture or nation.  It's done for personal glory and money, often at the expense of the loser's health.  Watch, support and participate all you want in fight sports, but don't presume that God shares your passion or approves of it.  


Chael Sonnen


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