JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

I’m going to the Super Bowl! God is great! Yay!

“Pass the Gatorade, bud …”

I don’t know if Ray Lewis is a murderer, and I don’t particularly care. I don’t know if he’s a PED abuser, and I don’t particularly care, either.

I’m just incredibly sick of his evocations of God’s greatness.

I don’t know God. I’ve never met God. I’ll venture a guess and say there probably is no God. However, if He does, by some chance, exist, I’m presuming he doesn’t give two shits about the Baltimore Ravens.

“Oh, how can you say that?” believers cry. “God cares about everyone and everything.”

How do you know that?

“I know God.”

How do you know God?

“I was raised with God.”

He lived in your house?

“No, church.”

Oh.

In the world, as we speak, there are 21 listed religions. They are:

1. Christianity—2.1 billion followers
2. Islam—1.3 billion followers
3. Secular/Irreligious/Agnostic/Atheist—1.1 billion followers
4. Hinduism—900 million followers
5. Chinese traditional religion—394 million followers
6. Buddhism—376 million followers
7. Primal indigenous—300 million followers
8. African traditional and diasporic—100 million followers
9. Sikhism—23 million followers
10. Juche—19 million followers
11. Spiritism—15 million followers
12. Judaism—14 million followers
13. Bahá’í Faith—7 million followers
14. Jainism—4.2 million followers
15. Shinto—4 million followers
16. Cao Dai—4 million followers
17. Zoroastrianism—2.6 million followers
18. Tenrikyo—2 million followers
19. Neopaganism—1 million followers
20. Unitarian Universalism—800,000 followers
21. Rastafari movement—600,000 followers

So for Ray Lewis to be spot-on here, we have to accept that:

A. The 2.1 billion followers of Christianity (and Jesus Christ) are correct, and the other approximately 4 billion are off.

B. Not only was God the father of Jesus Christ, but God has the ability to hear everyone at the same time, help everyone at the same time.

C. God, the father of Jesus Christ and hearer of all, cares enough about the Baltimore Ravens to help them reach the Super Bowl.

D. While caring about the Ravens reaching the Super Bowl, God somehow, eh, forgot to keep a crazy shooter out of Sandy Hook Elementary; forgot to keep a piece of the Challenger space shuttle warm; forgot to tell Abe Lincoln not to go to the theatre; forgot to strike down Adolph Hitler as a boy; forgot to wipe out the plague.

Well, I’m calling bullshit. Every time I hear Ray Lewis bellowing “Jesus! Praise Jesus! Jesus is great!” I think, “This is not a smart man.” The smart man can believe in God, but he also—I think—looks outward and sees the larger picture. Yes, maybe Sandy Hook and the Holocaust and 9.11 and a million other tragedies happened as part of God’s plan. Or, perhaps, God simply believes in free will; and that—as Forrest Gump suggested (then rejected)—we all might be floating around on our own, like feathers in the wind. Maybe God loves Ray Lewis, maybe he hates Ray Lewis, maybe he doesn’t give 2 1/2 shits about Ray Lewis.

Amen.