Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Is Football Racist ? BBC documetry with Clarke Carlisle

Racism has never been higher on the football agenda with with Luis Suarez and John Terry both hitting the headlines this year, along with the well publicised problems with the nations hosting the European Championships.

I do not condone racism or discrimination of any kind, and I think that the more TV discussion shows of this sort that bring these issues into the open the better. Hopefully, these shows and the subsiquent ground swell of opinion against racist chanting and behaviour will give 'normal' fans the moral courage to confront the undesirable elements at football matches and show them up as the small-minded bigots that they are.

As interesting and thought provoking as I thought this show was, I do feel that racism is not entirely football's problem, it is primarily societies problem, and this facet of the racism issue was not really explored at any length. I thought interviewing John Barnes at the 'International Slavery Museum'  was an interesting and slightly unnecessary location choice, although this was followed by a segment speaking to the comedian Ava Vidal where there was some discussion of the wider problem of an  'unconscious racism in society' and that 'football reflects society', but no investigation as to where the root of societies racism comes from.

The christian church condoned slavery, and indeed set about it's missionary work in Africa with barbaric zeal in its efforts to forcibly convert slaves to christianity before setting sail for the New World. It is therefore something of a mystery to me why so many American black activists who are campaigning for equality and against the wrongs of the past, such as slavery, do so while also being extremely religious and supportive of the very organisation which directly caused  the misery and suffering of the past.

But I digress. As somebody who grew up in a part of the country with very little ethnic diversity the first black player I really took an interest in was Mark Walters at Glasgow Rangers.

I didn't support Rangers, but I remember Mark Walters being something special and somebody my Dad would get excited about watching. I also remember that he suffered an astonishing level of racial abuse, but thankfully....well hopefully... most of society has now changed for the better and that would be unthinkable these days.

Mark was unusual in Scottish football at the time, and I have to say today, many years on, for the most part football fans are now generally colour-blind when supporting their teams, and that has to be a healthier situation.

But as Clarke Carlisle points out in the documentary, we are not there yet,  and you have to ask why there are not more black football managers and more British-Asian football players in our game. Highlighting this issue will hopefully lead to change and perhaps as the UK becomes more secular and atheist there will be less religious based discrimination and we will see a more level playing field for black, Asian, homosexual and female footballers.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Triumph of Marketing - Football v. Religion

At first glance it would appear that there is no contest between Football and Religion as regards the use of marketing to further their cause. 

Football is quite obviously big business with marketing being displayed on the team strips, round the pitch, in the actual names of football stadiums and even in the names of the football competitions. Away from the game football stars themselves are used to market everything from hair-gel to video games.
However, this high profile and multi-million pound football marketing bonanza, is probably a fraction of what the combined religious organisations bring in through their seemingly less high profile marketing operations.

However, all may not be as it seems, religion has been the master of marketing for over 2,000 years.

The Art of Religious Marketing

1. Create a Product.

As you can see from many businesses operating today, and indeed from many of the tasks undertaken in the TV show 'The Apprentice', all you need to start your business is a product. It doesn't have to be a good product, in fact it can be complete crap, but if your selling it to the uninitiated and stupid, any old rubbish will do. 

And lets not fool ourselves, religion is simply a business, and a business that has forgotten any moral or ethical foundations that it may once have had. 

Is it there to help the poor, well as many religions are tax avoiding hoarders of wealth and land it would appear not. Is it there to bring people together, they can't even agree amongst themselves and nothing has so divided people as religion.

So to the product........

If we're going to start with some market share already, why not take a bit of this and a bit of that and 'Hey Presto', we have created the Frankenstein religion of Christianity, nothing original but cobble bits of other religions together into a mega-bundle of superstition and nonsense.

 From the excellent Religion Poisons Blog

2. Eliminate Competition

Question: So why is most of the Western/English speaking world Christian ?

Answer: Emperor Constantine decided it would be more efficient and expedient to rule an mono-theist rather than a poly-theist empire, and as his mother had converted to Christianity (there were other mono-theist religions available) that was his choice.

So now that Christianity had a foothold through authority, it set about eliminating the competition of other religions in a fairly literal and lethal manner.

3. Consolidate Market Share

Not only would Christians kill those who believed in other gods, but also those who believed in no gods, and the church has managed to put a cultural stigma on the word 'atheist' which still exists today. American's hate atheists, but accept those who have no religion ..... what can I say, thery are Americans - but it is an example of how the church has poisoned our culture and language.

There were still people being put to death for heresy as late as the 18th century in Europe, and this behaviour is still very much alive and accepted in the Islamic world today.

The Church propped up the Monarchy, and vice-versa. The Church controlled much of the legal process and barbaric practices such as 'trial by fire', trial by water', burning women at the stake,  general nastiness and brutality that ensured that the Churches were full on a Sunday and that people were contributing to their coffers. In fact it was at one time a crime to to go to church. So frightening those who don't beliebve in to pretending they do believe is a pretty effective way to consolodate your market share.

4. Improve Your Product

At the heart of this 'product' is a book, a not very well written book - but that's OK because
believers hardly ever actually read the book. They just accept the sanitised versions of the good bits from their preachers.

But as King James knew, ever book needs a re-write.

So we should really ask ourselves why so many people blindly believe this book considering its checkered editorial past.

  From the excellent Religion Poisons Blog

5. Target The Young

From a marketing perspective this is where the religions clean up.

The ARGUMENT from AUTHORITY. If you tell a baby that they are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and then tie their life to religious festivals and customs, it takes a brake and inquiring mind to ask the real questions while still a child and come to the obvious conclusion.

 From the excellent Religion Poisons Blog 

When Islam is still so backward as to condone 'honour killings' for their own children as a consequence of their religion and Christianity can still persecute openly gays any normal person has to ask themselves how this can ne permitted to continue in the name of superstition.

The Future

Hopefully, religion, will as with all other marketing fads - cabbage patch dolls, rah-rah skirts, filofaxes, Tamagotchi, Sony Walkmans etc. will run its course and die out.

It is difficult to imagine why people will believe in the bible a book so full of errors that in any other publication it would be sent back for a re-write.

Why if the bible is the word of god it doesn't know the world is round or that the sun is the center of the universe. It mentions unicorns, but not kangeroos if god did create the earth would he not have known this.

Why is the bible full of unethical and immoral behaviour. Why would a righteous unbeliver be damned to hell, but a child molesting priest be welcomed in to heaven once he has repented his sin.

Why is there no practical wisdom on technological advances, medical advice or simple sanitation.

Why do miracles 'proving' god's existence consist of crying statues or  'visions', if somebody came back from a miracle vision with the cure for cancer I might take them seriously. Some people do claim to hear the word of god, but they are as likely to be serial killers as productive members of society, and there is yet to be an 'miracle' witnessed by an atheist.

So religion is simply a triumph of marketing. It is smoke and mirrors, empty rhetoric and run by people who are putting their own comfort and well being above those they should be helping. It is big business, and like all big business it stinks.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Thought Experiment 1 - Football v. Religion

I think it would be a hugely interesting, although possibly very cruel, experiment to strand say 100 very young and uncorrupted children, of all creeds and colours, on a lush and fruitful tropical island.

To start with there would have to be some outside influence, but absolutely minimum, by leaving food medicine or clothing. Once established and fairly autonomous they should then be left alone for 250 years.

What do you think we would fine when we returned......

There would be a society, possibly very different from what we expect, but there would be games and sport of some kind, maybe even a type of football, I would have thought so all other societies through the ages have played such a game. It wouldn't be 11 a side, the pitch would be different dimensions, but there have been too many examples of sport involving getting a ball over a line for it not to be replicated in this society.

But what of religion. I would wager my house that there would be no tales of talking snakes, men on a  cross, Mosses in the rushes, Mount Sinai and the 10 Commandments, the good Samaritan, etc. and why should there. Although, if the bible is the book of God why would these pure and uncorrupted children not know of these things.

I suspect that this experiment, which unfortunately will never happen, would prove, once and for all,  that the Christians, Jews, Muslims, Moonies, Jehovah's Witnesses, Scientologists and the rest of the religions cults are all nonsense.

Also, in the absence of  the influence of religion, there may be some social harmony, women may have equal rights, homosexuals may not be persecuted and there would hopefully be no racism - why would there be.

I guess that if this society felt the need to worship, that they would worship the sun, and why not. It exists, it is reliable and without it you die. If these aspects of Sun worship were actually the prerequisite for all religions, we would have far fewer of them, and any that did exist I would have no problems co-existing with.

Societies only need 'god' if they have questions that can not be answered, it has been said "where knowledge ends, religion begins" -and so this will take me on to Thought Experiment 2 shortly.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Weekend TV - Football v. Religion

What a difference in weekend's TV offerings.......

From Football, excellent matches from Hearts and Chelsea, providing superb entertainment and talking points for most of Saturday, and indeed the rest of the weekend.

From Religion, 'The Big Questions', a TV show on BBC supposedly hosting religious debate, but which actually seemed to go out of its way to avoid questioning some glaringly obvious problems with the statements put forward by some f its contributors. The show should really be re-titled 'Avoiding The Big Answers'.

'The Big Questions' seems to be an hour spent seemingly avoiding rigorous critical debate and allowing religious sophistry of the highest order. On the plus side, it does actually gather members representing the three Abrahamic religions together for once to try and defend their religious delusions.

You can watch it on BBC iPlayer here until 27th May (I think). The questions this week was "is there a difference between a religion and a cult?"

There were few highlights, but these included the common sense of Prof Francesca Stavrakopoulou, Ancient Religions, Exeter Uni and a member of the audience with spiky hair.

05:24 Prof Fran - No difference between religion and cult, it is just about size.

13:30 Nicky Campbell -  Lands a punch for common sense quoting from the Bible, Book of Mathew "He that loveth father and mother more than me is not worthy of me, He that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me...." is this not cultist ?  

Christina Odone, Telegraph - says a description of cult is to have a charismatic leader (Jesus, Mohammed) who has a radical teaching,  tells people to leave their family and everything they know, and  that they will find they are alienated - all sounds like a religion to me, she then goes on,  unfortunately unchallenged, to say that religions live by morals & value, cults don't. However, a quick read of the bible would end that line of argument.

Prof Fran - Then pretty much destroys Odone's last point.

24.25 Prof Fran - "The bible is a very contradictory collection of texts... I know what I'm talking about"

28:05 The man from the Moonies gets the hump at people sniggering at him, c'mon he must be used to this by now.

30:52 Atheist Spiky Haired Guy "Budda said, do not believe anything because you see it, because you read it in a religious book, because your religious teacher tells you or even because I say it, always use your own common sense and reason - use the TV Myth busters and prove anything you say is actually true - it should be the same principals with religion"

However there was much that just annoyed me as a viewer,

05:54 Ian Hanworth, Cult Information Cenre, (look at their Council of Reference - basically a 'charity' backed by mainstream religion),
"I will word things carefully because I might have to prove things I could say in a court of law" - does he mean he would have difficulty proving what he may say in a court of law. He is then accused by another guest, rightly, of using manipulative techniques in making allegations and not backing them up.

09:30 Rabbi Yitchak Schochet - and this is pure GOLD
Nicky Campbell asks "Aren't Religions just successful cults"
Rabbi " No, religions in the first instance is predicated on the belief in a deity, and a cult in the first instance is predicated, usually, on a belief in a particular man who concocted something which he then chose to  define as a religion and then looks to prey on the vulnerable...."
UNBELIEVABLE Is this not Jesus, Mohammed & Mosses that you are describing - NickyC c'mon step in here!!!
Prof Fran does try and make this exact point but is simply shouted down by the Rabbi - NickyC does nothing.

12:15 Linda Dubrow-Marshall had nothing sensible to say - and was taken apart by the 'Jews for Jesus guy' @ 13:13, who came across as funand interesting  guy. By the way, Linda is Research Co-Editor of ICSA Today and is a co-founder of RETIRN, a private practice which provides services to individuals and families who have been affected by cultic influence. So this may just have been a free advert for her.... and Rob Dubrow-Marshall (her husband?- what do you think?) was also there although said much and contributed little - and they're both at it, he even touts for work on the show!

21:20 Ian Hanworth "What we're concerned with is that Cults remove free choice" - What -like the baptism of christian children without their consent, or the circumcision of Jewish babies. Can you be this blind? As Rabbie Burns wrote in 'To a Louse' (appropriate) "O would some power the gift to give us to see ourselves as others see us".

40:49 Ian Hanworth - discusses child abuse in Cults and completely fails to mention that there may be systemic child  abuse in organised religions, such as the catholic church for example.

44:45 John Atack "You are shunned if you leave a cult", well you can be put to death for leaving some religions or even just for heresy, and that's just bad-mouthing a religion - shunning doesn't seem so bad now does it.

Having watched this twice now, if the BBC, or indeed anybody else thinks that this TV show is a well balanced, intellectual and critical debate on religion, then they are deluded.

Having Religion deride Cults for being unethical, controlling, self-obsessed, child-abusing organisations based on an invented philosophy is just hilarious.

Bring on Euro 2012 and some quality TV.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Unacceptable Behaviour - Football v. Religion

Joey Barton...... What can you say about him?

He broke the rules, got caught, went berserk, and will be punished according to the appropriate disciplinary code of the Football Association. Rumours are that he will receive a 10 game ban, and this may be seen as lenient by some. He hasn't really shown remorse, but why should he, he knew what he was doing, and the likely consequences, so I probably have more respect for him for saying nothing, rather than issuing an insincere grovelling apology as Suarez did.

Contrast this with Religion, specifically the Catholic Church.

Apart from the obvious 10 Commandments as rules of life, it seems odd to me that the Church and Christianity is content that the worst amongst us can be saved by repenting our sins. So what exactly is the fucking point of having a moral code if an evil and immoral life can be saved in 'injury time' by 'repenting'. Surely this is a get-out-of-jail-card for the worst in society.

Is this why priests seem to be able to abuse children with impunity in the knowledge that confession and repenting will absolve all sin.


Instead of shielding these disgusting criminals the Catholic Church should expose them rather than use their culture of guilt and position of authority within the community to silence the abused. What sort of benign all seeing god would allow this to happen...... EXACTLY.

Maybe the Catholic Church should look at Football for their moral compass (as they appear to have none), it's not hard, there are rules, if you break the rules there are sanctions, you can say sorry if you want, but as we said before you broke the rules (or law) so there are sanctions.

The Catholic Church has lost it's way, they have gotten too big, it is all about the brand and the message is lost, similar to what happened to Irish rock band U2. The church is now all about the church and only interested in the church.... What about the people ? What about the children ?

I'm glad football is my religion, I can sleep sound and look forward to a cracking day tomorrow, c'mon Hearts, Blackpool and Chelsea.

Update: Via on twitter Ex-priest guilty of conspiring to kill boy who accused him of rape    Unbelievable, how can you possibly explain these actions of a very religious person.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

End of 2011/12 Premiership Season - Football v. Religion

What a last day of of Premiership Football.

Was it a miracle?  Is Aguaro the new Messiah ? Is ex-Bolton Wanderers player Stoke's Jon Walters the new Judas ?

No, No and NO - this has nothing to do with Religion it is too powerful for that -


The excitement, twists and turns, Champions or runners up, saved or relegated, Champion's League spot or hanging on for Chelsea's result next Saturday - these are real issues that mean an awful lot to an awful lot of people.

I can't not enjoy football, it is a real and enriching experience, it doesn't teach me untruths or to mis-trust and hate others and importantly it only consumes my life when I allow it to - there is no penalty if I don't go to the games or switch off the TV.

So it is the end of the season...... luckily there are the NPower play-off finals, Scottish Cup, Champion's League Final and the Euros to look forward to before next August.

However, on the downside there is also football in the Olympics...... but that is an entirely different post and rant.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Corruption at the Top - Football v. Religion

It is a source of great frustration to me that it appears that Football and Religion suffer from the same problem, in that there would seem to be wide spread corruption and a lack of morals and ethics at the top of of  both organisations.

Both organisations suffer from those at the top seeking their own self aggrandisement and putting their own personal ambitions ahead of very things their organisations stand for. Neither Pope Benedict XVI or Sepp Blatter got where they are without playing a great deal of 'organisational politics' and doing deals to get ahead.

If either of these men were most interested in promoting the 'true values' of their organisations  then things may be very different.

The Catholic Church must stop the protection and cover-up of the wide-spread child abuse that seems endemic in this organisation, they should change the out-dated rules on contraception and maybe help stop the spread of aids in the third world and maybe, just maybe, these men of god would give up their privileged  film star life-styles, the first class travel and Michelin starred restaurants and put some of the money saved to actually help the poor...... is that not what their fictional Jesus teaches.

And maybe that's the rub - those in the Vatican are best placed and must be aware of the greatest fiction ever spread - is that why they fail to live by the world of the bible.....

....... but FIFA is no better. An organisation supposedly tasked with looking after the best interests of Football, and they are simply falling over themselves to get their snouts in the trough. The 'bungs' and 'bribes' and under-hand dealing that has allegedly gone on to deprive England of hosting the 2018 World Cup is pretty legendary,

But WHY is nobody questioning the decision to take the World Cup to QATAR in 2022 - How much money was paid in bribes to secure that...........

Can somebody from FIFA please answer the following,

From a purely practical point of view, Qatar is petty small and largely desert.
  • Where are you going to accommodate 32 National Teams with the attending media circuses and necessary training facilities.
  • Where are you going to accommodate the supporters from 32 different nations.
  • Where are the football stadiums meeting the international standards and having sufficient capacity for the attending crowds.
  • With day time temperatures in the 40s, when are you going to play the games.
There is a good article questioning all this from the Telegraph here

But most worrying, if you are trying to run a FUN and ENJOYABLE festival of football for THE WORLD, why have you chosen to have it in a country that RESTRICTS FREEDOM.

From the FCO Website - advice regarding visiting QATAR ( FCO WEBSITE HERE )

"Local laws reflect the fact that Qatar is an Islamic country. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend other cultures or religious beliefs." Seems fair enough, unless of course having to change my behaviour such that I do not offend local customs is actually breaching my human rights.

"The importation of narcotics, alcohol, pornography, pork products and religious books and material into Qatar is illegal." So does this mean supporters from other faiths can not bring their bible, torah etc. and what does 'religious material mean' does this include jewellery such as crucifixes. Also, what does this mean for all the footballers who insist on 'crossing themselves' at every possibility - will this offend our Islamic hosts.

"DVDs and videos may be subject to scrutiny and may be censored."  and you can probably add laptops and memory sticks.

"It is a punishable offence to drink alcohol or be drunk in public.  Offenders may incur a prison sentence or deportation.  Alcohol is, however, available at licensed hotel restaurants and bars, and expatriates living in Qatar can obtain alcohol on a permit system.  You should not carry alcohol with you, including in your car (except to take it on the day of collection from the warehouse to your home)." This should be interesting....... bring on the FUN POLICE !!!

"You should dress modestly when in public, including whilst driving.  Women should cover their shoulders and avoid wearing short skirts.  You should behave courteously at all times."  Yes WOMEN, know your place !!! 
When the temperature is 40 degrees Celsius, I think some women may be wearing next to nothing, bring on the Brazilians.  

"Any intimacy in public between men and women (including between teenagers) can lead to arrest."
 As I said before 'bring on the Brazilians'. What does this mean, holding hands, hugging, kissing - the things that happen when your team scores.......

"Homosexual behaviour is illegal in Qatar" Seriously, who in FIFA thought that taking the World Cup to a homophobic, medieval and feudal society was a good idea.

How is this going to work unless QATAR changes its laws, and if it is necessary for QATAR to temporarily change its laws in order to hold the World Cup,  FIFA should be questioning whether this is a country that should ever have been considered in the first place.

Friday, 4 May 2012

The Good Book - Football v. Religion (No.4)

The Rules of Association Football were codified in 1863 as a way of establishing a definite set of rules for Football and also to distinguish the game from other forms of 'football' around at the time, such as Rugby Football.

The earliest forms of football go back to China in the second century, the first description of a football match in England was written by William FitzStephen in about 1170, and there are many British traditions going back hundreds of years pitting one village against another to force a 'ball' over a 'goal line'.

Basically, the Rules of Association Football took the best bits from the many similar games around at the time and combined them to produce the game we know and love today.

And this is very much what those that wrote the bible did when they invented Christianity.  They took the best bits from all the previous religions and combined the stories to produce what we recognise as Christianity today.

The following, which illustrates this point excellently, was found on the Religion Poisons website

So, I guess that on this point, Football and Religion are fairly similar, in that they have both been manufactured by man from previous, but less successful attempts at the same thing.

Now one of them is very popular, gets people of all types together and can be a social force for good, the other is Religion.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The Good Book - Football v. Religion (No.3)

One of the important aspects of the Rules of Association Football is that it has been written to avoid ambiguity and personal interpretation, and is the same set of rules used throughout the world regardless of your creed, colour, age, gender and sexual orientation.

It has been written so that even the more 'confusing' (to some) rules such as the offside rule, are written plainly to avoid misinterpretation or differing interpretations.

It therefore seems perverse to me that the Christian Churches, and I mean churches, for there are an uncountable number of denominations and varieties, treat the Bible as a MENU of scripture and verse from which to pick and choose the bits you want, and then interpret as you choose.

Surely, this is no way to run a religion.The message should be consistent and easily understood.

However, Christians can't even decide if the Bible is a metaphor for life or a literal account of the beginning of the world in Gods words. If they can't even agree on something as basic as that, the many other problems between denominations and sects appear trivial.

If you really want to see how dis-jointed a religion Christianity is, just investigate the goings on at the spiritual heart of Christianity, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. It is a shocking list of examples of how the many sects within the church spend more time on in-fighting and petty squabbles than doing anything that might benefit mankind. As the video below demonstrates.

There you have it, 'men of peace' going about their daily business of spreading hate and division.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Emotional Highs - Football v. Religion

What a week !!!  Chelsea beating Barcelona, Bayern Munich beating Real Madrid, Bolton still fighting relegation and turning over Aston Villa, then coming up this weekend the Championship is decided, the last Old Firm fixture of a very odd season for Rangers and the BIG match on Monday with the potential title decider when Man City host United.

It has to be said that now we are in the 21st Century, as far as emotion highs are concerned Football has to be responsible for far more emotional highs (and lows) in far, far greater numbers of people than Religion does.

It is hard to describe to non-football supporters quite what you get out of supporting a club. In many ways there are many similarities with the reasons that many people go to church. Not everyone joins a football supporters club for the football, in the same way that not everyone who goes to church does so for religious reasons.

The feelings of belonging and inclusion, being part of a social circle, having common aims and desires and for some, the provision of emotion support in times of need, are equally valid reasons for going to church or going to a football stadium.

The obvious similarities are that these reasons for attending either church or the stadium do not necessarily have anything to do with Football or Religion. The biggest difference is the numbers of people benefiting from these support mechanisms.

While the churches are pretty much emptying, the other notable factor is the age and demographic of those attending......

.......and it may be that Religion will find it increasingly difficult to persuade younger generations to change their ways and become more sexist, racist and homophobic.

Football on the other hand brings a huge amount of joy to a great many people.....
.... and the church could only dream of crowds such as those that attend organised Football matches, let alone the arm-chair supporters and those who play, coach and referee the game at all levels and all ages.

But it is the emotional roller-coaster  of Football that Religion can not compete with. Take the Arsenal v. Spurs game on the 26th Feb 2012. As an Arsenal fan it was  a poor start a goal down after 4 minutes, then despair as we went 2 down after 34 minutes.Then despair turned to hope and then relief as the first half ended 2:2. And what a second half, 11 minutes in and we're delighted to go a goal up, ecstatic 15 minutes later to double the lead at 4:2, and the unbelievably shortly after it was 5:2. No Religious thought  has ever given me even a fraction of the emotional enjoyment that this game did, and many millions of people feel the exactly the same.

 Football can be accused of being tribal and causing rifts and friction between factions (much as Religion does), but luckily the trouble caused at Football matches is by the lunatic fringe and there is often a great deal of joy, fun and laughter between rival supporters, and you'd never see enjoyment and costumes like the Dutch supporters are wearing below, at church.

So, the only conclusion that can be made is that Football is responsible for more, joy, excitement and positive emotional experiences than Religion.

And that is why you have huge crowds going to 'worship' at Football stadiums at every chance they get.

As dalekpete points out in his blog, after he carried out an admittedly limited survey, if asked people as as likely to name Football as their religion as name an organised religion. So, once the 'stigma' associated with the word 'atheist' is removed, more and more people will be willing to put 'No Religion' or 'Football' if asked.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

The Good Book - Football v. Religion (No.2)

The Rules of Association Football, unlike the Holy Bible, have been revised frequently since they were first written in the 1860s. These revisions have been discussed openly, agreed by the appropriate governing body, trialled and then ratified, and it is a shame that this process has not been applied to the holy books of all religions.

The purposes of these Association Football rule changes have been to improve the game, make it a better sporting spectacle and to adopt advances in technology for the benefit of all, for example,

  • Introduction of penalty kicks,
  • Introduction of red and yellow cards,
  • Change in the number of substitutes permitted,
  • The back-pass rule,
  • and next year possibly the introduction of goal line technology 
So it is clear that the Rules of Association Football have undergone quite a few changes during its 150 or so years in print.

By comparison, it has to be said that it is to the detriment of the human race that the Holy Bible has not undergone any such re-write over a much longer timescale. Without going too far into specifics on this post, is would be beneficial had the Holy Bible been re-written to edit out,
  • entries that are factually incorrect  (the earth is not flat)
  • entries that are scientifically incorrect (Eve was not made from Adam's rib)
  • entries that are just wrong (there are no unicorns)
  • entries that are contradictory. For crying out loud, its been 500 years since the King James Bible was printed, was nobody proof reading this rubbish. It is so full of contradictory facts you'd think the whole thing was made up......
NonStampCollector has captured the problems of Biblical contradictions excellently.

So it has to be said that from an editorial and revision perceptive that the Rules of Association Football have certainly benefited from being edited and revised. It is a shame that the Holy Bible has not undergone such a process, because a large part of the World's population would benefit from a revised, modernised, factually and scientifically correct, version of the bible.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Good Book - Football v. Religion (No.1)

The Rules of Association Football and the Holy Bible have many similarities and differences.

One similarity is that nobody knows for sure who is actually responsible for the entire authorship of either book.

However, in regard to the veracity of the two books, that is where the similarities end. For example,
  • The Rules of Association Football do not suffer from 'acuracy' problems due to multiple poor translations from  Hebrew, Greek and Latin.
  • The original Rules of Association Football have not been tampered with, or had sections added, deleted or amended to suit the religious authorities or the monarchy of the day.
  • There are not multiple versions of the Rules of Association Football all claiming to be the 'Real Rules'.

So it would appear to me that the Rules of Association Football, in use today, are far closer to the original ideas, ethos and meaning of Football that the Holy Bible is to Christianity.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Keep Sunday Special - Football v. Religion

The 'Keep Sunday Special Campaign' is yet another small-minded group of religious zealots who wish to restrict the freedom of others due to a poorly written work of fiction whose primary purpose has been subjugation and control of the masses.

When will these Christian organisations wake up to the fact that it is no longer possible to simply bore people into church. Their hay-day in this respect is well and truly gone, people now have far more interesting, more rewarding and more productive things to do on a Sunday.

Centuries ago the church was the meeting place where local news and gossip could be shared, and that aspect of church was a large part of the reason for going to church. That said, the fact that in the past it has been an offense not to go to church which could result in death - was also a fairly powerful motivator I'd say.

However, the advent of newspapers, radio, television and the internet, along with the many scientific discoveries and advancements, now means that the modern church is required by a far smaller percentage of the population. So why are these people trying to keep Sunday special for me when I don't necessarily want it to be any more 'special' than it already is.

And what about Friday for the mosques and Saturday for the synagogue - it would appear that haven't really thought this through - should we not have special days for everyone's imaginary friend.

And why Sunday ? Well I saw on another website (which I'm afraid I can't find just now - so can't credit) that somebody had quite brilliantly spotted yet another flaw in biblical account of the beginning of the world. They wrote......

"If God made the world in 6 days, and made the Sun and Moon on day 4, how did he measure a day on Day 1, Day2, Day 3 as it requires the earth and the moon to measure a day - also the gravitational pull of the sun? It is a bit like saying god invented water while taking a shower".

It also has to be asked, if he said "let there be light" on Day 1, "and there was light", but he made the sun on Day 4 then where did the .... ah ..... it all looks a bit flimsy, doesn't it - and this is why heretics had to be put to death, the biblical account just unravels when any aspect is questioned.... but I digress...... back to Sundays.

The only part of Keep Sunday Special that I could possibly agree with (but from a purely selfish perspective) is that the shops should all open at 10.00 AM, so that I can have a lie-in and they should then shut about 12:30 PM so that I can get home or to the pub for the Super Sunday football.

Having the shops open when the football is on the TV can occasionally cause some marital friction, but as you can now watch football pretty much everyday of the week, picking any single day to keep special just seems a bit daft.

And surely that is the real point of life, EVERY day should be special.

So I guess I would have to support an alternative campaign, my campaign would have to be 'Why Keep Sunday Special ?' - look, I have a logo and everything...........


Saturday, 21 April 2012

Child Indoctrination - Football v. Religion

It seems to me that there are certain parallels between Football and Religion regarding the 'indoctrination of children', although at the end of the day the motives of each may be very different.

Dads purchase baby-grows, bibs and duvet covers in their teams colours for their new born children, thereby signalling their intent that the child follows the same football team as they do. Why do they do this ? Possibly family tradition, fostering a commonality of interest and from a practical point of view, going to the same sports ground each week.

Is this the same for religion? Children are baptised before they can agree to or understand the meaning and significance of that act, then through a process of family and social pressure are 'encouraged' to conform to that religion's rituals and codes.

Leaving a religion or changing football allegiance can both cause family and social friction, and possibly result in being outcast from certain groups. However, changing the team you support or deciding your not at all interested in football doesn't lead to death threats and violence, additionally, it is common for there to be a variety of football teams supported by different members of the same family in a harmonious environment.

Also, unlike religions, marriage between supporters of different football teams doesn't require that one partner change their allegiance.

The other practical problem is that while interest in Football is growing across all communities, cultures and generations, interest Religion is on a rapid decline. Many people unthinkingly attend religious services through a mis-guided sense of duty to the older generations of the family.

These being the last generation in this world to be brought up in the absence of scientific information and the internet, and so have not necessarily enjoyed the luxury of freedom of thought or been encouraged to challenge 'social norms'. Once this generation goes, watch the church services empty, and this is why the fanatics are becoming more and more reliant on extreme child indoctrination in order to keep their 'congregations' viable.

So, it seems to me that in regard to CHILD INDOCTRINATIONFOOTBALL is far more understanding AND benign than RELIGION ever will be.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Discrimination - Football v. Religion

While it is true that Football has had its problems with racism, bigotry, sexism and homophobia (and unfortunately still has some problems) at least it is doing a lot to try and combat senseless hate.

The 'Kick Racism Out of Football' campaign, Football's cross cultural and religious appeal, woman's football teams, match officials and commentators  along with a concerted effort to fight homophobia surely means that Football is doing its best to be a positive force in today's world.

Nobody is pretending that  Football is perfect, but at least it is trying.

And it has to be said that Football's problems of racism, bigotry, sexism and homophobia were not of its own making, they were a general part of the society in which Football started - a Christian society, with the 'christian values' of hate and exclusion.

It seems incredible to me that 2000 years on from the bronze age world-view that existed at the time that first monks ghost-wrote the bible, that Christians are still peddling their particular brand of 'LOVE' where the church still treats women unequally, doesn't do enough to foster cross cultural relationships and is still homophobic.

The hypocrisy of the 'Love thy Neighbour' Anglicans who tried to place these adverts on London buses is unbelievable, what makes them think they can cure Gay people, or that Gay people even want to be cured.

There is absolutely no shame or reason to feel bad if you are gay, transsexual, asexual, or anything else - as long as you act in a morally acceptable, loving and respectful way - however the Christian Church (and indeed other religions) would rather persecute such individuals. They are just big nasty, cowardly bullies.

So on the subject of DISCRIMINATION, I have to conclude that FOOTBALL  is possibly part of the solution to the problems caused by RELIGION.

For more info on this story please see Gay cure advert banned on London buses story

Monday, 9 April 2012

Tottenham Hotspur's Atheist Shirt Logo

Surprised nobody has commented on the obvious similarity between the logo on the Spur's football shirts and the generally accepted atheist logo.

The only other vaguely religions connection with football that I know of is that Hibernian FC play at Easter Road, but the reason that it is called Easter Road is because they are always being crucified.....