Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's basically all or nothing

Euan Murray plays rugby.  But not on Sundays.  Because the bible says not to play rugby on Sundays.

The Glasgow-born prop, 31, has chosen to prioritise his faith this weekend, meaning he will miss Scotland's Pool B clash with Argentina on Sunday.

I’m reasonably certain that if he chose to prioritise going out on the rancid piss on Saturday night and spending Sunday in bed, his bosses wouldn’t be so sympathetic.  Personally, I can’t see the difference.

"I don't see why there have to be games on Sundays," said Murray. "I hope things will change in future."

Well, it’s for the same two reasons shops now open on Sundays.  First, people want them to.  Christians shop on Sundays just like everyone else.  And second, it’s an economic necessity.

But he isn’t paid for his economic or socio-political skills. He’s paid to run into people and things.  And we might well admire him for having the courage of his convictions:

Murray will hope that he has done enough in previous matches to get his place in the team back for next week's match against England, which takes place on a Saturday.

He’s taking a risk for his beliefs, which some might indeed find admirable.  But he kind of spoils it:

"It's basically all or nothing, following Jesus. I don't believe in pick 'n' mix Christianity. I believe the Bible is the word of God, so who am I to ignore something from it?”

Well where do we start?  He obviously trims his beard and sideburns, which is specifically forbidden in Leviticus 19:27.  Do you think he eats pork?  He looks like he eats pork.  If he does, Leviticus 11:8 has something to say to him.  I’m entertaining a fantasy that rugby balls are made from pigskin, in which case he wouldn’t be allowed to even touch them and might successfully argue to his boss that he be paid for never touching the ball, but I’ve never yet noticed reality living up to any of these fantasies so I don’t hold out much hope.  I’ve also failed to uncover evidence that he bears tattoos or tattoos bears, at least one of which is forbidden, but I know for a fact that he wears polyester and other fabric blends.  That’s sinful.  Leviticus 19:19 says so quite clearly.  Hopefully he doesn’t eat shellfish because they are also strictly verboten.  It’s not just shellfish though, plenty of other animals get the same treatment: camel, rock badger, rabbit, eagle, vulture, buzzard, falcon, raven, crow, ostrich, owl, seagull, hawk, pelican, stork, heron, bat, winged insects that walk on four legs unless they have joints to jump with like grasshoppers (!), bear, mole, mouse, lizard, gecko, crocodile, chameleon and snail.  I’ve eaten some of the things on that list, rendering me sinful.  I hope Euan hasn’t because that would be pick ‘n’ mix religion.

Well, you get the idea.  But scripture goes rather further than telling us what not to do.  It tells us what we must do, too.  For example, Exodus 31:15 tells us to kill anyone who works on the Sabbath.  Does Euan do that?  Has he righteously slaughtered his team-mates?  Does he pop round to his local newsagents on Sunday morning and pop a cap in the shopkeeper?

"It's basically all or nothing, following Jesus. I don't believe in pick 'n' mix Christianity. I believe the Bible is the word of God, so who am I to ignore something from it?”

Who indeed? 

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