To you, I’m an atheist. To God, I’m the loyal opposition. ~ Woody Allen
It is well known in my family that I am not an athlete. Early in my relationship with my husband, on a trip to Steamboat Springs, I broke my tib-fib in a butterfly fracture that put me in a full length cast for three months, followed by another three months in a walking cast. This happened while cross-country skiing BUT we had been in the hot springs, it was getting toward dusk, and the trail was steep and VERY icy.
So when we decided to go mini-golfing on Hilton Head over Thanksgiving I was not expecting much.
“Is man merely a mistake of God’s? Or is God merely a mistake of man?” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
There were three courses on the island to choose from. It was a damp foggy day so we vetoed the pirate themed course and went with the one with lots of trees overhead, assuming if it started to rain we would have some cover.
“Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe there are fairies at the bottom of it too?” ~ Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
We immediately noticed something strange. At each tee there was a placard with a quote from scripture. Nowhere was there a sign warning us this was a Christian golf course. Not that they necessarily had to tell us but it felt odd and strange. All four of us were a little uncomfortable with it.
“No swearing if you end up in the drink,” I said.
There were a lot of difficult water obstacles on the course. The girls and I were in trouble by the second hole. When my ball splashed into the water, I was the first to say, “Oh, shit.”
The Bible has noble poetry in it…and some good morals and a wealth of obscenity, and upwards of a thousand lies.” ~ Mark Twain
My husband brought his putter and his own ball. We at first thought this might give him an unfair advantage. He definitely thought he was going to win.
“It’s a big mistake to think that your own cause, or your own country, or your own side has God in its corner. For one thing, it commits the sin of pride.” ~ Christopher Hitchens
After the second hole, my game picked up. I shot a total of four birdies despite the signs that guided my way through the course and sort of rattled me. It bothered me, this let me preach my religion while you golf sort of thing, because of course I wondered, what if someone wanted to open a Muslim golf course? Could such a thing exist here on Hilton Head Island?
Freedom of religion only goes so far. Of course the furthest reaches are atheists. I once heard it said that we would see a Muslim elected president before we ever see an atheist take the oath of office. I am not sure if that is true, but George W. Bush once said, “Lincoln said you cannot be President without spending some item on your knees. I have repeated that and a bunch of atheists got all over me. Wait a minute. Does that mean that you cannot be President if you are an atheist? I say yes that does mean that.”
But what did Lincoln mean by item? I have never heard that expression before. Could spending some item on your knees have meant gardening, as in communing with nature? I’m with Einstein on this one.
“I don’t try to imagine a personal God; it suffices to stand in awe at the structure of the world, insofar as it allows our inadequate senses to appreciate it.” ~ Albert Einstein
I was raised a Catholic, most of my family still practices religion. I have no problem with religion but I have to wonder why you need to profess your faith at a miniature golf course where people from many walks of life holding different beliefs are just trying to enjoy a little family time. This is the proverbial slippery slope. I began to imagine my own mini-golf course. I Googled quotes for the placards at each of my holes and am sharing them with you. I wondered if I could ever get it past the Hilton Head planning board.
“We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.” ~ Richard Dawkins
‘Tis the season for wishing folks a Merry Christmas, but during this joyful season there is always that noisy, Scrooge-like crowd who are offended and outraged at the simple cheerful greeting Happy Holidays. They feel stores should require employees to say Merry Christmas. They have forgotten we are a diverse nation founded on the principle of freedom of religion. Maybe they should do all their holiday shopping at Hobby Lobby.
When Christopher Hitchins was dying from cancer many people were waiting for his deathbed conversion. He made this observation, “It’s considered perfectly normal in this society to approach dying people who you don’t know but who are unbelievers and say, ‘Now are you gonna change your mind?’ That is considered almost a polite question.”
He wondered what would happen if a group of non-believers went around the hospital telling you the jig is up, there is no God. “I don’t think it would be very ethical, it would be a breach of taste. But if it’s in the name of God it has a social license,” he said.
But here I was playing miniature golf with God by my side and I won.
And I don’t care. As Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “An atheist is a man who watches a Notre Dame vs. Southern Methodist University game and doesn’t care who wins.”