15 September 2006


Cricket & Religion

The day after our Open Day, 11th September, was of course the fifth anniversary of the hijacking of the planes that were flown into the World Trade Center 'twin towers'. This anniversary was marked in Leicester, rather oddly, by a cricket match played between the local Clergy and Imams.

As reported in the Leicester Mercury, the Imams won.

The Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Rev Tim Stevens, who was seventh into
bat for the clergy said: "The great thing is that this game of cricket is building
friendships. It's so important to understanding between the faiths." From which it would seem that the secular pursuit of cricket has a unifying ability that helps to counter the divisiveness of religions.

There are some indeed, like Mohammad Ali Syed who see cricket as a form of religion. Another writer who has faith in cricket says: "To my mind, the beauty of cricket was that it was its own religion." Another commentator, in troutmag sagely observes: "It is safe to assume that without the improving influence of cricket, the Church of England would long ago have ceased to exist."

On a less frivolous note it occurred to me to wonder, as others have before, how far the decision to invade Afghanistan was affected by the spectacular nature of the collapse of the buildings, and consequent loss of life. What if they had been strong enough to withstand the impacts? Of course there were other terrorist attacks around the world, but it is natural to wonder how far our human decision making is dependent on reaction to emotive symbolism, rather than on considered reasoning.

Very often we have to wait for disasters to occur before any action is taken, even though experts warn long in advance that something needs to be done. The current under-reported situation in Darfur is a case of this kind. It seems that continued reports of inhumanity, attrition and claims of genocide are not sufficently spectacular to motivate the international community to action. It must also be said that the history behind it all is, as usual, complicated.

I am reminded of the remark by god in a recently repeated episode of Old Harry's Game: that he no longer watches what happens on earth much any more, although he still follows the cricket.
Well according to Stephen Green of Christian Voice infamy, god still takes an interest in cricket.

See: http://www.mediawatchwatch.org.uk/?p=552
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