Is there a vengeful, box-ticking middle manager in the sky with a cosmic wire on you?
In his Margaret River comp write-up, Longtom drew attention to the outspoken religiosity of some of the surfers on tour.
“There really is a God and Brazilian pro surfers are her Chosen People,” he wrote.
Professional athletes thanking the divine in their victorious interviews is nothing new.
But, does the religiosity on tour reflect the beliefs of average surfers?
According to a 2010 Surfer poll (cited in the EOS entry on religion and surfing), 63% of the magazine’s readers said they believed in God, 15% didn’t, and 22% said they weren’t sure.
Are these numbers still accurate?
More specifically, do they represent the views of BeachGrit’s readership? For a while now I’ve wanted to do for BeachGrit what Chalmers and Bourget did for philosophers, fielding a big poll to figure out their crew’s consensus on certain issues.
This could just be me, but I’ve always thought that surfing and other wilderness/outdoor activities (climbing and sailing, from my own life) point towards there not being any type of caring, watching, intervening supreme being.
Sure there are those brief, transcendent moments of experiencing the sublime — but aren’t they in the minority when compared to times you gotta work hard to escape and survive? There’s no god that’s ever helped me out when I’ve prayed to avoid taking a set on the head. Even less so when I’ve prayed for a good wave to stand up in just the right spot, just for me.
Always seemed like the sets, the storms, the ocean were more out to get me than they were put there as my happy little playground.
To offer some context, I grew up in the American south as the child of some hardline evangelical parents. Taught the literal truth of the Bible, intelligent design in homeschool, hell as a real place, quiverfull, all the rest of it. So I know my background is offering some color to the way I perceive “god.” And the “god” I was taught as a kid is probably way different than what that word means for a lot of other people.
Still, surfing was actually what led me out of all that.
The cavalry never arrived to save me when I was caught inside; I learned to just get on with it and figure it out for myself. The ocean never seemed to give a snot for this human animal when it was bobbing around in the briny. And since abandoning all that supernatural stuff, my life’s been much better, the world a less terrifying place. No more vengeful, box-ticking middle manager in the sky who’s got a cosmic wire on me, listening for my thought-crimes.
Plus, having worked in advertising, it’s hard to think up a better, more profitable business model than organized religion. As Breughel the Elder painted it out in one of his vignettes from Netherlandish Proverbs, be skeptical of anyone knocking on the door with both a flamethrower and also a fire extinguisher.
But I know that’s just me!
I know that religion brings a lot of comfort to a lot of people.
It’s on this note that I’m curious to poll the BeachGrit readers for where you fall on the spectrum of belief.
So: Anyone else find or un-find god in the lineup? Cast your vote here.
On a scale from 1 to 7, what do you think?
1: I know that God exists.
2: I can’t know for certain, but I strongly believe in God and live my life on the assumption that He is there.
3: I’m uncertain, but I’m inclined to believe in God.
4: Who’s to say? Could be yes, could be no. It’s 50-50.
5: I don’t know whether a god exists, but I’m pretty skeptical.
6: I can’t know for certain, but it’s improbable that a god or gods exist; I live under the assumption that there isn’t anything supernatural out there.
7: I know that there are no gods or supernatural things.