The idea of a “safe space” or “positive space” sprung into vogue a decade, or such, back as marginalized peoples sought out corners amongst the dominant culture at colleges or the workplace where they could chit-chat without fun-making. The concept soon spread online and these “safe spaces” became ruthlessly protected with any sniff of opposition being put to the sword before spreading like cancer.
Thankfully, the most marginalized of groups, middle-aged white surfers, have seen the benefit of guarded thinking and congregate at the safer space swellnet.com amongst likeminded, like-believing, like-socioeconomic, like-racial others.
Equally thankfully, an anonymous writer on the website penned an open letter from “God” to “Devout Brazilian Roman Catholic Surfers of the WCT” decrying their behavior through the tried-and-true truncheon of undergraduate (private) liberal arts philosophy best served alongside a lukewarm bed of early mushroom experimentation.
Don’t get me wrong, cocksure globetrotting wave-rider, there’s some top advice in those books, we’re all fans of the decency, love, and forgiveness parts of the Bible and the Quran etc, but there’s no secret, exclusive moral code contained within that can’t be practiced using your basic, garden-variety, secular common sense – treating others how you’d like them to treat you, etc. It’s not rocket science.
But I get it, young Latino Firebrand with sticker-laden surfboard, much religious faith comes from perfectly understandable human traits, many of them very sweet. We love our family and friends, the grief we feel when they die is so sharp and painful that we wishful-think heaven into existence, so we can be consoled by imagining a heavenly reunion one day. And certainly, the idea of an afterlife makes it easier for us to contemplate that fearful day we too become a corpse. And so, smart cookies all through human history looking for power and social control have levered these two emotions – love and fear – into different versions of the same fantastic story – do the right thing and the reward of eternal life is yours, misbehave, or be born into a heathen society, and hellfire awaits. I won’t point out the resemblance that such a hell carries with the earthbound volcanic lava that inspired its imagining. And let’s not get started on the idiocy of different subsets of the same supposed faith turning on each other. (Could anything more sharply betray the human origins of religion? FFS)
So, for your sake and Mine, let’s stop for a moment and think, together, about what you’re actually saying when you give Me credit for, say, answering your prayers and sending you a heat-winning wave.
First of all. You’re fond of attesting to the power of prayer. It can produce miracles! Infinite Glory! Yes? Yes! You are also, presumably, not oblivious to all the messed-up crap out there. You’re aware of the 80 million people in the world right now who’ve been forced to flee their homes, 25 million of which are refugees. People trapped in lives of misery, boredom and danger, whose various prayers to various Gods (humbly asking just to be able to live at home or whatever) are seemingly not being answered as yours are. What are they doing wrong with this prayer malarkey that you seem to be doing so right? Has your virtuosity on a wave somehow magnified your virtue of prayer, and mysteriously unlocked a clear line of comms to the Divine?
Religion worked well when humanity was starting to ask questions and figure stuff out. It was understandable that gods were conjured to make sense of floods and famines, natural phenomena, locusts and loss. It was – and still can be – a good set of training wheels for decency and charity.
Dear talented, hardworking, fortunate athlete. You’re not at all a bad person. You’re great! You mean well, and of course you’re welcome to reach out to Me any time. But let’s keep those convos humble, and between us.
Devout Brazilian Roman Catholic surfers, much less ones on the World Championship Tour, have not, nor never will be allowed to mingle amongst the swellnetters giving the “open letter” the exact sort of universal praise and applause it deserves.
A further sampling from the comments:
Surfcarter: Seriously that is the and best most common sense article ever written. Thank you for a long awaited and realistic explanation of every religion ever conjured up. and don’t get me wrong everyone needs a little belief in something better than them but this is 2022 and people don’t levitate to the heavens and so on.
Fcalmon: This is gold. The best ever article in history. Whoever wrote this (God?) is a bloody genius.
Andy-mac: Excellent article… Thank you Sir, err I mean God….
Memlasurf: OMJ this one was well overdue and brilliantly written. Take it for what it is, a great summary of religious beliefs and it is only about ‘don’t take the Lords name in Vain’ or something like that. I think GOD is pretty busy in Ukraine at the moment and couldn’t give a toss about who wins some surf contest in the colonies (if you believe in the supernatural which I don’t).
Like a warm downy blanket fresh from the dryer.
Like chocolate cookies, cold milk and a Longtom contest report wrap at the end of a long day.
Oh. Is Longtom at swellnet?