Baseball as a road to god?

The president of New York University John Sexton has published a book on how baseball can be used to come to an understanding of god. This practice of seeing some everyday activity as a window to god seems to be expanding and one can expect more such books because the possibilities are endless: “Cooking as a road to god”, “Cleaning the basement as a road to god”, “Cutting the grass as a road to god”, etc. The hackneyed idea behind this is that if you look deeply enough into anything, there you will find god.

Of course, at some point the reasoning breaks down and the road starts having large potholes until you reach the vast chasm that separates the concrete activity from the imaginary god. At that point you are forced to make a leap of faith and just assume the existence of a god, making the whole idea of a neat pathway to god meaningless. No doubt this is why as soon as intellectuals like Sexton start talking about god, they inevitably descend, a la Marilynne Robinson, into a woolly language where they are forced to make a virtue out of ignorance, claiming that some things are ineffable.

Even Stephen Colbert, a practicing Catholic himself and likely familiar with and sympathetic to these ways of talking, doesn’t seem to understand what this guy is saying and treats him with some contempt, maybe because Sexton was pandering to him so blatantly.

(This clip was aired on March 7, 2013. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post.)


  1. Timothy says

    Wait for it, Marcus. If god can be the road to atheism, why not the reverse? Wait for it.


    Good column, Mano. I’d point out that finding the divine in mundane tasks is an old Zen concept.

  2. Margaret says

    “Hatred as a road to god.”
    “Bigotry as a road to god.”
    “Slavery as a road to god.”
    “Murder as a road to god.”
    “War as a road to god.”

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