A few weeks back I went to watch Hacksaw Ridge, a film about a Christian soldier who chose to go to war purely as a medic and refused to carry a gun. This is one of those occasions where I hold my hands up and say bravo, religion. This guy was so devoted to Christianity that it made him fearless in a way that enabled him to single-handedly save so many lives.
If only every religious person was willing to act so selflessly. If only ISIS used their fearlessness for good instead of evil.
Anyway, there’s this bit at the end of the film where (SPOILERS) you see a short interview with the real Desmond T. Doss in which he credits all his bravery to God. God made him keep going, keep searching – something like that. I wonder if he truly felt that way? He obviously wasn’t lacking in belief, but did he honestly think every step he took, everything he endured, every last drop of willpower was all down to God? I wouldn’t doubt it.
I can’t be the only one who is slightly saddened by such mindsets. The guy was a complete hero and yet he wasn’t really able to acknowledge it. Every positive action he ever made could be sourced back to his God, and every negative action and doubt – that was all Desmond’s fault, probably. I try to take comfort in the thought that Desmond would have felt enormous amounts of appreciation that God had supposedly considered Desmond special enough to pick him for the task.
Sometimes this thanking God business gets pretty weird though. I didn’t watch the aftermath of this year’s Superbowl because you know that whoever is interviewed will either thank God for helping them win, or thank God for helping them reach the final. The big man just can’t lose, can he? It’s like the footballers think they’re just pawns in God’s chess tournament, and were just lucky that God decided this time they would win.
Same happens with about 80% of Oscar speeches. “I’d like to thank God for getting me here.” Then everyone applauds because it’s a completely normal thing to say. If there is a nice God around I’d hope, once the actor entered Heaven, God would say, “Hey man, believe or not but that Oscar was all down to your hard work. I was off at the time trying to fix some of the bad stuff I created. Eventually I gave up and left it to the scientists.”
And I get it. A big part of Christianity at least is to stay modest. You can never match God’s level. But come on, surely you’re allowed to bask in some harmless pride once in a while. I suppose it depends on whether or not you believe in fate. Some people think God knows our every move before we’ve made it, others that God let’s us do what we wish and rewards or smites us for it at the end, many believe both simultaneously.
I guess what I’m saying is pride isn’t that bad. It shouldn’t be a sin to feel good about your accomplishments. Unjustified cockiness is the one that should lead to eternal damnation. I kid.