Should Brit Hume be speaking to a celebrity’s mental and spiritual state and giving advice? Allahpundit of HotAir wrote on Twitter that Hume’s statement was “presumptuous.” The Anchoress said she felt that Brit chose the “wrong venue.” Jim Hoft saw the liberal backlash as a restriction on speech.
There was a time when discussing one’s Christian faith may have been less controversial, but I don’t know. Even fifty years ago, there would have been a presumption that people would view Tiger Woods’ actions as immoral and a sign that he had some sort of emptiness in his life. Back in the day, such wanton infidelity was simply not spoken of publicly. It would be too shameful. Now the media spreads every sort of salacious detail of a celebrity’s life, and everyone is free to comment. Why should there not be a comment on his faith, too? We know that Tiger likes rough sex and sex without condoms and sex with porn stars and has super-human, possibly steroid-enhanced endurance. Should his spiritual beliefs be off-limits while his sexual exploits are fair game?
Discussion about either seems unseemly. Tiger’s sex life should be personal, and his relationship with God is even more intimate than that. His own careless actions made his sex life public. Does that free people to speculate about his spiritual life? It seems a personal relationship with Tiger would give a friend some cause to talk with him about God. A calling out like Hume’s seems destined to fail.
As to Brit’s theological assertion that Buddhism would not offer Woods the sort of redemption that a relationship with God and Jesus would offer, Buddhists like Charles Martin admit that Buddhism won’t give redemption or a relationship. The emphasis is on karma — what goes around comes around — and how Tiger is reaping the rewards of it.
In Christianity, the karmic notion is nothing new. Galatians 6:7 makes clear that God is not mocked and that we reap what we sow. The Christian philosopher C.S. Lewis noted a “Tao” of belief that most great religions share, and how this is centered around some version of the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do to you.
Charles implies that in Christianity, there is no attempt to “make amends,” while in Buddhism that is the core tenet. As for remedying faults, the Greek word metanoia — translated as “to repent” — means to change. It implies a before and after. A Christian demonstrates his change by actions. “By their fruits you shall know them.” (Matthew 7 is a good book to read about condemning and discernment and repentance.) It’s not repentance or forgiveness of sin. It’s both.
And all of this is rather moot. Tiger has his own path — one that only he must take. America is a place of new beginnings and do-overs. Redemption and renewal, core Christian tenets, are woven into the fabric of the American psyche like nothing else (think Rocky). Whatever Tiger chooses, it’s his business. His public life gives the illusion that what he does is our business. But in the big scheme of life, this story is about a man’s internal struggle.