WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao (50-3-2) of the Philippines, a devout Catholic, will square off against Joshua Clottey of Ghana (35-3), a Muslim, on March 13, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Fight Hits)
- Is It Time to Boycott Floyd Mayweather?
- The Bachelor: Jason and Molly’s Wedding
- Marie Osmond’s Son’s Funeral (Photos)
B o x i n g
Grapevine, Texas — WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao (50-3-2) of the Philippines, a Catholic, squares off against Joshua Clottey of Ghana (35-3), of Muslim faith, on March 13, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.
In many battlefields throughout history, each army strove and fought to butcher an opposing enemy force, believing in its own divine power and God.
Entering the battle, each army believed that their own (infinite) God would protect them in their hour of maximum danger.
The conquered force believed in its own God, that there was a driving machination in the universe that compelled favor and victory in man’s worse contest: war.
Religion-driven conflicts often spurred an army – encouraged by its religious leaders – to prove to the enemy that its own form of religious deity was superior to theirs.
PHOTOS: Manny Pacquiao Media Day
PHOTOS: Joshua Clottey Media Day
Conquest on the battlefield – a product of strategy, technological advances, and / or numerical strength – became a justification of a people’s deity’s (God’s) superiority of the conquered, the beaten. And with a superior deity, the victor believed itself to be a superior race over the conquered.
Dehumanization of the enemy made it easier for the psyche to cope and digest with the slaughter and brutality of war and man’s darkest instincts. If your enemy is less than human and / or prays to an inferior God, it is easier to massacre them. Thousands of babies’ skulls would be smashed against the wall, destroying the populace.
On this pugilistic instance, there is no such dehumanization. Both Pacquiao and Clottey respect each other. Outside of the ring, perhaps they can carry on and maintain a bond and friendship until their end days.
As March 13 approaches, however, each warrior will ask his own God to bring them the courage and strength to deliver victory to his own people. Both warriors have faith that his deity will deliver when only one fighter can emerge the conqueror in that grandest of arenas.
Author Steven Woodworth shows how opposing armies could put their trust in the same God while engaging in years of organized slaughter and destruction in his book “While God is Marching On: The Religious World of Civil War Soldiers.”
In perhaps history’s most popular allusion to this theme was Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural speech. After Lincoln’s death, an undated manuscript was found now generally known as the “Meditations on the Divine Will”. Lincoln wrote:
The will of God prevails — In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be wrong. God cannot be for, and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God’s purpose is somewhat different from the purpose of either party — and yet the human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are of the best adaptation to effect this.
Lincoln’s sense that the divine will was unknowable – this view stood in contrast to sentiments popular during his time.
In that second inaugural speech, and referring to the American Civil War, one of history’s greatest leaders said:
Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces; but let us judge not that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has his own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!”
If we shall suppose that American Slavery is one of those offences which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South, this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offence came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a Living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope–fervently do we pray–that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Y
Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether”
When opposing warriors each believe in their own faith and God, Lincoln’s points that God’s purposes are not directly knowable to humans.
Pacquiao is a heavy favorite entering the squared circle on March 13. An $800 wager yields but $100 for the PacMan. Clottey enters this contest from a proud African nation, born of humble origins, and with nothing to lose – relying on the protection of his own divine providence. And Pacquiao attributes the ascent of his boxing career from a “religious awakening.” The Filipino shares of his “conversation with his own God” in his sleep years before he became famous, and he would go on to draw strength from his personal relationship with his deity.
Whatever the outcome of this brutal and savage battle, any final answers do not emanate from sports writers and scribes. ESPN does not possess a monopoly on the truth, only a microcosm of it. The machinations of human activity may sort out the details, perhaps from a larger lesson and purpose. And that makes the process, despite its intense savagery, much more magical and . . . . . . . sublime.
International Sports Examiner
Subscribe TwitterGet the International Sports Examiner widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info) Get the Form Pro widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info)