Friday, July 11, 2014

The World Cup and Superstition

For the king of Babylon stands at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination. He shakes the arrows; he consults the teraphim; he looks at the liver. (Ezek. 21:21)

In the last [Soccer/ Football] World Cup in 2010, Paul the Octopus gained fame for accurately "predicting" the winners of all 8 matches. Two containers containing the same identical food were placed before Paul, each box painted with the flag of one of the countries in the match. The country which has its flag painted on the box Paul chose to eat from was then declared to be the winner of the world cup match.

Fast forward to 2014, where after the death of Paul the Octopus, a whole bunch of animals and computer programs have vied to take over Paul's throne for accurate predictions of World Cup match winners. We have Nelly the Elephant, and now we have Bob the Sloth. Of course, scientism isn't dead yet, and thus we have Microsoft's Cortana. I'm sure the bookies aren't too happy with all these foretelling taking place.

What's fascinating is that what they are doing is basically divination, 21st century style. We have come full circle to the practice of the ancients. In ancient times, divination was extremely popular. The practice of hepatoscopy, examining the liver of an animal (Babylonians look at sheep's livers) to order to divine the future. Ezekiel 21:21 is Ezekiel's prophecy of King Nebuchadnezzar utilizing such a method for divining whether to attack Jerusalem or Rabbah. Nowadays of course, we are not that bloody, and certainly not too concerned about the will of the gods. Instead, modern divination is divining "chance," and setting up random arbitrary (hopefully unbiased) tests to divine it.

The return of superstition should put to death the modernist myth of "progress" that has been promoted since the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. Is there some kind of progress since the pre-modern times? Yes, but Man remains the same. Mankind remains the same regardless of what era he is in. We are still just as depraved and just as liable towards superstition. Even the "rationalist" side is just as superstitious, but instead of diving "chance" it is divining probabilistic calculations.

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