Sunday, April 19, 2009

Head Butting Jesus

On Saturday mornings, back in my youth, my best buddy and I always looked forward to watching All-Star Wrestling on TV. It was our region's version of "professional" wrestling. I can still remember the names of some of these colorful personalities: Handsome Harley Race, "Nature Boy" Kirby, Danny Little Bear, Bob Geigel, "Bulldog" Bob Brown and, our favorite, Rufus R. Jones.

When we were very young lads, we accepted professional wrestling as authentic. However, by about the age 10, we began to realize that this wasn't like professional boxing -- it was strictly show biz. A person simply cannot be struck savagely in the head four or five times with a metal folding chair and, five minutes later, be prancing around the ring victorious as if he had done nothing more than take his dog for a run in the park!

Once we figured out that what we had been watching was a fraud, we still watched it. However, it became a comedy show and we all took great pains to point out all the pseudo hits, moves and falls. It could really be hilarious, at times.

One would think that, if 10 year old lads could determine this was all stagecraft, adults would understand this fact too. While MOST adults certainly fit into this category, it was shocking to discover that many did not. In fact, during my youth, I uncovered a shocking correlation between fundamentalist Christian males and those believing professional wrestling was on the up and up.

Later in life, while Della & I were dating, I ran into this same correlation in regards to her foster grandfather. The man was a very conservative Baptist. One day she and I stopped by so Della could visit with her foster grandmother. As I waited, Mr. Fundamentalist was rabidly cheering on a particular wrestler on the TV screen. He tried to encourage me to come join him, but I made the fatal mistake of saying I no longer found any joy in watching the fake theatrics.

By his reaction, one might have thought I had announced that God was dead! He flew into a rage arguing that professional wrestling was the real deal and how could I even doubt it. When I tried to point out that these wrestlers defied physical and biological credulity, he behaved like a little child who places his hands over his ears, "I'm not listening."

As I was thinking about this topic tonight, I realized their is a lot of congruency between believing in All-Star Wrestling and religion. Despite the fact that rational minds can easily see that both involve complex stagecraft, believers in either don't want to be confused with facts. They believe that what they believe is true and nothing will dissuade them for said beliefs.


  1. Interestingly, I once knew a coffee shop owner who, earlier in her life had been a hair and makeup person for both professional wrestling and the Billy Graham Crusade (gotta admit I was kinda excited when she told me she did both Johnny and June Carter Cash). She said they seemed incredibly alike--big grotesque spectacles for the multitudes who desperately want to believe...

  2. The Christians are wrestling with Jesus ;)


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