Do you believe that the world was created by an old man in a white beard, who, despite being omnipotent, decided to remain aged 82?
Or perhaps your conviction is that a former carpet salesman from Kalamazoo, Michigan discovered the way, the truth and the life some time in the 1920s.
It could be that you’re one of those who thinks the world is absurd and was the result of a very loud explosion in outer space, an explosion caused by a gas leak in a green person’s house.
Please, I am happy if any of these beliefs make you happy.
I have, though, one small request: please try not to ram your beliefs down my throat.
And, while I’m thinking of it, please don’t shove them on my basketball shoe.
I mention this because one of my favorite players, the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry, has just launched a new shoe, in concert with Under Armour.
After possibly years of brow-furrowing, hand-wringing and mind-numbing, the shoe is called the Curry One.
There are a couple of other numbers, though, that might attract your attention.
On the tongue of the shoe is a lace loop inscribed with “4:13.”
He wants you to wear Jesus shoes.
No, this shoe wasn’t conceived 7 minutes before everyone stopped to smoke pot.
These numbers represent one of Curry’s favorite Bible verses, Phillippians 4:13.
You surely know that its text is: “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Or, in certain translations: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
I know that some of the most deeply devout believe they speak in tongues. This is surely the first time, though, that they’ve started speaking on tongues.
Somehow, Curry sees no irony in charging $120 for a few pieces of plastic and rubber, while at the same time using that opportunity to peddle a religion that espouses the eschewing of material goods.
It seems that God wants in on Mammon’s business. I fear an (under-)armed struggle.
There’s something blessedly surreal about the way sports and religion become conflated in America.
All too often (for my taste, at least) winners interviewed after a game insist on giving thanks to their God first.
The likes of former Colts coach Tony Dungy and any number of the Warriors players seem to believe that the reason they won is because this was ordained by God.
Not for a moment, though, does it appear that these intellectuals of divinity considered this thought: “If God wanted me to win, why did he want those other guys to lose?”
Could it be because the other team had fewer God-honoring players? Could it be because one of the opposing players was an adulterer, a blasphemer or, perish the idea, a stoner?
Could it be that whoever put together the opposing squad didn’t realize that you can’t have too many atheists, Muslims or Scientologists on your team?
If you do, a lightning bolt will strike your win column.
Curry’s whim of pushing his religion smacks of sanctimonious insidiousness.
How many children will wonder about those numbers, run off and Google them and then be seduced into believing in Curry’s religious views because they believe in his shoes?
The Warriors won. Curry had 32 points. It must have been the God-fearing shoes.
What if the people behind Lego were deeply Jewish and decided to insert an article of their faith on every little brick?
What if Giorgio Armani became a Muslim and insisted that “Allahu Akbar” be engraved on the collar of every shirt he sold?
And what if LeBron James embraced atheism and released a shoe whose whole side was adorned with the words: “God is not King. I am.”?
The heavens would be electric with the sound of garments being rended and swords being drawn.
Why is it that some of those who hold a certain faith believe it’s their duty to impose that faith upon others?
None of us knows where the world came from and what it truly beyond us, above us or below us.
We all turn to certain beliefs that sustain us through life’s sometimes twisted vicissitudes. It’s understandable, sensible even.
But Curry seems to think that he should be proselytizing as he’s dunking. He seems to think he should be using his fame to sell his faith.
He’s charging kids $120 to buy his shoes and listen to his religious views.
If the price of wearing Curry’s shoes is wearing his religion on your feet, isn’t that a devilish bargain?
You can Curry favor, Steph. Currying fervor, however, shouldn’t be a shoe-in.