Wait a second? Isn't pride a sin?

Oh, brother. Via Politico (though you can find this all over the Internet tubes):
Brit Hume had some advice for Tiger Woods during this week's "Fox News Sunday." Woods will recover as a golfer, Hume says, but it remains to be seen whether he will recover as a person.

"He's said to be a Buddhist," Hume said. "I don't think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. ... Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery."

Where to begin? Perhaps by noting that being a Christian didn't seem to have helped many of the subjects of some recent sex scandals. (Or, for that matter, a few older ones, as well.)

Then one might ponder what kind of arrogant jerk one would have to be to publicly hold forth on the religious beliefs of someone one (presumably) doesn't know. I get that everyone thinks their religion is the best one (hence believing in it in the first place), but it takes a special person to make a point of telling someone else that their religion is inferior. On national television.

But a lot of other people have already made similar points. I would like to take a different angle on why I think Brit Hume is full of crap.

There are lots and lots of helpless alcoholics out there who have gotten help through Alcoholics Anonymous. [Before I proceed, I am going to stop and clarify that I am not going to tout the relative success of AA as compared to other roads to recovery, or to say that it's the only way people can get sober. If you have an axe to grind or a flag to wave, please spare us all.] Whatever your beliefs about 12-step recovery programs, their staying power and various permutations as applied to all manner of "addictive" behaviors speak to their appeal as a means of reclaiming one's life in the face of an abject loss of control. And what are two of cardinal tenets of said 12 Steps?

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. [italics in original]

One thing that is clear in 12-step recovery programs is that everyone gets to choose a God that they understand. And many of them do recover, in part through believing in all manner of Higher Powers, whatever they may choose to call them. Plenty of people in recovery call their Higher Power God, but plenty of people do not. (Presumably AA members in China are happy to call their Higher Power Buddha.)

The bottom line is that you don't need to be Christian to seek forgiveness and redemption. All you have to be is willing to seek it in the first place. I hope, for his sake, that Tiger Woods is.


  1. um...drdan. Buddha is not God. You kind of compounded Hume's mistake with your own. What was most outrageous of Hume was his total ignorance of what Buddhism is. And the kicker is he was even wrong in his statement that if Tiger became born again people would forgive him (assuming, of course, the general public has anything to forgive him for, his wife sure, but he has not done me wrong) and forget about it all, when the hell has that ever worked out?

    If Tiger were a true Buddhist, he would not have done what he did, certainly not to the extent he did. Monks are human and fallible, but I doubt many have harems like Tiger did.

    And to be a Buddhist is not to seek forgiveness and redemption, but to seek enlightenment and to transcend such behavior.

    Buddhism is a very different religion than Christianity, so you should be aware the language is not the same.


  2. Charo, I'm certainly aware that Buddha is not God, certainly not in any way comparable to the Judeo-Christian conception. I know that he is not viewed as a redeemer, but it is my understaning that he (or, perhaps more accurately, various bodhisattva?) has an intercessory role for those who seek to (as you say) transcend their difficulties, behavioral or otherwise. While there is not a direct parallel to the Christian God, I don't see why this would preclude a Buddhist viewing him as a Higher Power.

    I am wary of saying what "true" adherents would do. If Spitzer had been a "true" Jew and adhered strictly to the Ten Commandments, he wouldn't have gotten into hot water. Ditto any of the other various Christian adulterers. Does that mean that they aren't considered authentic followers of their religions, or are they simply fallible (just like everyone else)? Woods may have failed to transcend his attachment to serial philandering, but I'm not in a position to question the strength or validity of his religious beliefs.