What Can Baseball Teach Us About the Universe?

There was a very moving moment during Baseball’s All-Star game this year.  It came when one of the starting players, Freddie Freeman, was miked for half an inning while he was playing first base. 

From their broadcast booth, the announcers asked him a number of baseball-related questions.  It was clear that Freeman was pumped to be in the All-Star game--next to the World Series, the All-Star game is the most important game a Major Leaguer can appear in.  It was also clear that he was pumped to be talking to a national audience on TV--not to mention the fact that he had to be pumped in order to concentrate on each pitch in case a play came his way. 

But the most remarkable part of the interview was when Freeman began talking about his son.  As pumped as he already was, when the announcers brought up a story about his son, Freeman’s affect went to a whole other level.  Freeman lit up as he told the story about the way his son idolizes Fernando Tatis.  Tatis is another All-Star who was playing in the game.  The announcers laughed with Freeman over the fact that his son’s favorite player isn’t his dad, who is a great player in his own right, but Tatis. 

Freeman went on to explain that his son wanted nothing more than to meet Tatis.  So, Freeman got Tatis to surprise his son that previous day, when all the players are gathered for the Home Run Derby.  As Freeman described the meeting, they showed video of the moment Tatis comes out of the clubhouse and into the dugout where Freemans’ son is standing.  It’s hysterical.  The moment his son recognizes his baseball idol coming toward him, his eyes get real big and he freezes.  Totally star-struck, he can’t move or even speak a word.  Tatis is great with him.  To put him at ease, he comes up and gives him a big hug.  Then he spends a good chunk of time hanging out with him.    

As the broadcast cuts back to Freeman at first base, he remarks: “As incredible of a player as Tatis is, he’s an even better human being.”  What Tatis did for Freeman’s son meant the World to him.  And because it meant the World to his son, it meant the World to Freeman.  In fact, this is what was most moving about the interview--It was easy to see how much Freeman loves his son.  More than baseball.  More than being in the All-Star game.  As much as he loves the game--he’s devoted his life to it--the interview left no doubt that he loves his son far, far more. 

Feel-good stories like these move us deeply.  We love it when an athlete or celebrity gushes over their loved ones.  But have you ever stopped to think of what we’d say if someone like Freeman didn’t react the way he did?  If Freeman’s affect was more animated over baseball, or something else; if he gave any indication that baseball, or anything else, was more important than his son, we wouldn’t calmly accept it, saying, “To each his own.  You have your truth I have mine.”  No, we’d be livid.  We’d cry out: “What’s wrong with him?” 

Why is it that we think Freeman, along with everyone else, should put love above all else?  Why do we expect people to act this way and think there is something wrong with them if they don’t?  Why do we think there is something wrong with a person who puts baseball, or their car, or money, or a pet above their loved ones, above other people?

The reason we instinctively react this way is because it is so obvious to us that love is the one thing that really matters in life.  It is of ultimate value, the center of reality.  If there is some meaning to life, this has to be it.  If there is some force, some intelligence, some creator responsible for all this, if there is some logic to the universe, it is abundantly clear to us that it is to be found in love.  We can’t deny that love is the most important thing in life.  That’s why we expect everyone else, including All-Star baseball players, to value it most, too.

For decades, the polls have consistently reported that roughly 80 percent of Americans believe in some kind of God, some force, intelligence, or creator responsible for our existence.  The polls have also consistently reported that roughly only 4 percent of people don’t believe in God, are atheists.  This leaves about 15 percent not sure, or agnostic.  So, roughly 4 out of every 5 Americans believes there is some meaning to life, some logic to the Universe. 

But many who believe this go on to throw their hands up in the air in complete confusion over who this god might be.  Some simply stop at this point, thinking no clarity can be had.  Others take their best guess and choose to follow a particular religion, but believe that no one belief system is better than any other.  With both, however, they despair over ever knowing who the god they believe exists really is, at least this side of eternity.

In my quest for Truth, I eventually arrived at this same point.  I had found a number of solid reasons, scientific and otherwise, to believe that it is far more probable than not that there is a god and, thereby, to be counted among the majority who believe in some kind of god.  But as I pursued my quest further, I also eventually found number of solid reasons to believe we can know who this god is.  One of those reasons, the one that was most self-evidently true, followed my eventual realization that love is at the center of everything.

Following this realization, it became obvious that, among all the revelations, religions, and worldviews claiming to be the Truth, the fullness of Truth was to be found in the one that corresponded best to the self-evident fact that love is where the meaning of life is to be found.  Since it is so obvious that love is at the center of reality, the worldview that embodies, captures, and reveals this reality most fully is the one that can tell us who God is. 

From that point, it didn’t take long to figure out that Jesus captures, embodies, and reveals this reality more fully than anyone else.  The primacy love has in Christianity isn’t found anywhere else.  The other World Religions even acknowledge this.  While they talk about love, and some even talk about God as loving, they freely admit that Christianity is the religion of love, par excellence.  After all, it is only Christianity that claims God is love.  Moreover, many of the unique things Jesus reveals, like the Trinity, give deeper insight--the deepest insight--into why love naturally is the center of reality.    

Love is at the center of all that Jesus reveals, and for this reason, we can trust that the God he embodies is the God responsible for the universe we find ourselves living in, a universe where love is at the center, a universe where even those of us who love baseball are far more moved by an All-Star like Freddie Freeman unapologetically showing that he loves his son way more.    

How would you respond if a Pollster asked you if you believed in God?  You can leave your thoughts or any other comments, questions, and/or feedback on the “Contact E.J.” page of the Raising Jesus website.  I’d love to hear from you!   

About Me

E.J. Sweeney is a true skeptic. He needs to see to believe. Hard Evidence. Compelling Proof. Solid Logic. This is what he believes in. In college, he encountered questions that the superficial faith he was raised on couldn’t handle. So he began a quest for Truth, a quest for the answers to life’s ultimate questions.

EJ Sweeney

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