How often are you convinced that right is on your side?
DON'T we always take the side of the home team? Come hell or high water most of us think right is on our side. Walking my dog on Monday a lady was not happy with the fact that Tess was off the lead. Tess is a Labrador and unusual for Labradors, on occasion she has been a little obstreperous with other dogs so sometimes I put a muzzle on her.
On the Monday when she was off the lead her muzzle was on. I can only presume the lady who, warned me to control my dog had not seen the muzzle. Of course a dog should always be on a lead.
For much of the time on that walk I was thinking of the lady and her comment and not at all pleased with her behaviour. 'How dare she make such a stupid comment', I was saying to myself about her. All my sympathy was with Tess, my dog.
The previous week I was sitting down watching the hurling final. I know little or nothing about football or hurling but watching it I was stuck to my chair, all the time hoping that Cork would win.
Why was I shouting for Cork? I'm not from Cork and have nothing at all against Clare. Indeed, Davy Fitz fascinates me.
So why was I up for Cork? Simply because I spent five years living in the city, I feel I have some sort of 'loyalty' to the place. I was supporting the home team.
Can there be such an entity as a neutral individual or neutral group? Of course we all think that right is on our side.
How at all do we form our opinions? Does our environment play an undue influence in shaping our opinions and beliefs?
Two weeks ago The Kerryman published a letter in which the writer criticised a column I had written. He accused me of being 'divisive'. He also wrote a letter to the weekly English periodical The Tablet where he again took issue with my 'sneering' at trends in the Catholic Church. I'm fairly certain I don't 'sneer'.
Last year a priest, now a bishop, criticised an article I had written. He even wrote to my then provincial. I consider the letters badges of honour. There is always the inclination to support the home team. That makes sense in sport, less so in matters of war and peace.
But when it comes to any issue about God there is always the danger that that primal instinct will come to the fore. Some sort of genie is released from the bottle and we are 'convinced' right is on our side.
An unhealthy brand of religion seems to give people an importance in their cause. Come hell or high water rings in my ears. Has it all to do with some small group taking control and then running with the ball as long and as far as they can? And then the sycophants following them? You may prefer to call them small time careerists. And we foot soldiers nod our heads and feel we are part of the team.
I'd prefer to see all mankind as God's team. Take a look at the damage that all forms of sectarianism and fundamentalism does. And no-one ever thinks they are sectarian or fundamental. A friend made a wisecrack and suggested I should buy a muzzle for myself.