A few weekends ago, Ryan and I were chilling out at a Jackal’s house, smoking a decent amount of sticky icky and watching old MMA highlight videos. We landed, quite unexpectedly, on the Franklin vs Tanner fight, which made us immediately seek the fast forward button. Everyone admitted that it was just too early for that shit, and the last thing we wanted to see was Franklin burying Tanner again.
I guess it was only a matter of time before Franklin would write something about the Tanner and put his spiritual spin on it. He’s a deeply religious guy, and so he figured there would be one story in the Bible that could best describe the tragedy of Tanner’s death. He chose the story of Job.
For those of you who don’t have a copy of “The Good Book” nearby, I’ll give you the Cole’s notes version of the story. One day, while God is having a powwow with his angel buddies, Satan come along as tells him that the most righteous man on earth, Job, only believes in God because he’s afraid of not being under his divine protection. To prove him wrong, he allows Satan to take power over his family and property. Being the devil, he doesn’t go halfway, and proceeds to fucking all his shit up. First his servants and donkeys get slaughtered. Then, fire from heaven roasts his sheep and the poor fuckers herding them. Finally, he sends a wind that knocks down his house, killing his entire fucking family that was inside enjoying a nice meal.
Job still believes in God, and he responds “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away”. Satan isn’t convinced, so God gives him permission to fuck with Job some more. He gives him painful sores all over his body, and he’s constantly in pain. His wife tells him to stop worshiping the jackass God, but he doesn’t flinch. He does, in his profound pain, curse a bit, and God suddenly appears, miffed that Job was 100% faithful, but pardons him when the poor sucker begs for forgiveness.
And that’s the fucking story. Yeah, when it boils down to it, it kinda makes this God guy seem like a fucking prick, no? I mean, it’s true he didn’t actually fuck with any of Job’s shit, but that’s like saying you aren’t guilty for killing your wife by giving the keys to your house to a serial killer. And all of this for stupid bet? That’s balls.
I think Franklin is trying to suggest that sometimes God works in mysterious and breathtakingly cruel ways. According to Franklin’s reasoning though, there are only two kinds of people: those who accept God in spite of that, or those that reject him because of it. Forget the idea that some people might not actually believe in his God at all (it’s the majority of the population of the world, actually). It just doesn’t seem to even cross his mind. Sure, life can be harsh, but most of us get by pretty well, so I can’t complain. Not everything is as black and white as poor Rich sees it.
I would suggest the next time Franklin wants to compare the life of a man with a biblical character, he should choose a little more wisely. I guess I’m a cynic since I don’t see the story through the lens of a Christian, but getting totally assfucked by your beloved God over some stinkin’ bet doesn’t inspire a great deal of confidence in this guy’s “master plan”.
Franklin’s email after the jump
By 3 time world champion RICH FRANKLIN
THE OTHER MYSTERY OF EVAN TANNER’S DEATH
Evan Tanner and I pummeled each other in two ferocious octagon battles. I held him in high regard and found him sincere and engaging. Last summer we had a chance to spend time catching up with one another in Las Vegas, when he was fighting. Little did I know this time together would be our last.
Many fans followed Evan’s blog. Reading it reveals his restless need to journey through wilderness in search of self-discovery. How ironic that the California desert he loved so much, was also the place of his death.
It’s been said that bad things sometimes happen to good people. So when a good person like Evan is dealt a terrible situation, it’s hard to absorb, much less understand. Trying to grasp how a likeable guy such as Evan could have died, and in such a tragic way, is a large-sized spiritual mystery.
Being a Christian, I turn to my faith first when confronted with yet another example that the world can be so unfair. I’ve read the story of Job and realize that for centuries it has offered some perspective during times of coping with shocking loss. Perhaps it is possible that we need suffering in order to appreciate what it’s like to experience goodness and happiness and peace.
It has been said that the principal reason some people embrace religion is the same reason others reject it. That reason is the existence of suffering and death. Non-believers choose to walk away, saying they cannot worship a deity who could indifferently preside over so much awfulness.
Those who worship understand that there is also a real chance for making contributions on earth and having a spiritual life beyond it. This awareness helps to give meaning and hope when confronted with life’s complexities.
Although the human capacity for reason is one of our best weapons in getting through life, it can take us only so far. Contemplating the infinite vastness of the universe, we soon get to a point of diminishing returns as we try to make sense of sad situations such as Evan’s. It is then that my faith is what pulls me through.
God is all-powerful and all-knowing and yet, mysteriously, bad things will always happen. Spirituality can demand inward struggle while at the same time offering great emotional comfort. Sometimes I’m at peace with not knowing God’s incomprehensible ways. At other times I’m unsettled because I can’t explain that which is beyond my imagination. That’s when I really have to work at accepting that not knowing is okay.
What I am certain of is that I will continue to study and to pray, determined to walk towards the light.