In what seems like an attempt to prove just how insane modern day religion can get, there is now a church (or cult) that worships a famous soccer player as a deity.
Diego Armando Maradona, a retired soccer star many regard as the best player in the history of the game, is being worshiped as a literal god. They don’t think he’s a prophet or a reincarnation of Jesus; to them, he is really God. Vice has more on this phenomenon:
I first heard the call to the Maradonian faith more than two World Cups ago. There was no revelation to it; no missionary who came knocking on my door with a pamphlet under his arm; no moment where I was overtaken on the street by rabid fans. The word of Maradona touched me by a tongue of virtual fire: an invite to a Facebook group that called on me to join the “Church of Maradona.”
“This is a temple that unites hundreds of thousands of Maradona fans around the world,” its About section reads. “Our religion is soccer and, as with all religions, one has to have a God.”
The church was founded by two journalists, Alejandro Verón and Hernan Amez, who host a radio talk show about soccer. The group combines strong devotion to Maradona with religious language and internet forums, creating a pretty unique experience.
Much of the impact of the Church of Maradona can be seen on social media, where members post quotes, photos, and videos about the soccer player. In that sense, this is all in good fun. But there is another very real side of this faith.
In real life, though, Verón and Amez work to organize meetups at various venues in Rosario, Argentina, where apostles congregate for “mass.” Their religion even has its own scripture and Ten Commandments, including “Spread the news of Diego’s miracles throughout the universe” and “Love football above all else.”
It’s worth noting that Maradona himself has an extremely controversial past, including a previous addiction to cocaine that began in 1982. He was also treated for hepatitis and effects of alcohol abuse, and investigated for alleged “financial irregularities.”
Does that sound like the behavior of a god? For Maradonians, apparently, yes.
Practitioners possess an unconditional love for the man regardless of what he does off the field, because they believe the miracle he performed on it was so godlike that no mere mortal has the right to judge him.
So they worship someone who has no accountability and whom believers consider entirely beyond reproach even to the point of ridiculousness. What kind of religion would ev–Oh. Right. All of them.
Who knew that the “Hand of God” was meant to be taken literally?
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link)