It is hilarious when enormously successful people occasionally let you know that they are, after all, “not god” as they too “make mistakes.” The biggest presumption here is the existence of god but let that pass because it is a futile debate whose resolution one way or the other has no consequence for anything.
I am more interested in how successful people often get likened to god. Sachin Tendulkar, arguably one of the five greatest cricket batsmen of all time, has been quoted as saying that he is “no god” as he makes mistakes. “I am not god of cricket. I make mistakes, God doesn’t,” he has been quoted as saying.
God, as popularly understood by those who believe in that sort of thing, is supposed to be at the root of everything in the universe. That should logically make such an entity beyond human comprehension and articulation in terms of its powers. Why would such an entity choose to manifest itself via trivial pursuits like cricket or, for that matter, any other worldly profession? And if that entity does indeed choose to make its presence felt in the form of Tendulkar, for instance, why would it not choose to be utterly invincible when it comes to batting?
I am sure the believer and the devout would argue that from time to time a bored god likes to experience human imperfections and frailties and what it is like to make mistakes. Like I said, this is a futile debate.
Why do those who clarify they are not god feel compelled to do so? Who actually believes in the particular case of Tendulkar that he is literally god? The sobriquet ‘God of cricket’ that is used to describe him is more a literary construct than a literal one. He should hardly feel obliged to clarify that he is not one because no one actually thinks he is.
This is such a commonly used phrase—I am not god—that I suspect some of those who say it may privately believe that they indeed are. It is not my responsibility to disabuse people of such notions. If someone walked up to me and said, “I am god”, the most I would be able to say is, “Yeah okay.” There is nothing really to dispute in such a claim because it does not really mean anything.
I am not necessarily contradicting myself here by, on the one hand, ridiculing those who say they are not god as they also mistakes, and, on the other, saying ‘Yeah okay.” I am merely saying that such descriptions do not mean anything in any specific sense. To begin with, there is no need to describe anyone as god and not just because it makes a vast presumption about god’s existence. If people do like to refer to extraordinary achievers in godly terms, those being so described need not feel obliged to contest it because it is not said in a literal sense. And, finally, if you believe in god to be the force that animates everything in the universe, assign that entity qualities a little loftier than playing cricket brilliantly.
P.S.: This is such an unnecessary squabble I have engaged myself in. No wonder my mother and my family have always referred to me as “virodh master”, which loosely translates someone who is contentious for the sake of it. I would not use a grander term like contrarian to describe myself.