There is no God! (Caddyshack)
Slovenly laborer Carl Spackler (Bill Murray) is on the back patio of the clubhouse, whacking flowers with a hoe and delivering his immortal “Cinderella Boy” monologue. Ominous clouds are moving in. The judge marches by and demands that Carl carry his golf bag so that he can “get in nine holes before this rain moves in,” concluding his order with a brisk, “Chop-chop!”
Like a scolded puppy, Carl falls in step behind the bishop, and off they go. As the round of golf proceeds, the storm intensifies. Enjoying unusually good fortune, the bishop is blinded to the danger by his conviction that, “Surely the Good Lord would never disrupt the best game of my life!”
Oblivious to the fact that the course has long since been evacuated, the two begin a dramatic climb toward the final hole. As the orchestral soundtrack reaches a thrilling orchestral crescendo and the storm reaches hurricane intensity, they arrive at the final green.
The bishop putts. The ball hydroplanes across the green. Closer, then closer still, the ball approaches the cup…and rolls right over it! His hopes of a club record crushed, the bishop raises one arm toward the black sky.
Clenching his putter in a palsied fist and shaking it at the heavens, the bishop squints through the blinding rain and screams an oath at his Maker. Instantly, a bolt of lightning strikes the putter. Convulsing and enveloped in a purple, low-budget silhouette of electrical energy, the smitten bishop falls to the green. Horrified yet still able to exercise his primal fight-or-flight response, Carl chooses flight. He slinks away into the storm to avoid accountability.
As the next scene opens, the bishop is seated at the bar in the posh clubhouse, brooding over a stiff drink. As he orders yet another of the potent concoctions, the pretentious Judge Smails issues a sharp scolding.
“You’re drinking too much, Your Excellency!” “My name’s Fred,” slurs the miserable bishop, “and I’m a man, same as you.” “You’re not a man,” cries the judge. “You’re a BISHOP, for God’s sake!”
Gazing resolutely into his highball glass, the bishop grumbles with absolute finality, “There is no God!”
This two-minute sequence could easily yield a dozen provocative discussion questions, but we leave it with one simple observation: It is a perfect example of the dysfunctional aspects of Religious Royalty.
Despite the farcical Caddyshack treatment, Religious Royalty is all too real. Simply put, it is the highest caste in the remarkably dysfunctional Christian caste system. Religious Royalty consists of those who are considered spiritual “haves” by those who consider themselves spiritual “have-nots.” Religious Royalty is bad for everybody, but its most troubling aspect is that it robs lay persons of their most fundamental gospel right, and that is the right to first-hand revelation.
By all means, honor your pastor. Support your priest. They do a difficult and noble job. At the same time, never relinquish your right to first-hand revelation. The Holy Spirit loves to talk directly to you. And if you’re ever tempted to forget that fact, remember the humble verdict of our friend, the golfing bishop: “I’m a man, same as you!” Thanks, Bishop!