March Madness to the Final Four: Clash of Civilizations Edition

If you are a sports fan then you know that we are in the midst of “March Madness,” that is, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.  For the uninitiated, a committee picks 64 college teams, and over the course of a few weeks those teams play until the field is whittled down to the “Final Four.”  Two games later a champion is declared.

Office pools follow it closely. Friends gather in bars to watch.  And even people who don’t care about basketball make their predictions and hope to win something: money, dinner, or bragging rights.

With all of the chatter about the tournament, I couldn’t help but wonder at another kind of tourney.  One that has been played through the centuries, is fought out globally, involves billions of participants, and where the stakes are very high—indeed, the winner gets the souls of men.

The teams remaining in this tournament are:

Secularism
Islam
Pantheism
Fascism (a branch of secularism, but they insisted on their own team)
Communism (and yet another secularist ideology)
Christianity

When the tournament started, there were a lot more teams than this, but as the centuries have rolled by, the field has been considerably narrowed.

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