In 2003 football hard man and actor Vinnie Jones admitted assaulting an airline passenger and drunkenly claiming he could have a flight crew “murdered for £3,000”. Jones became incandescent with rage when a fellow passenger, Stephen Driscoll told him he was being “annoying”, sparking a tirade of aggressive threats from the celebrity. Jones was given 80 hours community service and fined £800.

Despite this, Vinnie is a man of prayer. Surprised? In Vinnie the Autobiography, Vinnie explained his faith like this:

“Yes, granddad was special. So special that, since we lost him, I’ve always believed he was still in touch. I am convinced he is my spiritual guide. I remember saying out loud: I’d love to be a professional footballer, granddad. A footballer. One chance. Anything, anywhere. If you can help…..”

In 1986, Vinnie scored a goal against Manchester United. This is how he prayed during the game:

“It might seem strange, but at that moment I said another little prayer: ‘Come on granddad, come on, please let it stay at 1-0.’ And he did. United did bring on ‘Pop’ Robson, but there was nothing Captain Marvel could do to spoil my incredible day.

How would a committed materialist respond to this story?

“Superstitious nonsense. Spirits do not exist because everything is physical.”

How would a relativist respond?

“If you believe it, it is true for you.”

How would a pagan respond?

“There are many spirits, including granddads, which respond to prayer….so carry on             Vincent.”

And a Christian response would be:

“Vinnie you need to repent of both your violent, uncouth behaviour and praying to a dead person. Unlike Jesus, your granddad, Arthur, did not come back from the dead!”

Mark Roques

Mark Roques

For eleven years Mark taught Philosophy and Religious Studies at Prior Park College, Bath. As Director of RealityBites since 2005, he has developed a rich range of resources for teachers and is a popular speaker at educational conferences in the UK, Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, Australia and New Zealand. Mark is the author of three books, including the Religious Education textbook The Good, The Bad and The Misled, and his innovative approach has led him to appear on television (Channel 4) and radio.