And another thing, Tebow…

January 12, 2012

Let's get something straight football fans.

A recent poll revealed that 43% of those asked thought that God helps Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow win.

He (God) does not.

God, almost certainly, does not exist.

Hold on, believers, there's another point here!

What should have been asked is whether Tim Tebow's belief in god helps him win. The answer to that question is: very possibly. But so what? Any strong belief that adds to an athlete's confidence, resolve, focus, etc. may help him or her perform well. One's state of mind - especially in pro football which involves playing with pain, risk of significant injury, and millions of eyes watching your every move - can have a considerable effect on performance.

It doesn't matter whether the belief itself is true or not. Absolute confidence in the Easter Bunny being behind your efforts would have the exact same effect. An athlete who believes a rabbit's foot, a Power Balance bracelet, or a lucky penny will optimize his performance is on a level playing field with one who believes God, Shiva, or Zeus will do the same.

So Tebow's believing is what counts, not the subject of the belief or whether it's delusional or not.

Oh, and another thing.

Since there are plenty of athletes on both sides of every contest openly kneeling, pointing to the sky, and thanking God and Jesus for their success, I think we can see that that playing field is even too. God's children square off to pummel each other every week.

So who gets the win at the end of the day if all beliefs are pretty equal? The better team! (Usually)

The Denver Broncos at 8-8 (after the regular season) are one of the worst teams to ever make the playoffs. Their win at home last week could have only happened against a team as beat up as the Steelers. But Tebow's seen his last miracle. The Patriots will eat him up like a Roman lion.

Where will his savior be then?

James Underdown is Executive Director of the Center for Inquiry Los Angeles, and played football for winning teams each of his 4 years in college.


#1 Old Rockin' Dave (Guest) on Sunday January 15, 2012 at 7:38pm

I am not (not quite, anyway) an atheist, but I am always offended by those who would treat God like a vending machine: put in sufficient prayers of the right denomination and get a Coke. Or a passing grade on the math test. Or a touchdown. Or the Presidency.
If God exists the way he is generally conceived to be, I doubt he is petty enough to care whether a quarterback gets the next touchdown, or mean enough to withhold it from a more talented or harder-working player, or really gives a divine rat’s ass for football at all.
America being as it is today, don’t expect my real name on this comment. Someone would probably shoot my dog or firebomb my house.

#2 SeasonofReason on Tuesday January 17, 2012 at 1:06pm

The 43% who believe God works his wonders by altering the outcome of sporting events are, I assume, sports fans as much as they are Christians. One would think they would dislike the practice of game fixing. When bad guys fix a game—at least if they make money on the fix by gambling-they are breaking the law. But when God does it, it’s OK? If Tebow ever manages to persuade God to fix an NFL game, he should be called before Congress to answer for it, along with God, who would need three witness chairs, or maybe just one; I never understood that part of Christianity very well.

#3 distresing (Guest) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 at 3:02pm

I’ve gotten beyond Tebow’s proselytizing because its tiring to get worked up at every instance of it. What bugs me most is the irrational praise of ‘his’ accomplishments by sports ‘analysts’ who thinly disguise their magical belief system. When they otherwise would critically savage another QB with the same stats and accomplishments, they instead froth over Tebow’s ‘intangibles’.  The regular fans are nearly as exasperating in their deliberate ignorance of how close to a coin flip most of his come-from-behind victories were (a position the Broncos wouldn’t have been in had Tebow played a decent 1st half). More as a football fan than a skeptic, that’s what really drives me bug nuts.

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