The Tebow Effect

January 12, 2012

It’s only natural to expect that Tim Tebow’s full-frontal Christianity on the football field would please lots of fellow Christians, football fans or not.

While this religious effect is a sure bet, his effects on the secular world are not so easy to forecast. Here’s my bold weekly picks:

Tebow vs. The New England Patriots: 3 to 1 odds against Tebow. That New England defense isn’t unbeatable, but its offense will score more points than Tebow’s Denver Broncos.

Tebow vs. The Growth of Unbelief. 8 to 1 odds against Tebow. His public spectacles of pious religiosity annoy far more people than the few people who convert because of him. The growth in the numbers of nonbelievers might even accelerate if more ‘stars’ acted like Tebow.

Tebow vs. Jesus Christ. 12 to 1 odds against Tebow. Does Christianity really want to be known for being there when a fabulously rich white man narcissistically needs more Jesus? Christians surely prefer a reputation for caring more about the forgotten and truly needy. Atheists can’t tell Christians how to pray and we needn’t resort to outrage – but it does look like Jesus needs to have a serious talk with Tebow far more than any of the rest of us.

Tebow vs. Separation of Church and State. 20 to 1 odds against Tebow. Separation of church and state will survive just fine. Tebow isn’t running a church on the taxpayer’s dime or buying up the national airwaves to preach, or demanding any special government favors (so far) so that he can pray in sports stadiums.

Tebow vs. The Future of Civilization. 50 to 1 odds against Tebow. The way that professional sports can dominate our public life is depressing to friends of intellectual culture, but this isn’t Tebow’s fault. It’s hard to see how he could make matters worse, so he probably can’t bring about the downfall of civilization.

Tebow vs. Angry Atheists. 7 to 1 odds against Angry Atheists. Atheists pouncing on this opportunity to ridicule and denounce Tebow’s sincere convictions and his courage to publicly express his beliefs (all protected by the Constitution) doesn’t really put those atheists in a good light or arouse any sympathy. Besides, don’t atheists want the same opportunities when they can get in front of the television cameras?
 
Odds are that sports figures will keep on praising Jesus, or Allah, or whoever. I don’t have psychic powers to know Tebow’s religious sincerity, and the Constitution protects expressions of faith anyway. But I bet our Founders expected more from free speech than just a prayer.

Comments:

#1 Randy (Guest) on Thursday January 12, 2012 at 6:54pm

“Tebow vs. Angry Atheists. 7 to 1 odds against Angry Atheists.”

Although it’s clear the odds are not meant in a scientific sense, but more as a means of making a point, I still disagree.  Tebow’s Christianity is not a friendly version.  It’s the strongly anti-family Christianity that attacks families with LGBT people in them.

Just as promoting the KKK is no longer a popular or honorable stance (although certainly protected under the US Constitution ... and by the way let’s not confuse protection with promotion as so often happens ...), Tebow should be similarly shamed.

Who are these “Angry Atheists” again?  Most who get unfairly slapped with this label are happy to find ourselves among those who promote family and equality.  We call out hateful BS when we see it, which itself is still a courageous move, particularly off the Internet.

If people are seeing anger in us, it’s probably projection.  But we’re not uniform, and in cases where there’s anger, it’s certainly not an inherent property of atheists, or some subset holding some views, but rather a reaction to mean people, and lies.

#2 good2Bgood (Guest) on Monday January 16, 2012 at 9:34am

This whole Tebow mania drives me CRAZY, but it’s really not Tim Tebow that I have a problem with, it’s these nut jobs that act like he is the second coming of Christ!  The absurdity and hypocrisy of it all is positively mind boggling! 

So because Tim Tebow, a *gifted athlete* openly prays on the football field and leads his team to a few thrilling wins, he is somehow god’s chosen one? He’s a *gifted athlete* - of course he is going to win some exciting games! Would he have lost the game if he hadn’t said his prayers in front of all the cameras?  Is god supposedly listening to and answering his prayers more than anyone else’s?  WTF? What about ALL the athletes in ALL sports who pray to god, and thank god when they perform their best (David Ortiz comes to mind, always pointing up to the sky after he hits a home run)? Why is Tim Tebow any better than they are? Come on people!

What are these nut jobs saying now that he got his butt kicked by the Patriots?  Does god like Tom Brady even more than Tim Tebow?  What about all Tebow’s opponents who also prayed before the games?  I thought the magic man in the sky loved everyone equally?

Another thing is, I strongly suspect that when Tebow was on his knees praying before the game, that he was thanking god for the talent and opportunity to be playing football at this level, not asking win the game. But these whackos elevate him to this god-like level, simply because he is famous and prays openly. Give me a break.  I, for one, am very glad that Tebow should be out of the spotlight until the fall.  GO PATRIOTS!!!

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