Monday, January 09, 2012

God didn't build himself that throne. For that, he needed football players.

I thought last night's Denver-Pittsburgh game was awesome. Sure, the god-botherer is an irritating twerp, but I'll take him over the rapist any day.

Now, a lot of people get--justifiably--exasperated by these grandiose displays of religiosity. It is extremely unlikely that any God who's other than a ridiculous cartoon cares about football games, they note. Right enough, even leaving aside the fact that Tebow and others like him are egregiously violating Matthew 6:5. I see no reason to believe that Tebow isn't genuinely devout in some sense, but the fact that he feels the need to make public displays of this devoutness whenever the opportunity arises indicates that this devoutness is inextricably tangled up with extreme egoïsm.

But here's the thing about getting down on one knee or pointing at the sky after a touchdown: why exactly are you doing it? I think that people assume they're saying something like "Dear Jesus, thank you for making sure my wide receiver was open, and thank you for guiding the ball into his hands." And if that's the case, it's obviously risible. But it seems like a more logical assumption would be that it's something like "thank you lord for being with me and helping me to obtain the physical abilities necessary to make that play," which seems theologically unproblematic to me. I'm sure that someone who reads more sports media than I do could look at statements by various players over the years to determine whether the rhetoric tends to support this or not, but the idea that football games are won by literal divine intervention does indeed seem so risible that I think it's only fair to give these guys the benefit of the doubt unless they make it explicit exactly what they mean.


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