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January 10th, 2012
02:36 PM ET

Explain it to me: John 3:16

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) – When quarterback Tim Tebow threw an 80-yard touchdown pass Sunday to secure an overtime victory for his Denver Broncos over the heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers, some saw a biblical connection.

The completion gave Tebow, an outspoken evangelical Christian whose penchant for last-minute heroics have given him a reputation as a miracle worker,  316 passing yards for the game. His ten completions averaged 31.6 yards a piece.

Those figures inspired plenty of conversation and debate about a connection some saw to one of the most famous verses in the Bible, John 3:16.

The New Testament verse is held up by Christians around the globe because it neatly summarizes some key points of Christianity:  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whosoever believes in him would not perish but have eternal life." (NIV)

In the third chapter in the Gospel of John, Jesus is having a late night discussion with a Pharisee, one of the Jewish teachers of the law, named Nicodemus. The chapter is also where the expression "born again" originates.

Jesus tells Nicodemus: "...no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again." In his longer explanation of that idea, Jesus gets to the core of his message in verse 3:16.

The verse is popular with Christians looking to share their faith because it's short and information-packed: God loves humankind, man has sinned and is destined for eternal punishment, but eternal live awaits all who believe in God's son, Jesus.

John 3:16 also has a long history with football and pop culture.

During last year's Super Bowl, the Fixed Point Foundation, which promotes Christianity in the public square, tried to buy an advertisement pushing people to a website to learn about John 3:16 but the ad was was rejected.

The spot showed people watching a football game noticing the phrase John 3:16 on a player's eye black - a sticker or grease that players wear under the eyes to reduce glare from the sun. A man in the ad says he's going to look up the verse, while the ad directed viewers to www.lookup316.com.

At the time, Fixed Point Executive Director Larry Taunton told CNN that Fox Sports said it rejected his commercial because it contained "religious doctrine," though Taunton said the ad avoided featuring the actual words of the verse.

“Increasingly religion and Christianity is treated like smoking – you can do it but only in designated areas,” Taunton said. “They were saying there’s no place for (faith) in the public square. There’s a place for the soft core porn of Go-Daddy, violent movie trailers, and irresponsible drinking, but not for faith."

As a workaround, the Fixed Point Foundation ran its ad on Fox stations locally in Birmingham, Alabama and Washington, DC during the Super Bowl.

Tebow wore Bible verses on his eye black when he quarterbacked the Florida Gators in college.  In the 2009 BCS championship game, he wrote John 3:16 on his eye black. After he left college football for the NFL in 2010, the NCAA banned players from writing on their eye black, which some have called the "Tebow rule."

John 3:16 came into the pop culture view in the late 1970s and early 1980s at sporting events, when a man named Rollen Stewart would don a rainbow colored afro wig and a John 3:16 T-shirt. He was especially good at getting himself in front of the cameras at sporting and big cultural events, including the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana.

Stewart grew increasingly fanatical about his crusade. In 1992 he took a maid hostage with a loaded gun at a Los Angeles hotel, demanding a national press conference to proclaim his new message that the end of the world was near.

He plastered John 3:16 on hotel windows.  CNN reported at the time that it took a SWAT team nine hours to free the woman.

At his sentencing hearing Stewart had to be removed from court when he would not let the judge speak.  As deputies were dragging him out of the courtroom he screamed, "Don't take me out, I said.  God sends love to the world.  Forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they're doing.  They know not what they're doing, Lord."

That last phrase is also biblical, attributed to Jesus while he was praying for his executioners as he hung on the cross.

Stewart was convicted and sent to prison in 1993 on three counts of hostage taking and is currently serving three life sentences at Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, California.

Despite Stewart's story, many sports fans continue the tradition of evangelizing at sports games by holding up John 3:16 on placards.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Sports

soundoff (2,029 Responses)
  1. Sy2502

    It's entirely obvious that god takes time to help Tebow make a pass in a football game, which is keeping god so busy that he then can't lift a finger to help the 15 million children who starve to death every year. Because god has his priorities straight.

    I don't believe in god, but if I did, I'd find this portrait of god as a shallow, self indulgent, uncaring being offensive. Christians seem to love it though.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • think for yourself

      The sheeplings are just looking for any coincidences to try to justify their crazy beliefs.

      January 11, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • 12ga

      I would rather believe and be right, than not believe and be wrong. What you do is your business.

      January 11, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • streetsmt

      12ga,
      Which god and which religion are you choosing? There are thousands of them. Maybe the correct one hasn't even been thought of yet.

      January 11, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • ckelley116

      12ga – what if you believe and you're wrong? Ever think about that?

      January 11, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • yeahalright

      So you believe out of fear, no?
      And if one really in their heart doesn't believe, your advice would be to pretend to believe? Don't you think your god can see through that?

      January 11, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"there are thousands of them. Maybe the correct one hasn't even been thought of yet."

      ...or they might could be all the same God. :)

      January 11, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • streetsmt

      Mark – Now that would be confusing. How are we supposed to worship him if he is writing all these different holy books?

      January 11, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • 12ga

      Streetsmt, I have found what I feel comfortable with, I will follow my god.
      ckelley116, then I'd be dead and it really wouldn't matter.
      yeahalright, I believe out of hope, my advice would be don't be a liar, I would think my god would know if I am lying.

      January 11, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • 12ga

      streetsmt, maybe point isn't how to worship, maybe it is just that you do.

      January 11, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • streetsmt

      12ga,
      If you are comfortable with those answers, you haven't given this stuff much thought.

      January 11, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • 12ga

      streetsmt, I have given it many years of thought and am very comfortable with my answers. and again, what you do is your business.

      January 11, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Deb

      12ga,

      If that's your rationale, then you don't really BELIEVE. It therefore matters not whether doing so is right or wrong, as your "belief" becomes a moot point.

      And to Streetsmt,...........EXACTLY!!!!!

      January 11, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • streetsmt

      12ga – you said above you believe out of hope. I translate that to mean that you hope there is a god that will give you eternal paradise and all good things forever, etc....
      I'm OK with hoping. But believing is different. You make decisions, some that effect other people, based on your beliefs. So I think it is OK to explore what others believe. They may believe that by starting a holy war they can bring about the end times sooner. Would you vote for someone like that?

      January 11, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Deb

      Clarification,

      The comment of 12ga's to which I was replying was this one:
      "I would rather believe and be right, than not believe and be wrong."

      January 11, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Pumbaa

      It doesn't make any sense that an all powerful God would have to kill his son to save anyone. If God/ess wanted to forgive the 'sins' of the human race he/she could do so without anyone having to be killed.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  2. Barry G.

    Two rebels were crucified with Jesus, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Colin

      Harry Potter stared into the big black hat. Inside were magic gold tablets – which nobody else would ever see- which told Harry the secrets of the Universe, of life, death and the afterlife. They explained to him how, if he wore certain magic underwear, he would be protected from evil spirits in this life and in the end times.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Johnnnn

      ...and Little Red Riding Hood opened the door to the grandmother's house and went in. And then the wolf ate her. Moral: Watch out for them bad wolves!!

      January 11, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  3. Johnnnn

    So, in a world fraught with disease, famine, war and economic disasters, "GOD" makes his appearance at the NFL Wild Card game. Am I the only that thinks that if "God's" priorities put football over famine, then I'm glad I'm an atheist. (It's a Christian thing – go figure...)

    January 11, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Antonio

      God makes His Appearance everywhere, especially with the poor.

      January 11, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • rosestool

      @Antonio – ... and uneducated.....

      January 11, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Antonio

      @Rosetool Yes, and uneducated but not to the blind like you

      January 11, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  4. Hal

    I remember the humor when John Kruk – who was decidedly unsaintly in his behavior – batted .316 in 1993 and all the fans held up signs reading "John .316" during the World Series.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  5. adam

    what does Tebow's horrible play during the entire month of December signify?

    January 11, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Johnnnn

      ...and in fact it wasn't so much his play on this Sunday (couple of nice passes), it was the Steeler pass defense that went to sleep. (Did "God" use his ole Divine Sleep Spell on them??...LOL)

      January 11, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Antony

      It was just jeeezus setting us all up for last Sunday's miracle, per his pie-in-the-sky gawd-daddy's instructions don't ya know.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Tony

      Jesus was busy partying during his birthday, that didn't have time to pay attention to Tebow's prayers.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  6. Barry G.

    Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

    The Gospel of Matthew

    January 11, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Blinded by the Light

      Let's keep the preach'in in the churches.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • I think for myself

      how silly..

      January 11, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Barry G.

      We who are redeemed by the blood of Christ are the church, and we are the light of the world.

      And we're here for your sake, so you won't continue in darkness and then go to the grave, without hope.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Blinded by the Light

      Oooohhh, so you're peddling hope. Thought you really believed this stuff.

      January 11, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • rick

      Barry G: You are a pompous a$$ if you believe you have any authority to instruct people about "god"

      January 11, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • AverageJoe76

      Why does God want people to bathe in Jesus' blood? I'm done with the fact y'all think that's ok.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  7. Bill

    What bothers me the most and has been erroneously reported by many since Sunday...HE DID NOT THROW AN 80 YARD TOUCHDOWN PASS!

    January 11, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • RunnerMD

      Umm, he did actually. RAC is considered part of total passing yardage.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • I think for myself

      sounds like the bible to me

      January 11, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • RunnerMD

      No, just a basic sports fact.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  8. MrMCA

    Everybody has gotten this totally wrong!!! The stats were not referring to John 3:16, but rather to LUKE 3:16. Look it up! Tebow was foretelling the coming of TOM BRADY!

    January 11, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  9. The Bible is EVIL

    TIMOTHY 12:2

    its a real winner!

    January 11, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
  10. AverageJoe76

    I don't understand God's need for a sacrafice. Whether it be Jesus, or the thousands of mammals that perished in fire in the Old Testament, why DID God need blood sacrafices?? He created the universe, right? WE need (needed) to give HIM sacrafices? Can anyone who believes explain why God needed that, as well as why does a being of such immense power even need our attention. He created us just to praise him? Doesn't that seem a bit self-absorbed? just asking.....

    January 11, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Deb

      God never asked for such sacrifices-–doing so is nothing but yet another self-imposed human 'rule' of a man-made religion that someone made up because they didn't understand God.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • think for yourself

      Be careful, you are asking Christians to think. That may throw them off a little.

      January 11, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • John of Indiana

      Because their "god" was a bloodthirsty figment of a bloodthirsty people's imagination. The ancient people described practiced genocide, so of course it follows that their "god" is the same way.

      January 11, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  11. RunnerMD

    Although I like Tim Tebow, I do not for a second believe that God helped in win the game (other than his belief led to increased confidence – kind of like the placebo effect). That said, my guess is that most of the people here who bash the bible have either read very little of it or its origins/history. From that perspective, it has to seem like fantasy. However, it is noteworthy that many well educated defenders of the bible initially set-out to discredit it only to reach the opposite conclusion. See Frank Morrison (Who Moved the Stone) as but one of many examples.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  12. Colin

    There are some pretty fundamental objections to Christianity that are hard to get around. Now before some believer rants back at me that I am evil, an “angry atheist”, or going to burn for all eternity in hell, please take the time to actually read and cogitate the objections. If you have a disagreement with a point I make, post it. However, if you only object to the fact that I said it, please understand that I do not buy into the whole “it is immoral to be skeptical of the Christian religion” argument.

    1. At its most fundamental level, Christianity requires a belief that an all-knowing, all-powerful, immortal being created the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies 13,700,000,000 years ago (the age of the Universe) sat back and waited 10,000,000,000 years for the Earth to form, then waited another 3,700,000,000 years for h.o.mo sapiens to gradually evolve, then, at some point gave them eternal life and sent its son to Earth to talk about sheep and goats in the Middle East.

    While here, this divine visitor exhibits no knowledge of ANYTHING outside of the Iron Age Middle East, including the other continents, 99% of the human race, and the aforementioned galaxies.

    Either that, or it all started 6,000 years ago with one man, one woman and a talking snake. Either way “oh come on” just doesn’t quite capture it.

    2. This ‘all loving’ god spends his time running the Universe and spying on the approximately 7 billion human beings on planet Earth 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He even reads their minds (or “hears their prayers”, if you see any difference) using some kind of magic telepathic powers. He also keeps his telepathic eye on them when they are not praying, so as to know if they think bad thoughts (such as lusting after their hot neighbor) so he knows whether to reward or punish them after they die.

    3. Having withheld any evidence of his existence, this god will then punish those who doubt him with an eternity burning in hell. I don’t have to kill, I don’t have to steal, I don’t even have to litter. All I have to do is honestly not believe in the Christian god and he will inflict a grotesque penalty on me a billion times worse than the death penalty – and he loves me.

    4. The above beliefs are based on nothing more than a collection of Bronze and Iron Age Middle Eastern mythology, much of it discredited, that was cobbled together into a book called the “Bible” by people we know virtually nothing about, before the Dark Ages.

    5. The stories of Christianity are not even original. They are borrowed directly from earlier mythology from the Middle East. Genesis and Exodus, for example, are clearly based on earlier Babylonian myths such as The Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Jesus story itself is straight from the stories about Apollonius of Tyana, Horus and Dionysus (including virgin birth, the three wise men, the star in the East, birth at the Winter solstice, a baptism by another prophet, turning water into wine, crucifixion and rising from the dead).

    6. The Bible is also literally infested with contradictions, outdated morality, and open support for the most barbarous acts of cruelty – including, genocide, murder, slavery, ra.pe and the complete subjugation of women. All of this is due to when and where it was written, the morality of the times and the motives of its authors and compilers. While this may be exculpatory from a literary point of view, it also screams out the fact that it is a pure product of man, bereft of any divine inspiration.

    7. A rejection of the supernatural elements of Christianity does not require a rejection of its morality. Most atheists and secular humanists share a large amount of the morality taught today by mainstream Christianity. To the extent we reject Christian morality, it is where it is outdated or mean spirited – such as in the way it seeks to curtail freedoms or oppose the rights of $exual minorities. In most other respects, our basic moral outlook is indistinguishable from that of the liberal Christian – we just don’t need the mother of all carrots and sticks hanging over our head in order to act in a manner that we consider moral.

    Falsely linking morality to a belief in the supernatural is a time-tested “three card trick” religion uses to stop its adherents from asking the hard questions. So is telling them it is “wrong to doubt.” This is probably why there is not one passage in the Bible in support of intelligence and healthy skepticism, but literally hundreds in support of blind acceptance and blatant gullibility.

    8. We have no idea of who wrote the four Gospels, how credible or trustworthy they were, what ulterior motives they had (other than to promote their religion) or what they based their views on. We know that the traditional story of it being Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is almost certainly wrong. For example, the Gospel of Matthew includes a scene in which Jesus meets Matthew, recounted entirely in the third person!! Nevertheless, we are called upon to accept the most extraordinary claims by these unknown people, who wrote between 35 to 65 years after Christ died and do not even claim to have been witnesses. It is like taking the word of an unknown Branch Davidian about what happened to David Koresh at Waco – who wrote 35 years after the fact and wasn’t there.

    9. When backed into a corner, Christianity admits it requires a “leap of faith” to believe it. However, once one accepts that pure faith is a legitimate reason to believe in something (which it most certainly is not, any more than “faith” that Bigfoot exists is) one has to accept all other gods based on exactly the same reasoning. One cannot be a Christian based on the “leap of faith” – and then turn around and say those who believe in, for example, the Hindu gods, based on the same leap, got it wrong. In a dark room without features, any groping guess by a blind man at the direction of the door is as valid as the other 360 degrees.

    Geography and birthplace dictates what god(s) one believes in. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own gods and they all seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams, and prejudices. Do you think they all exist? If not, why only yours?

    Faith is not belief in a god. It is a mere hope for a god, a wish for a god, no more universal than the language you speak or the baseball team you support.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Katie

      I absolutely didn't read all of that, as I'm sure no one else did either. I am also an atheist and might agree with most of your points, though. But... what in the world does any of that have to do with football????? Both sides need to stop using any forum that's even remotely touches upon religion to just spew their rhetoric to the anonymous internet.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • momoya

      Great write up, Colin, but you didn't sprinkle in some scripture tags (Jeremiah 4:10) so that the christians would read it all.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • I think for myself

      Bravo.. the religious are too weak with fear to understand what you wrote.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Rick

      Damn, now there is 5 mins of my time reading that I will never get back...........Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

      January 11, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • I think for myself

      then again, you have become a bit brighter for reading it. That is unless you aren't capable of comprehending.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Deb

      I think I love you, Colin!!!

      *applause*

      January 11, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • RunnerMD

      "Nevertheless, we are called upon to accept the most extraordinary claims by these unknown people."

      Which is different from what you wrote how exactly?

      January 11, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • John of Indiana

      It only took me 3 minutes to read it, and i feel richer for the investment of Time. Not that any christians will give it any thought, instead electing to cover their eyes and hope it goes away.

      January 11, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Colin

      RunnerMD – because nothing I wrote claims magic or supernatural powers, is all independently verifiable and does not require willing blindness or "faith" to accept it.

      January 11, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Antonio

      If God waited billions of years to reveal Himself, after reading your comment, I think God should wait another billion of years waiting for your human brain to upgrade in order to understand His revelation.

      January 11, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • think for yourself

      Antonio, care to give any reasons for what you said? Capitalization of words such as "His" doesn't add anything.

      January 11, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Antonio

      I know -think for yourself- that capitalization won't add anything, because you are angry human beings who only need healing but you refuse it. That's the only reason why atheism exists.

      January 11, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • RunnerMD

      Colin – you can't dispute that there is a substantial spin in your post in addition to the facts. Since you are clearly among the few on here that are actually familiar with biblical history, you are aware that there are certainly different interpretations of the selectively presented facts that you list. Scholars like William Albright from Johns Hopkins, for example, who have come to quite different conclusions to your item 8 for example. I am not a biblical lietralist by any stretch, but issues like the motivation for the apostles beliefs and actions (11 of whom died horrible deaths as a result) is not as simple to interpret as you intimate. What was their motivation? You, I am sure are familiar with the counter-factuals to what you presented...

      January 11, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Colin

      RunnerMD – either tell me a point I make that you disagree with or shut up with the general "you're spinning" garbage.

      January 11, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • TD

      Colin......You obviously are an intelligent person who put a great deal of thought into your disbelief and I respect that. As a Christian who has spent a good deal of time studying end time prophecy I would just like to say that I personally believe that the world will not have to wait more than 15 years to find out. I will not go into why I believe that because it would turn into a book and I am pretty lazy.(and yes I know that's a sin) Anyway just wanted to give my 2 cents.

      January 11, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Bizarre

      RunnerMD: "... the apostles beliefs and actions (11 of whom died horrible deaths as a result)"

      Little to nothing regarding the fates of most of the apostles has been verified. In the main, the stories are Christian lore and legend.
      http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/apostles.html

      January 11, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • fred

      Colin
      Point 1 demonstrates your complete lack of perspective. Your perspective seems to always come from that of a complete skeptic in which case what you just said makes sense at some level for you. You comingle what believers think with what you think and end up with nonsense which was your intended purpose. Suggesting 6,000 years and a snake verses the ramblings of a skeptic is simply the ramblings of a skeptic.

      You continue to ignore the fact that the Bible does not mention a 6,000 year period. Simply based on that it appears you wish to argue about one small minority’s interpretation of the Bible rather than the truth that is the Bible. This you do because it makes for good satire. Unfortunately it discredits your entire point 1 and simply highlights your illogical perspective.

      January 11, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • RunnerMD

      First, pump the brakes on the defensiveness. Secondly, I thought I did say that I disagreed with your point 8. Anyway, my overall point was that there is a lot more historical meat to the bible than is simplistically presented on this blog. People do need to come to their own conclusions, but that really should be a product of reading more than a few blog posts or random websites, regardless of your ultimate conclusion. Indicative of our Reader's Digest culture, sadly.

      January 11, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Antonio

      Number 2 shows that you want to do bad things but you feel God is spying on you, but in fact it is your conscience that is watching you: Don't kill it

      January 11, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Andy

      I will pray for you, and let the Holy Spirit enter your life.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Colin

      RunnerMD – no you didn't. All you did was say that others came to different conclusions. What are these conclusions and how do they differ to mine in point 8? I can assure you that nobody has the foggiest idea who wrote the gospels – that is not even contraversial. Second, the fates that you claim for the apostles is very, very likely untrue Christian mythology.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • fred

      Colin
      Points 2 and 3 are your idea of cute satire and will amuse the other mockers. Given it is silly satire there is nothing of substance to discuss.
      Point 4 is in error as our beliefs are not based upon middle eastern mythology and further has not been discredited if you are indeed referring to belief based upon the God of Abraham as revealed in the Bible.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • RunnerMD

      While I will grant you that the exact authorship of the gospels can't be confirmed, there is actually a very large amount of support ancient texts to help us derive the lineage. I honestly don't feel like going through that all here, but as one example, recent discoveries of papyrus fragments from around AD 40 have been found regarding the gospel of Matthew and, in fact, suggest that the writer was an eyewitness to the teachings of Jesus. Ditto for Mark. Anyway, as Tip O'Neil famously once said "people are entiltled to their opinion, not their own facts." As Fred stated, you blend the two indiscrimantly.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Happy Jack

      Runner-MD,
      It is well known that eye witness accounts of events are very untrustworthy. So even if you have an account that claims to be during the general time period, it is still 40 years later! Are you going to place your entire belief system on this kind of evidence?
      No way for me. I wouldn't trust it today (The book or Mormon) and I certainly don't trust it from 2000 years ago.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Colin

      Runner MD – where did Fred say that? By the way, apparently it wasn't obvious to you, but Fred has mental issues, which is why I have been ignroing him for months. Read his posts, you will see what I mean. I have never heard of a 40AD writing by the author we now call "Matthew". Perhaps you can point me to your source. Once again, I am disappointed, but not surprised that I have not found one Christian who can make an articulate response to my post. It is always the same general grievences – you mix facts – that is your opinion – you are going to burn in hell – but never do I get a specific response.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • fred

      Colin
      Point 5 you suggest the Christian stories were borrowed. Perhaps if you applied you own skepticism to your own statement you would not need to repeat the statement. Considering that many of the stories took place in the same region and similar agrarian cultures with shared experiences all of which would lead to natural similarities. Simply look at the Epic of Gilgamesh and its shared themes with other flood stories. The Jews were very meticulous in their recording of history. The Flood story in Genesis is written from a historical perspective compared with the silly style of The Epic of Gilgamesh and silly interactions of the gods. A big difference in style that even you must admit argues against your position.
      You are stating an opinion and it is simply that as there is sufficient information to conclude otherwise. As to Christianity the writers were mostly Jews that hated pagan religions and practices. There is no basis to suggest they would borrow anything from them.

      January 11, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • PS165

      Fred, Runner-MD,
      You are grasping at straws. Come on. None of what you said presents evidence of the type necessary to get all of mankind believing in a supernatural being.
      One person said it best... What's more likely. Jesus was born of a virgin or a pregnant teen told a lie.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • fred

      In Point 6:
      You said “The Bible is also literally infested with contradictions”
      =>On many occasions you publish the standard contradictions of the Bible adopted from the atheist websites. Each of the supposed contradictions was previously debunked. I doubt debunking them again would be of any value. Your single consistent error is to mix translations so as to suit your objective and cause contradiction where there is none.

      “outdated morality”
      =>Morality changes with the whim of man and that is the exact reason God is the author of true and lasting morality. The Greeks found pederasty morally acceptable and mothers would offer their young boys into the arms of old Greek men of honor so that they themselves would find acceptance in that society. Beware of morality based on desire.

      “open support for the most barbarous acts of cruelty – including, genocide, murder, slavery, ra.pe and the complete subjugation of women.”
      =>that is contrary to the will and nature of God. As always such events are taken out of context and outside their purpose of inclusion in the Bible. The Bible contains allegory, metaphor and historic recordings which must be kept in context of the time and people it addresses.

      “While this may be exculpatory from a literary point of view, it also screams out the fact that it is a pure product of man, bereft of any divine inspiration.”
      =>It is the product of men inspired by God reflecting and recording their experiences in their life and times. These men had one thing in common which was a personal knowledge and relationship of God. You cannot take that away from them because you were not there and it is their personal expression and belief. I note you also take away from anyone that would express their current personal knowledge and experience with God today in the same manner. I applaud your consistency in your core materialistic belief.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • fred

      PS165
      The entire story line beginning with how God created by simply a spoken word dwarfs the virginity of Mary. God did not even bother to wave his arms about or make a grand gesture, simply spoke it into existence.
      You are spot on in that nothing I could say would bring about belief in such things. It is called faith and faith comes from hearing and hearing from the Word of God. That is the foundation without which it is all a real wacked out story. Until you receive that small amount of faith and seek God earnestly the wonders and truth of our purpose in life will never be found.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • fred

      Colin
      Point 7 you said:” there is not one passage in the Bible in support of intelligence and healthy skepticism”
      Colin, you use the words of the serpent in almost all of your posts and you should know at least that one. Genesis 3:1 Did God really say you must not eat form any tree in the garden? The serpent was wise and more than a skeptic.

      Abraham when God said he would give Sarah a child at her age fell down laughing and said “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old?” Abraham was one of the most intelligent of his day and certainly showed his skepticism.

      Oh, sorry you did ask for just one example. I gave another just so we do not need to argue over talking snakes. There are many more as God and the Bible encourage healthy skepticism and never suggest anyone put their brains in the trash can.

      January 11, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • fred

      Point 8 we are called to accept the words of Colin almost 2,000 years later who also was not there and did not see Jesus. So, Colin you are in a much weaker position than those who wrote 35 years after Christ. You are again inconsistent in your standards for Historical Scholarly review of antiquity. We have 25,000 manuscripts on the New Testament and not one written in the first century that contest any of these docu-ments. This is far more than any other writings of antiquity that you hang your hat on as fact. Wake up you have biased skepticism all over your face and hands.

      January 11, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • fred

      Point 9 we are not backed into a corner as Christians when we claim it is by faith we understand and believe in God. The only way to please God is by faith any other way never works. Jesus said to doubting Thomas you have seen and believe” blessed are those that believe and have not seen”.
      Christians believe in God because God was revealed to them and they accepted Christ by faith. God has not revealed any God to me other than the God of Abraham who fulfilled every promise in the Bible in the fullness of Christ. To suggest I cannot believe in God because someone else in the world has a different belief is nonsense.
      Perhaps you could understand it better if I said just because I have faith in the theory of general relativity does not mean I must also believe in the theory of evolution. Lack of faith in one theory would not necessarily negate all other theories either.

      January 11, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • kim

      @COLIN
      Atheists are an interesting bunch here on CNN. You give each other a pass and a wink on the dumbest statements you make then gang up like dogs on Christians and Muslims. I do not know of a single Christian that buys your 6,000 year creation assertion. Why not set up some tribe that worships the bear as your straw man.
      @FRED looks like the atheists are running out of the same old tired ways of mocking anyone of faith. Remember your own bible state that this is what they will do. Each time they call you an idiot they are just being themselves. Be nice to them for they know not what they do. I imagine you know who said that.

      January 11, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Colin

      Kim – read the next blog over – the one about evolution. I think you'll find that about 40% of Christians believe in the "talking snake" theory of galactic and terrestrial formation.

      January 12, 2012 at 11:39 am |
  13. I think for myself

    religion, how delusional is that?????

    Funny how a perfect being writes a bible that need interpretation and translations by man. Too silly folks. Stop living a lie. Worse, stop brainwashing your children. Please! let kids be kids.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • bob

      Man has created God in his own image!

      January 11, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Antonio

      The Bible was inspired by God but written by human beings with human expressions, and you are still unable to understand.
      You need a special version for your small brain to understand.

      January 11, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  14. anonymouse

    Religion is like a penis.

    It's ok to have one and it's ok to be proud of it.

    But please don't whip it out in public and more than anything don't you dare try to shove it down my throat.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Barry G.

      Remember thosse fowl and blasphemous words you wrote, for you will be held accountable for them in this life and on the day of judgment.

      The Scripture says: God is not mocked.

      Brace yourself!

      May the lord rebuke you.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Big John

      Learn how to spell foul dude.

      Those words weren't blasphemous. It's called an analogy.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • AverageJoe76

      Barry G. – ........and therein lies the problem. The "eternal punishment" thing is what keeps anyone with an opposing thought in line, right? Stuff would scare the bejeebus outta anyone. BUT....... here's the thing; What's "free will" when God has seen everything? He knows I'm a sinner before I'm cretaed, why go through the trouble of creating a defective product?

      January 11, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • rick

      "Remember thosse fowl and blasphemous words you wrote, for you will be held accountable for them in this life and on the day of judgment.

      The Scripture says: God is not mocked.

      Brace yourself!

      May the lord rebuke you."

      Your lord is as impotent as the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or Shrek, and your empty proxy threats are laughable. Get back on your knees

      January 11, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Deb

      BarryG, this sentiment ("may the lord rebuke you") puts you in direct violation and disobedience of the teachings of Jesus, according to your own Bible.

      January 11, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • think for yourself

      Barry G:
      "You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout I'm telling you why. Santa Claus is coming to town".
      How is what you said any different with this, replacing Santa with god?

      January 11, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      your god is weak and flaccid. a bullet to the head will take care of your zombie jesus. did I miss anything? oh yeah, ALL HAIL THE ORI!!

      January 11, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • fairyinthesky

      In my language, teeboaw actually means that p-- whipping in all directions!.

      January 16, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
  15. Jesus

    If Tim Tewbo were the same exact ,
    with the same exact college carrer,
    and college stats,
    and was just as onpen about this faith,
    except his faith was islam,

    he would have never been drafted.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  16. stan

    also there was a john 3:16 banner in the movie Jerry McGuire, at the end when Cuba makes the TD and celebrates with the fans

    January 11, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  17. humtake

    I have no belief in organized religion. But even I can see how much more beneficial it is to use Tebow as a good role-model. So many people for the past decade have whined and cried about how athletes, especially NFL athletes, are getting arrested for gun use, domestic violence, drug use, etc. and they always say the same thing...these people are being very bad role models.

    So then you have a kid come along who does none of those things and puts his faith in religion. He doesn't try to convert people to his religion. He doesn't flaunt his religion (if you haven't noticed, it is the media and individual people who are blowing up what he says and what he does, not Tebow).

    Basically, this is just another case of Americans people ignorant, arrogant Americans. They don't want bad role models, but they don't want good role models either. All Americans want is for everything in the entire universe to cater to each person individually. Americans think that anyone with a different opinion than them individually then that person is wrong.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • streetsmt

      I would say putting 3:16 on your eye block is flaunting your religion.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Big Blue

      He doesn't flaunt it? Did you not see the photo at the top of the story? He can't conduct an interview without launching into proselytizing. And he has his prayer services at mid-field in front of the stadium and the cameras, not in his private living room. He's flaunting it like crazy.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • mrb

      VERY WELL SAID!

      January 11, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • momomiester

      Yes it is about the underdog. About a guy that was being bashed that he was too goody goody and doesn't have what it takes and yet makes it. It is a classic Cinderella story. People get inspired due to they face the same type of criticism in their lives. Plus, what role models do we have? Obama! ahhahahha . Or how bought Mike Vick, bow wow.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  18. Barry G.

    In the first few centuries the Christians were called atheists, because they did not worship the pagan gods (idols) of Rome, and they worshiped an invisible God, YHWH.

    The Christians were a persecuted, misunderstood and slandered group of people. Little has changed, since the early centuries of the church.

    Jesus taught his disciples to "love one another", to serve and help others, to be kind, to love your and pray for your enemies, and to be humble and just.

    Jesus said to his disciples: No servant is greater than their master, nor is the one sent greater than the one who sent them. If they hated, rejected and persecuted me, they will do the same to you. It is enough for a servant to be like his master.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Prof

      Really Barry?

      "The Christians were a persecuted, misunderstood and slandered group of people. Little has changed, since the early centuries of the church."

      You conveniently forgot how many "non-believers" were killed in the Christian Crusades?

      January 11, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • rick

      You claim to know the mind of god, but you call yourself humble? What hubris

      January 11, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • yeahalright

      "Little has changed, since the early centuries of the church."

      Really? Really??? I know you guys love your persecution complexes and all but jesus, look around.

      January 11, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Deb

      BarryG,

      Why would Jesus say such a thing if the only servants are us humans and the only master is God???

      January 11, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  19. Katie

    Sooo... what? That verse's "freaky coincidence" to Tebow's stats means.... Tebow's the new son of God? Riiiiiiiight.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • go4it

      It was really 316 yards, 1 foot and 2 inches, but the stats keeper was a baptist.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  20. Michael SlaveOfChrist

    Only a devil associates a Bible verse from God's own mouth with a fanatical hostage taker. That's the desperate attempt of the wicked to justify their fury against God and against His Anointed, the Lord Jesus Christ. The ungodly suppress the truth in unrighteousness, devouring God's people as if they were bread. Well, God is taking notice. Nothing escapes Him. His eyes are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. Take note.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • rick

      "Only a devil associates a Bible verse from God's own mouth with a fanatical hostage taker"

      And only a fool associates the writings of Bronze Age sheepherders with god.

      "God is taking notice. Nothing escapes Him. His eyes are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. Take note."

      Sort of like Santa, but with a wicked temper.

      That "slaveofchrist" thing seems pretty accurate.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • John of Indiana

      "...devouring God's people as if they were bread."
      Well, i don't know about anybody else, but in *MY* Atheist household, we devour our young babies roast, with Yorkshire Pudding. On Sunday.

      January 11, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.