Sports stars you didn't know were religious
January 31st, 2014
05:49 PM ET

For some fans, Super Bowl has supernatural twists

By Daniel Burke, Belief Blog Co-editor

(CNN) - Before he watches his beloved Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl this Sunday, Kyle Herman has some important rituals to perform.

Just as he has for years, in the morning he will pick out the Broncos jersey to wear for the game. He will slip on his high-school ring, refashioned in Broncos blue and orange, and surround his television with team paraphernalia, from signed footballs to a pillow.

Herman has several Broncos jerseys, and if a certain player is stinking up the field, the 21-year-old from Beaver Falls, Wisconsin, will put on that player's jersey. You know, to give them a little more mojo.

“I don’t know why,” he says with a loud laugh, “but I feel like it really works for some reason.”

Herman may think his rituals are silly, but he’s far from alone in his sports superstitions.

According to a poll released in January by the Public Religion Research Institute, about half of all Americans believe that some element of the supernatural plays a role in sporting events.

That could mean fearing your team is cursed, as a quarter of sports fans said they do. It could mean you’re among the 26% who said they pray for God to help their team. Or it could mean performing rites like Herman, believing that, by some mysterious force, they will affect the outcome of the big game.

Robert P. Jones, the CEO of PRRI, said he wanted to explore the remarkable parallels between religion and sports: the tribalism, the loyalty, the uniforms, the lore, and, of course, the rituals.

Hearing people describe their game-day rites and customs, was eye-opening, Jones said with a wide smile.

“People were very very specific. They put on certain underwear, danced in little circles, gave their TVs a pep talk. Some of these things were playful and some were more serious.”

To hear Tamara Murphy tell it, what she and her husband wear on Sunday could have win-or-lose consequences for the Seattle Seahawks.

Dustin wears a Seahawks jersey that he only washes when the team loses, which means that shirt should be pretty ripe right about now (their last loss was October 6). Tamara wears a pair of Seahawks underwear on Sundays.

“The one time I didn’t wear them during the first half we lost,” she wrote on CNN’s Facebook page. “Now my husband asks me before kickoff if I have them on.”

Football fans tend to be more supernaturally inclined than baseball or basketball devotees, the PRRI poll found. That’s probably because football is most popular in the South and Midwest, the most religious parts of the country, Jones said.

Football fans were more likely to pray for their teams, perform pre-game rituals or believe their teams are cursed, according to the poll, which surveyed 1,011 American adults between January 8-12.

Even football fans who are not especially religious said they are asking God to help their team this Sunday.

Michael Kung, for instance, penned a prayer on CNN’s Facebook page after we asked fans to share their supernatural Super Bowl plans.

“Dear God, I know that I don’t talk to you much and I haven’t been to church since middle school," he wrote, "but please, let the Seahawks win on Sunday.”

(Now would be a good time to mention that while CNN has many sources in high places, the last time we checked, God is not one of our Facebook followers.)

Other CNN Facebook friends challenged Kung’s priorities. Praying for a game while millions suffer in poverty is “sick,” said Jennifer Smith.

We wanted to explore the question a bit, so we asked well-known Christian theologian William Lane Craig: Does God really get involved in our games?

Craig’s answer: Yes and no.

“Everything that happens in this world is by his divine will or permission, and that includes fumbles and interceptions,” he said, “but it’s not as if God intervenes to deflect a pass in the end zone.”

Rather, God sets up the basic circumstances (kind of like the NFL commissioner) and allows the players to determine the outcome, said Craig, a professor at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California.

The Rev. Warren Hall, a Catholic priest at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, teaches a class on sports and spirituality and had roughly the same response.

God cares about the people on the field, their conduct and character, but not the outcome of games, said Hall. If God really were a sports fan, Catholic colleges would boast much better records, he said with a laugh.

While God may not be intervening in the field of play, Hall said he sees an element of the divine in the stands, in the communion of bleacher creatures.

“To be in a stadium with 60,000 people, and feel the energy of that, it touches on something transcendent,” the priest said. “I think God likes to see his people happy. He likes it when we gather together to enjoy each other’s company.”

Of course, any American crowd these days includes many atheists – and they’ll have a big presence on a billboard down the road from MetLife Stadium, the site of the Super Bowl.

The billboard depicts a priest holding a football and giving a thumbs-up sign. “A ‘Hail Mary’ only works in football,” it reads. “Enjoy the game!”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Entertainment • Polls • Prayer • Sports

soundoff (598 Responses)
  1. Colin

    "the priest said. “I think God likes to see his people happy. He likes it when we gather together to enjoy each other’s company.”"

    Well, not quite. About 80% of the planet eeks out an existence in grinding poverty on the edge of starvation. For a being that loves his pets, one would think he would feed a few more of them regularly.

    February 1, 2014 at 4:42 am |
    • Reality #2

      Please substantiate your claim about the 80%.

      February 1, 2014 at 6:55 am |
      • truthprevails1

        This article does back it...it is lengthy but interesting: http://www.globalissues.org/article/4/poverty-around-the-world

        February 1, 2014 at 8:06 am |
        • Reality #2

          "About this Web Site

          Author and Page information
          by Anup Shah
          Welcome to the global issues web site. This web site looks into global issues that affect everyone and aims to show how most issues are inter-related.

          There are over 550 articles on this site, mostly written by myself. The issues discussed range from trade, poverty and globalization, to human rights, geopolitics, the environment, and much more. Spread over these articles, there are over 7,000 links to external articles, web sites, reports and analysis to help provide credence to the arguments made on this web site."

          Not the most reliable source and the data presented apparently is for the developing world not the industrial world.

          February 1, 2014 at 9:57 am |
        • Reality #2

          A more reliable source of poverty statistics:

          https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2046.html and other CIA reports.

          February 1, 2014 at 10:01 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Thank you for that Reality.

          February 1, 2014 at 10:02 am |
        • Akira

          Wow. Many listed are using old stats, or are not available...wonder what the true picture really is?


          February 1, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
    • bobsyuruncle

      Do you suppose god takes endless delight in the brain damage of ex-football stars?

      February 1, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
  2. ardvrk

    Boys playing with their balls and believing in ghosties.

    Humans need to crawl out of the mud they like to wallow in.

    February 1, 2014 at 3:04 am |
    • G to the T

      Considering their careers are tied to how well they "play" a "game", it's not surprising they feel the need to have some kind of control over the situation.

      February 1, 2014 at 9:30 am |
  3. sybaris

    It's always funny to hear sports figures and celebrities give thanks to their god.

    Meanwhile buzzards are picking at the flesh of children who starved to death in Sudan

    February 1, 2014 at 12:13 am |
    • saggyroy

      Hey, if those kids were true believers they could make it to the Superbowl too if they just prayed hard enough.

      February 1, 2014 at 8:06 am |
    • the serpent

      Right on. Statistically, 12 children a minute, age 5 and under die. I guess these folks thanking god for winning football games are so much more deserving of this gods graces than those children.

      February 1, 2014 at 9:25 am |
    • doobzz

      Those ungrateful little brats just don't want to admit that their starvation, disease and suffering are "kisses from Jesus", per Mother Teresa, the patron saint of unnecessary suffering.

      February 1, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
  4. Tmac

    It seems very arrogant when people who have been fortunate enough to attain a standard of living far above the rest of us say that god blessed them with their success. Do they really think that they have lived so much better than the billions of other people who have ever lived on this planet, most just barely scraping by, that god specially chose just them to be that blessed? Give me a break!

    February 1, 2014 at 12:09 am |
  5. Colin

    Always found it odd to watch a sportsman thank their chosen sky-fairy for their touchdown, home run,, goal or victory. I don't get God/Yahweh/Brahma/Allah supporting any particular sporting team over another.

    But then again, I have never really understood the whole idea of a prayer (wish) granting sky-wizard in the first place.

    January 31, 2014 at 10:55 pm |
    • Damocles

      I'd be more open to it if they did the same thing when they played really crappy. 'I'd like to think my deity for seeing fit to make me unable to score, catch, throw, kick, etc etc'. At the very least something along the lines of 'my deity's arch-nemesis just happened to have a stronger prescence out on the field today'.

      January 31, 2014 at 11:01 pm |
      • Colin

        Agreed. It's a bit like when a Christian thanks God that the tornado just missed their trailer. It therefore, by necessity, took out the trailer and family next door!

        January 31, 2014 at 11:03 pm |
        • Damocles

          Exactly. 'I feel blessed that my deity saw fit to spare me and kill that struggling family of six. What? Why didn't it destroy that obvious meth lab on the other side of me? Its... ummm... aim was off, yeah that's it, it'll get them next time'.

          January 31, 2014 at 11:12 pm |
      • Damocles

        *thank* sheesh.

        January 31, 2014 at 11:04 pm |
    • are122

      Funny, all the posts like this. Never an alternative, never a scientific theory, never a physicist's reference...just silly, silly words.

      January 31, 2014 at 11:07 pm |
      • Damocles

        And yet here you are, offering up your own silly, silly words.

        Anyway... I suppose the alternative would be for the sports figure to say 'hey, we/I played a great/crappy game today. We played/didn't play to our potential today and it showed'. Like I said, if you are going to thank a deity for making you spectacular on a certain day you can't do any less on a bad day.

        January 31, 2014 at 11:17 pm |
  6. Cpt. Obvious

    ***YAWN*** Our trolls are sooooooooooooooo BORING!!!

    January 31, 2014 at 10:55 pm |
    • Mirror

      Dude, you are a foul mouthed, hostile troll.

      January 31, 2014 at 10:58 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        See what I mean? Soooooo boring!!!!

        January 31, 2014 at 11:02 pm |
        • Mirror

          How are you not a troll?

          January 31, 2014 at 11:03 pm |
  7. Mild

    Why is it a problem if someone considers atheism a religion? How does that hurt the atheists’ claim? You atheists may have nothing left to lose but your taxable status.

    January 31, 2014 at 9:52 pm |
    • Saraswati

      It's simply inaccurate. a religion is a system of beliefs, and atheism is just the lack of one belief. If lacking a belief made something a religion then each person would belong to an infinite number of religions. The idea is just silly.

      January 31, 2014 at 10:04 pm |
      • Mild

        A religion is a system of beliefs. So, being a Democrat is a religion. And working as a journalist is a religion, too.

        January 31, 2014 at 10:08 pm |
        • Saraswati

          That is not the only characteristic of religions, but is the part necessary make the point that atheism is not one. Language is a social construct, and if you are unaware that a political party is not a religion you most likely have little exposure to English.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:14 pm |
        • Mild

          There are some things that are classified as religion that really aren't a religion, like Judaism and Quakerism.

          And there are some things that shouldn't be like a religion that in some ways are, like nationalism and atheism.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:26 pm |
        • Saraswati

          "There are some things that are classified as religion that really aren't a religion, like Judaism and Quakerism."

          Ok, I'll bite. Why aren't these religions?

          January 31, 2014 at 10:31 pm |
        • Barcs

          There is no "system" involved in atheism. There is no doctrine, prayer or rituals. Calling atheism a religion is like saying not eating cheese is a meal. This argument is beyond stupid and the fact that people keep saying it in every topic on this site only reflects poor intelligence. It does not take faith to not have faith. The argument is laughably wrong. Otherwise you have to say that not collecting stamps is a hobby, not eating cheese is dinner and that not playing football is a sport.

          February 1, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
      • saggyroy

        A system of beliefs coupled with traditions and dogmas.

        February 1, 2014 at 8:22 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Why is it a problem if someone considers not collecting stamps a hobby? How does that hurt the non stamp collector's claim? You non stamp collectors may have nothing left to lose but your non hobby status.

      January 31, 2014 at 10:08 pm |
      • Mild

        When atheists rail against theists (as many do on this blog), they are using the same fervor the religious use when making their claims against a secular society. By calling atheism a religion, I am not trying to craft terms or apply them out of convenience. I just see theists and atheists behaving in the same manner, approaching from opposite ends of the runway. The entire discourse about religion stems from those who think they know more than the other guy. But what we really know is that we don't know much. And we seem to share the same mechanisim in our brains that drives us to make claims of faith and rationalism as a way of making sense of the great unknown.

        January 31, 2014 at 10:10 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Thanks for writing a reply that had nothing at all to do with my post.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:17 pm |
        • Saraswati

          "Some atheists act with religious-like fervor" is a completely reasonable claim. "Many atheists have a fundamentalist materialist world view" is also certainly true. "Atheism is a religion" is just an ignorant lazy statement usually made by the ignorant because they think it scores some sort of point. Atheism is not a religion no matter what other beliefs some atheists may have or how other atheists behave. Saying it is is just ignorant and a waste of everyone's time.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:19 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          .But a lot of it is no longer the great unknown. The more we know about our world the less we need the actions of a god to explain it.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:20 pm |
        • Mild

          Not all people believe in God to explain phenomenon about our natural world we don't know about. In fact, that is not how Christianity operates. Hence the reason so many leading scientist's religious beliefs don't conflict with scientific knowledge.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:28 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          So if you accept that the bible (or other religious text) is not literally true, what role did the deity have in the universe and what does a deity do on a daily basis?

          January 31, 2014 at 10:32 pm |
        • Mild

          We are not living off my power. Or your power. There is a higher power. You would be nothing without that power.


          January 31, 2014 at 10:46 pm |
        • In spaghetti monster we trust

          What do you do on a daily basis? Post on Belief Blogs??? Demand everyone prove things to you or else. Or else.... or else you'll proclaim you don't believe it! Oh my.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:54 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          If you had evidence you'd post it. Getting upset doesn't change anything.

          January 31, 2014 at 11:01 pm |
        • the serpent

          That still doesn't make it a religion. If someone gets angry and acts like an enraged bull, that does not make that person a bull.

          February 1, 2014 at 9:42 am |
        • the serpent


          "We are not living off my power. Or your power. There is a higher power. You would be nothing without that power."

          Except that you offer no evidence that this power that you claim exists is real.

          February 1, 2014 at 9:45 am |
        • Piccolo

          "Some atheists act with religious-like fervor" is a completely reasonable claim. "Many atheists have a fundamentalist materialist world view" is also certainly true. "Atheism is a religion" is just an ignorant lazy statement usually made by the ignorant because they think it scores some sort of point."

          Dead on, although fundamentalist doesn't really apply as there is no doctrine to take literally. You could say they take science literally, but that's only logical since its been tested and proven. It's not like taking an ancient story literally.

          The whole thing that separates religious people from non-religious people is that they aren't religious/faithful when it comes to god. When religious folks pigeon hole them into a religious view it's just an insult and nothing more. It doesn't take faith to not have faith, no matter how you spin it.

          February 1, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
    • Digital

      I do think religious atheists exist who make atheism a religion. I think many atheists take atheism so literal that they become a religious atheist and pretty much act like a fundamentalist which they mock and laugh at.

      January 31, 2014 at 10:09 pm |
      • Mild

        I think a lot of people notice this. But the atheists guilty of this seem completely unaware. It is like they have a blind-spot. Which is totally normal. We all have blind-spots like that in our lives.

        January 31, 2014 at 10:11 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Yes, some atheists behave this way, but those that do have a lot more beliefs wrapped up in their behavior than simply not believing or disbelieving in gods.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:20 pm |
        • Digital

          So technically speaking, atheism can be a religion and is a religion for some atheists(in fact, most internet atheists are religious atheists because they take atheism as literal).

          January 31, 2014 at 10:22 pm |
        • Saraswati

          What on earth does "taking atheism as literal" mean? Do you think there are some atheists who think its a metaphor or allegory or something? All atheists I have ever met mean it "literally". I think what we are talking about is people who feel certainty, but even then it is not a religion which requires a system of beliefs, not just a a single belief. for instance, thinking turning your toaster to high will burn the toast isn't a religion. Also most definitions of religion require a supernatural belief, which some atheists may have, but only as part of some broader belief system.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:29 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Atheists who are interested in the sorts of things that religions exist to offer simply choose something other than a god-based belief system to find those things. Science is often a substitute for origin myths for people interested in the origin of our Universe, for example. There are belief systems underlying science, usually kinds of realism.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:33 pm |
        • Saraswati

          I think most people have a whole network of unfounded beliefs, things like "truth will make people happier". We all live on untruths. But that doesn't mean some of these imperfect networks aren't more logical or more conducive to happiness...just that those two may not be the same systems.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:38 pm |
      • Piccolo

        What is there to take literally though? There aren't scriptures? You could say they are very adamant about it, but what exactly are they taking literally? Science? I would hope so.

        February 1, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
    • Vic


      The logical negative, which is a passive state, of Theism is Atheism. One can only be an atheist if he/she is passive. The moment you actively pursue the atheism stance, it is automatically a belief.

      January 31, 2014 at 10:46 pm |
      • Saraswati

        There are millions of beliefs in the world; very few qualify as religions. Even in atheistic Buddhism, atheism is not the religion, but simply one belief in that Buddhist system.

        January 31, 2014 at 10:50 pm |
        • G to the T

          Well spoken. The teachings of the Buddha are independant of your belief in god or gods.

          February 1, 2014 at 10:38 am |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        Let's draw a Venn diagram, Vic. We'll draw it in the real plane. Theists can have a circle of any finite size and its interior. Atheists are excluded. They get everywhere that doesn't belong to theists. Fair enough?

        January 31, 2014 at 10:52 pm |
        • Vic

          It's not a territorial matter, rather, it is active vs. passive logical opposite must.

          January 31, 2014 at 11:13 pm |
      • Piccolo

        :lol: What? I swear people just make stuff up. An atheist is forced to be passive or it's a religion? :lol:

        Too funny. I don't know if you are aware of this but theism is not a religion either, it's one belief. Same holds true for atheism except it's lack of one belief. Atheists can believe all different kinds of belief systems. Stop pigeon holing them to one system called atheism, when it's not even a system.

        February 1, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
  8. Dyslexic doG

    When did I realize I was God?

    Well, I was praying and I suddenly realized that I was talking to myself ...

    January 31, 2014 at 9:05 pm |
    • But

      When did I realize I was a religion hating atheist troll? When I turned 15 and started posted under this funny monicker I found on looneyatheisttheories.com. And then I decided I was logical. And the most logical thing a person can do is not master a science or contribute to technological advances. Heck, no. The logical thing to do is copy and paste the same thing every single day. You know, just go full troll on everyone.

      January 31, 2014 at 9:09 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        Why do you think it is "loony" to not believe in something for which there is no evidence? Earlier when you were posting under a different name didn't you see the Vishnu and Russell's teapot comments – same applies to them.

        January 31, 2014 at 9:37 pm |
        • But

          It is not looney to be an atheist.

          It is looney to be a religion hating atheists who spends an absurd amount of time on religious message boards insisting you are being reasonable and intelligent.

          January 31, 2014 at 9:43 pm |
        • Santa Claus

          You are a liar you have departed from the faith you do not really trust me you fool only yourself, your will never ever get any more presents and I was kissing your mama.

          January 31, 2014 at 9:45 pm |
        • In Russell's Teapot We Trust

          Just make up some absurd idea and try to insist that is exactly what belief in God is like. Don't worry if it is a logical fallacy. We are internet atheists, not logical atheists.

          January 31, 2014 at 9:48 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          What looney atheist theories are you referring to?
          You do know that the US constitution guarantees the freedom of speech? Why do you want to suppress that? There are plenty of theists on here who claim that the bible is literally true. There are theists trying to push their religion into society at large.

          January 31, 2014 at 9:51 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Potty, How is it a logical fallacy? How does it differ from your claims of a god?

          January 31, 2014 at 9:52 pm |
        • But

          I don't want to suppress your right to free speech. You can be as looney as you want, Santa Man. Post on here every day and just look for Christian and other believers and poke fun at them because they can't prove God to YOU. And pretend like YOU know everything there is to know about God and life. Do this every day for the rest of your life. Religiously.

          January 31, 2014 at 9:56 pm |
        • In Pink Unicorns we trust


          January 31, 2014 at 9:57 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          What looney atheist theories are you referring to?

          January 31, 2014 at 9:58 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          pinky, At least you're making progress. From a god to a pink unicorn. You have as much evidence of either.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:03 pm |
        • But

          How about the idea that believing in God is just like believing in Santa Claus?

          Or how about TruthPrevails idea that she is open-minded because she is an atheist. And I am a closed-minded idiot who supports slavery, child abuse and racism?

          January 31, 2014 at 10:05 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Believing in santa is nothing like believing in a god. However, there is the same amount of evidence for both. In both cases, in the real world, with real data, god and santa are both invisible, undetectable, and irrelevant. As adults, we should treat santa and god exactly as they appear: inivisible, undetectable, and irrelevant.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:10 pm |
        • But

          Why should we treat God like that? Just because a few very vocal atheists really don't believe it?

          There are good reasons to believe in God. It is not like atheism is the logical and rational belief system. No atheist has ever proven he is completely logical and rational. In fact most atheist leaders have failed to live up to their own standards. Like Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:14 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          You put that in your reply to DD. Neither TP nor myself had participated. So what looney atheist theories are you referring to?
          There is as much evidence for god as there is for Russell's teapot as there is for Santa as there is for pink unicorns etc.
          Of course if you have objective evidence of a god, that's a game-changer.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:16 pm |
        • Damocles

          What are some good reasons for believing in a deity?

          January 31, 2014 at 10:20 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          I already explained it to you. Do try to keep up. When something appears to be invisible, undetectable, and irrelevant, intelligent people treat it exactly that way--invisible, undetectable, and irrelevant.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:22 pm |
        • But

          I don't care if you believe or not.

          But Russell's Teapot only supports your preconceived notion. It doesn't disprove God. You can claim my belief is just like believing in Santa. You can change your name to suggest that. You can dedicate a huge portion of your life to that belief.

          But it is kind of looney. Most intelligent atheists don't do such things. And they actually would be embarrassed to be associated with someone like you.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:23 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Apparently you do care. If you have evidence of your god, do share it.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:27 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          I did ask "Why do you think it is "loony" to not believe in something for which there is no evidence?" which you've never answered, nor have you clarified what you think is a loony atheist theory.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:29 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious


          The question is why do you care at all? Just stay on these boards and act like the people you mock. Why not?

          January 31, 2014 at 10:29 pm |
        • But

          Basically, you guys are just saying I can't prove God to you. And YOU alone. Big deal.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:40 pm |
        • Fact

          Here you have the atheistic religion in a nutshell: superhuman agency, devotion, self-selecting groups of people. Add to that the intense—even religious—zeal with which many atheists defend their claims.

          Let me tell you: The angriest ones can be as malicious as a coven of Westboro Baptists at a veteran’s funeral.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:43 pm |
        • Damocles


          Depending on the attributes you ascribe to a particular deity, it is a big deal.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:44 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Nope. But if you can seriously tell those lies to yourself as some pitiful excuse to not face reality, then, as for any believer of any god, any excuse will do. Any excuse will do.

          Boring trolls are boring.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:45 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          I just thought that as you were so sure, you'd have convincing evidence. Oh well we'll wait to see what handle you use tomorrow to make the same comments.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:46 pm |
        • Observer


          Atheism is the belief that there are no gods. Period. End of discussion. If you are going to fantasize that anything more can be said about all atheists, then you need to get a new handle..

          January 31, 2014 at 10:48 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Fact, As this only describes a small percent of atheists and involves other beliefs you need to give it another name or it's just like referring to Westbrook Baptists as "Christians". The group I think of I call "materialist fundamentalists" but you may mean something different.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:48 pm |
        • But

          I find the fact that a very small, but vocal group of atheists religiously post on belief and faith blogs very interesting.

          Probably only like .9000555555% of all atheists do such things. And they are big on imagining they are the reasonable ones and everyone has to prove something to them for it to exist.

          Most people call them looney. Even their own fellow atheists say that!

          January 31, 2014 at 10:49 pm |
        • Saraswati

          But, I don't know about other blogs, but here I find about 50% of atheist posters rational, 50% overly self-certain or fundamentalist. it's a much higher percentage of extremists than in the general population, but mostly you can I ignore both atheist and theist extremists when you choose.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:54 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          So nothing to support your position then? Or answers to previous questions?

          January 31, 2014 at 10:56 pm |
        • But

          Thank God not all atheists are like that.

          January 31, 2014 at 11:06 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Praise Thor!

          January 31, 2014 at 11:07 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          But; First off, lets review this...you started off attacking me for merely pointing out that Atheism is not a religion and then you start making absurd claims and trying to say it is when it quite apparently, based strictly on the definition of religion, is not.
          Second, I think most would agree that closing your mind to the obvious amounts of evidence that debunk the bible is closed-minded. I didn't say you support those things, I merely pointed out that those are things coming from the holy book you believe in and they are. Atheists do keep an open-mind and are more likely to change their opinions when it comes to things than christians are...we don't have a set of doctrine that we follow that can prevent us from looking outside the box.
          I don't care what god you believe in, I do care that while you choose to reside in a Secular Country that your belief is not used to influence laws of any form or step on the equal rights of every free citizen.

          February 1, 2014 at 5:04 am |
  9. Hal

    I think neo-atheist memes are informative.

    January 31, 2014 at 9:02 pm |
  10. Digital

    I agree with atheists on this one. This is pretty stupid. Why would God, the creator of the universe, care if the spoiled overpaid football players win the game? They get paid millions of dollars for...our entertainment? Someone that risks their own lives for the sake of others everyday of their lives deserves more prayers, thanks, and honor than NFL players. Stop abusing God to stroke your own ego and wants. God isn't a genie in a bottle.

    January 31, 2014 at 8:44 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      Oh the comedy on here tonight...this is cheap entertainment.

      January 31, 2014 at 8:57 pm |
      • Weeeee

        We are so much better than them. And when I say we, I mean, we atheists. We get such a kick out of religious nonsense that we subject ourselves to it all day long. And somehow we rationalize this into us being the logical ones. We aren't rocket scientists, that is for sure. No one is mistaking us for brain surgeons. We are better than that.

        January 31, 2014 at 9:04 pm |
        • Weeeee is the worst of all

          nuffin to say, angry cuz she cant but she knows shes rite

          January 31, 2014 at 9:33 pm |
  11. Ian

    Funny... only one single 'token' non Abrahamic religion.

    I'm sure there are pagans, atheist(atheism is a religion), heathens and scores of others.

    January 31, 2014 at 8:23 pm |
    • Ian is Fscking Stupid

      Bald is not a hair color. Not collecting stamps is not a hobby.

      January 31, 2014 at 8:30 pm |
      • Baldy

        I don't collect stamps. I'm going to spend all day long about not collecting stamps.

        January 31, 2014 at 8:47 pm |
        • Baldy is Fscking Stupid

          Not collecting stamps is not a hobby.

          January 31, 2014 at 9:31 pm |
        • Baldy

          I know! But why can't I stop thinking and talking about stamp collecting?

          January 31, 2014 at 9:34 pm |
        • Baldy is Fscking Stupid

          cos your stoopid

          January 31, 2014 at 9:40 pm |
        • Baldy

          I'm not stupid. I'm an atheist, that automatically makes me an open-minded intellectual with a degree in science.

          January 31, 2014 at 9:44 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Maybe you'd understand if 90% of the people around you thought collecting stamps was an essential hobby that every person should have and if 90% of the people around you wanted laws passed forcing people to collect stamps and not allowing non stamp collectors rights as citizens or to have children or participate in civic events.

          Do you get it now, or are you still too stupid to get it?

          January 31, 2014 at 10:13 pm |
        • Baldy

          But don't you live in one of the freest countries in the stamp collecting world? Isn't the fact that you are allowed to not collect stamps evidence that stamp collectors really aren't all that bad as you claim? I mean, if the stamp collectors really wanted to persecute the non stamp collectors, it would be easy. No problem. But they, for the most part, aren't like that. hu?

          January 31, 2014 at 10:20 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Seeing as how the stamp collectors only stopped deporting foreigners married to people with the wrong stamps last year, you can forgive me if I don't trust them yet.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:25 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          I didn't realize you were too stupid to understand simple English, Baldy. Do carry on making yourself into a humongous horse's azz.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:25 pm |
        • Baldy

          But non-stamp collectors are guilty of deporting foreigners married to people with the wrong stamps In fact we probably both descended from stamp-collectors that do that kind of thing..

          You being a non-stamp collector who doesn't deport foreigners married to people with the wrong stamps doesn't make you better than me being a stamp collector who doesn't deport foreigners married to people with the wrong stamps.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:32 pm |
        • Damocles

          I'm fine with stamp collectors in general. I'm not fine with those who concoct some sort of weird philatelic hell and tell me I'm going there. Nor would I be particularly keen with them insisting the universe was created by the one cent, upside down, diagonal, mint condition, George Washington stamp.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:32 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Yes, exactly like that, Baldy. Good job.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:34 pm |
        • Saraswati

          The problem is that collecting stamps has historically given people reasons to avoid scientific evidence and insti.tue policies they found convenient and could instead justify based on the nebulous and ambiguous symbology of the stamps. This has led, and is likely to continue to lead, to poor policy and bad science.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:42 pm |
        • Baldy

          But non-stamp collectors make up myths that stamp collectors are anti-science. Despite the fact that stamp collectors fully support science and have played a significant role in scientific advances.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:52 pm |
        • Damocles

          Many stamp collectors twist science at the very least.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:57 pm |
        • Saraswati

          While most stamp collectors support most science, most also have areas of stamp-tinted bias that they cannot see because of their stamp it's world view. this does not mean they are anti-science or even that they can engage in and contribute to science, but it does mean their objectivity is more often tainted than those who have not mixed science with the words of the stamps.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:58 pm |
      • Digital

        What happens if an atheist does collect stamps?

        January 31, 2014 at 8:49 pm |
        • Baldy

          He or she will spend all day long posting on coin collecting message boards bragging that stamp collectors are more logical and scientific.

          January 31, 2014 at 8:52 pm |
        • Damocles


          Actually, from what I've seen on here from time to time, that would be more like two believers who worship the great Hobby. They each have their ways, but insist the other is wrong.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:23 pm |
      • Observer

        Grow up.

        January 31, 2014 at 9:43 pm |
        • Digital

          Do you hate questions or something?

          January 31, 2014 at 10:06 pm |
        • Observer


          There's nothing wrong with questions. That's how people learn.

          My comment wasn't addressed to you but to the child who couldn't even come up with a handle that showed any respect for another person in a discussion.

          January 31, 2014 at 10:20 pm |
    • doobzz

      Funny, you didn't start out like a troll.

      January 31, 2014 at 8:31 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      No matter how many times people say it, it will never be true. Atheist is not a religion...there is no set of doctrine (ie; the bible) that goes with being an Atheist; we don't all have common ground (ie; the bible). The only thing we're sure to agree on is a lack of belief in god(s).


      : the belief in a god or in a group of gods-NOT DEFINITIVE OF ATHEISM

      : an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods-NOT DEFINITIVE OF ATHEISM

      : an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group-NOT DEFINITIVE OF ATHEISM

      January 31, 2014 at 8:52 pm |
      • But

        A lot of atheists treat atheism like a religion. You know, the ones that say "we" a lot.

        January 31, 2014 at 8:59 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          'We' is usually used as a generalized term. Does it hurt you somehow that Atheists use the word? It seems rather childish to pick on the use of a word!

          January 31, 2014 at 9:02 pm |
        • But

          Oh, you are a capital "A" atheist. You are an example of how atheism CAN be like a religion. It doesn't have to be. Until you start acting like it is one. Most intelligent atheists would NOT agree with your dogma.

          January 31, 2014 at 9:06 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          No idiot! You have no clue as to what you are talking about. It doesn't matter what spin you attempt to put on it to make it seem like it is a religion, you won't be right. I'm sorry you failed to comprehend the definition of the word Atheist and Religion.....do they not have dictionaries at the trailer parks library?

          January 31, 2014 at 9:13 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          What dogma would that be? The one where I merely state that I see no evidence for any god??? That's all that defined by being an Atheist...what I believe otherwise, you have no clue about and even then those beliefs don't equate to religion.
          Education is a wonderful thing...try it.

          January 31, 2014 at 9:15 pm |
        • But

          That is what is so funny about it. Even other atheists claim some atheists treat atheism like a religion. It is ok. You don't have to live this way anymore if you don't want to.


          January 31, 2014 at 9:15 pm |
        • But

          If I didn't know actual red blooded atheists that criticize atheists like you I wouldn't say anything. But the fact is many view your type of behavior as very similar to what religious people do. It is tough to tell you and religious fundies apart!

          January 31, 2014 at 9:18 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          I kind of enjoy the freedom of not living under a vindictive belief system It places more value on this world and is quite liberating...it means I have nothing to excuse hatred for LGBT or wishing to oppress women or supporting slavery and rape and child abuse-can't pa</b.ss the buck because the buck doesn't exist.
          You should try our side and open your mind...it's very liberating.

          January 31, 2014 at 9:20 pm |
        • Digital

          Doesn't make you a more "moral person". It means you just join the bandwagon because "everyone is doing it". Gays and lesbians aren't the one people on this planet. Something they tend to forget.

          January 31, 2014 at 9:24 pm |
        • But

          I don't have hatred for any of those groups. Only an atheist with a religious like mindset would try to stereotype me as someone who would support hatred of LGBT, oprression of women, slavery, r-a-pe, or child abuse.
          And being an atheist doesn't mean you have an open mind, nor does it mean you are against those inhumane examples you gave. There are plenty of women hating, slave owning, child abusing atheists.
          Atheist just means you don't believe in God.

          January 31, 2014 at 9:25 pm |
  12. truthprevails1

    Supernatural twist? Gee, both teams are from the only two states to have legalized pot...'supernatural' might just be the effect on the brain due to the high.
    Best part of Sunday is the half time show and the commercial's.

    January 31, 2014 at 7:52 pm |
  13. MadeFromDirt

    I agree with the atheists on one thing – praying to Mary is a waste of time. She's not here, and she can't hear you.

    And it is highly arrogant of any human to think that God or any soul in Heaven cares at all about sports results on earth. They all have much grander pursuits before them, in matters that will not pass away with this current age. So should we all.
    But having said that, still it is possible to glorify God through earthly games. Examine the fruits of the time spent in such activity and entertainment: Does it draw you closer to God and your brothers and sisters; or does it distract you and detract from your Creator, and lead you down a world-centered path that tries to elevate man?

    January 31, 2014 at 7:26 pm |
    • Here's something

      Define prayer

      January 31, 2014 at 7:39 pm |
      • Damocles

        Postponed disappointment.

        January 31, 2014 at 10:25 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      Surrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeee and yet your god is too busy that it doesn't gives a rats hiny about all the innocent starving children.
      Ignorance is bliss...isn't it?

      January 31, 2014 at 7:47 pm |
      • siggis94

        Its because he doesn't, why bother. The human race is so ignorant, pathetic, hateful and judging. If I was God, I wouldn't even bother saving people who can't help themselves or others. People die because they took the risk or death. The only way to avoid death is to avoid life. Life is full of risks. Its not God's fault that your parents chose to bring you into such a terrible world.

        January 31, 2014 at 8:52 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          Hahahaha...that was funny. So by making such a statement you prove that your god is not so loving and caring as you all claim.
          Keep it up, you only damage your belief system, what a wonderful day it will be when no-one worships your god...why worship such a vindictive monster? Read your bible, you might understand.

          January 31, 2014 at 8:55 pm |
        • lngtrmthnkr

          94.some of what you say is true, there are alot of those kind of people, on the otherhand there are also alot of good people who do the right thing and treat others good. You have a bad view of society and you sound kinda depressed. I hope things brighten up for you a bit in the future.

          January 31, 2014 at 9:51 pm |
    • nepawoods

      "I agree with the atheists on one thing – praying to Mary is a waste of time. She's not here, and she can't hear you."

      What about all the many other deities that atheists don't believe exist? Don't you agree with atheists about most of those too?

      January 31, 2014 at 7:58 pm |
    • Prayer Makes You Fat

      Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
      Prayer has been shown to have no discernible effect towards what was prayed for.
      Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just go to http://santorum.com to find out more.
      Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
      Prayer makes you fat, pale, weak, and sedentary.
      Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
      Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
      Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
      Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
      Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
      Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
      Prayer makes you think doilies are exciting.
      Prayer makes you secretively flatulent and embarrassed about it.
      Prayer makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
      Prayer gives you knobbly knees.
      Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just google him to find out.
      Prayer dulls your senses.
      Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
      Prayer makes you hoard cats.
      Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
      Prayer wastes time.

      January 31, 2014 at 8:33 pm |
      • cough

        You forgot about it leading to clogged drains, coat stains and soil erosion.

        January 31, 2014 at 8:42 pm |
      • But

        ~Prayer is not an old woman's idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action.~
        Mahatma Gandhi

        January 31, 2014 at 8:54 pm |
      • siggis94

        Trolling spam troll. Really? Even have the nerve to say s**t. Keep you hatred to yourself.

        January 31, 2014 at 8:54 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          Don't like it don't read it but don't be ignorant of free speech.
          I get that reality bites but this is the 21st century, it's time to leave your 1st century fairy tales behind or find a cave and live that life while the rest of us save your world.

          January 31, 2014 at 9:06 pm |
      • Santa Claus

        You big fat liar I don't pray people pray to me.

        January 31, 2014 at 9:47 pm |
      • lngtrmthnkr

        Prayer, ya but some times people need supernatural help,and prayer is where you can get it.

        January 31, 2014 at 9:53 pm |
      • doobzz

        I agree that prayer is far secondary to action, but this reminds me of the troll who listed atheistic attributes such as:

        "Atheist live goth lifestyle and no hope of life all drugs."

        I mean, at least make it funny if you're going to write something like this so both sides can laugh at themselves and move on.

        January 31, 2014 at 10:36 pm |
  14. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Superstition occurs in people who can't quite accept that simply wanting and wishing for something to happen can't influence whether it happens. Curses are interesting, though. If you are unable by some sacrifices to please God, God may turn on you and hurt you through your favorite sports team.

    January 31, 2014 at 7:24 pm |
  15. doobzz

    "Everything that happens in this world is by his divine will or permission, and that includes fumbles and interceptions,” he said, “but it’s not as if God intervenes to deflect a pass in the end zone.”

    Hey! What happened to my free will?

    January 31, 2014 at 7:10 pm |
    • bostontola

      Fumbles are determined but no tip passes in the end zone? Why draw the line there. Mr. Craig is incoherent.

      January 31, 2014 at 7:15 pm |
      • doobzz

        What about a safety?

        January 31, 2014 at 8:33 pm |
  16. Tyler Swift

    (Now would be a good time to mention that while CNN has many sources in high places, the last time we checked, God is not one of our Facebook followers.)

    Well, that was very presumptuous of you!

    That's because, God does not need you, you need God.

    January 31, 2014 at 7:09 pm |
    • Patriots

      That was a very modest statement made by CNN, right there! How very bashful of them!

      January 31, 2014 at 7:17 pm |
  17. Sam Yaza

    i for one am boycotting all sports until Muff Diving is a recognized Olympic sport

    i have one gold in DT and two silver in C

    January 31, 2014 at 6:53 pm |
    • bostontola

      Have you ever tried the Triple Lindy Muff Dive?

      January 31, 2014 at 7:03 pm |
    • If

      I'm surprised it isn't a sport. It has it's own pay channel and I've watched it before. It's more interesting than football.

      January 31, 2014 at 7:14 pm |
  18. bostontola

    Football fans tend to be more supernaturally inclined than baseball or basketball devotees, the PRRI poll found. That’s probably because football is most popular in the South and Midwest, the most religious parts of the country, Jones said.

    Supersti.tion comes from coincidences which come from small sample size. That is most apparent in football which has the least number of games of the major sports.

    Although, the geographic religious correlation is fun to speculate about.

    January 31, 2014 at 6:45 pm |
  19. Heads Up

    For any new posters who are unfamiliar with the Word Press automatic word filter here:

    Even though the article is about superst.itions, you will not be able to post if you don't break up the t.it part of that word (or use some html maneuvers on it).

    January 31, 2014 at 6:39 pm |
    • doobzz

      Because Save the Children! Or something like that. They might see the word tit and suddenly become sexually active. Or you might have to explain what it means to your child, which certainly is NOT a parent's job or anything.

      January 31, 2014 at 7:06 pm |
  20. Toby

    Are there any atheist sportsmen?

    January 31, 2014 at 5:57 pm |
    • Toodles

      Atheists don't shine in the field of entertainment and sports!

      January 31, 2014 at 5:58 pm |
      • Hector

        Trolling should never be this boring. Between you and Toby, massive fail.

        January 31, 2014 at 6:25 pm |
      • Patriots

        Very true, that's why they settle for a billboard down the street from the stadium.


        January 31, 2014 at 7:12 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      How does god choose between the teams?

      January 31, 2014 at 6:27 pm |
      • If

        The same way you do.

        January 31, 2014 at 7:00 pm |
        • doobzz

          God plays the percentages? Seems odd.

          January 31, 2014 at 7:08 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      Fernando Alonso: Formula One racer and Two-time World Champion [132]
      Lance Armstrong, (1971–): Road racing cyclist.[133]
      Phillip Jack Brooks (1978-): American professional wrestler known by his stage name as CM Punk, currently signed to WWE.
      Brian Clough, (1935–2004): Association football manager, of Hartlepool United, Derby County, Brighton & Hove Albion, Leeds United and Nottingham Forest. Said in his 1994 autobiography that he didn't believe in an afterlife or a god.[134]
      Fausto Coppi (1919–1960): Italian racing cyclist, nicknamed Il Campionissimo ("the greatest champion") one of the most successful and popular cyclists of all time.[135]
      Jim Cornette (1961–): American professional wrestling manager, commentator, promoter, and booker.[136]
      Johan Cruyff (1947): former Dutch footballer and manager for Ajax and Barcelona. He once quipped, “I don't believe in God, in Spain all 22 players cross themselves, if it works the game is always going to be a tie.”[137][138]
      Robin Dixon CBE (1935–): British Olympic gold medal bobsledder, army Major, businessman, British and Northern Irish politician, latterly a member of the House of Lords.[139]
      Jan Hein Donner (1927–1988): Dutch chess grandmaster and writer.[140]
      Jonathan Edwards (1966–): British triple jumper. Former Olympic, European and World champion. Holds the current world record in the event.[141]
      Hugh Falkus (1917–1996): British writer, film maker, World War II pilot, but best known as an angler, with seminal books on salmon and sea trout fishing.[142]
      David Feherty (1958–): Irish golfer, a former European Tour and PGA Tour professional who now works as a writer and broadcaster.[143]
      Olga Galchenko (1990–): Juggler.[144]
      Alex Honnold (1985–) American rock climber known for his incredibly long and difficult free solo climbs.[145]
      Bruce Lee (1940–1973): American born Chinese martial artist and actor.[146]
      Jason Miller (1980–): Popular American mixed martial arts fighter and host of MTV's Bully Beatdown. Is noted for stating "After my victory, I would like to thank science." [147]
      Frank Mir (1979–): American mixed martial artist and broadcaster, former two-time UFC Heavyweight Champion.[148]
      Diana Nyad (1949–): American world record long-distance swimmer, and the first person confirmed to swim from Cuba to Florida without the protection of a shark cage.[149]
      Sarah Outen MBE FRGS (1985–): English adventurer, the first and only woman and the youngest person to row solo across the Indian Ocean.[150]
      Aziz Shavershian (1989–2011): Australian bodybuilder and internet celebrity.[151]
      Nigel Short (1965–): English chess grandmaster.[152]
      Joe Simpson (1972–): British mountaineer, author and motivational speaker, famous for his book Touching the Void, subsequently filmed.[153][154]
      Robert Smith (1972–): former Minnesota Vikings running back and NFL Network football analyst.[155]
      Matthew Syed (1970–): English table tennis international, three times the Men's Singles Champion at the Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships and competing for Great Britain in two Olympic Games, now a Times journalist.[156]
      Savielly Tartakower (1887–1956): Polish and French chess Grandmaster, the king of chess journalism in the 1920s and 1930s.[157]
      Pat Tillman (1976–2004): Former NFL strong safety for the Arizona Cardinals and United States Army Ranger, killed by friendly fire in the mountains of Afghanistan.[158][159][160][161]
      Dana White (1969–) President of Ultimate Fighting Championship[162]
      Bob Woolmer (1948–2007): English international cricketer, professional cricket coach and commentator, playing in 19 Test matches and 6 One Day Internationals for England and later coaching South Africa, Warwickshire and Pakistan.

      January 31, 2014 at 6:48 pm |
      • G to the T

        "Robert Smith (1972–): former Minnesota Vikings running back and NFL Network football analyst.[155]"

        I had NO idea that Robert Smith played football before forming The Cure. Just goes to show...

        February 1, 2014 at 10:47 am |
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About this blog

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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.