Religion in sports
May 25th, 2010
10:54 AM ET

When did God become a sports fan?

Baseball players point to the heavens after hitting home runs; NFL players pray in the end zone after scoring. Competitors routinely thank Jesus, along with their sponsors, in post-game interviews. Thanking God from the winner's circle has become so common that one British newspaper published a letter to the editor entitled: "Leave me out of your petty games - Love, God." The letter raised a question: Does God care who wins on game day? And, if so, do losers somehow have less faith?

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- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Culture & Science • Faith • Sports

soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. yhkqhwhbihl

    7cNwbL paiaszwneeax

    January 28, 2012 at 10:18 am |
  2. eklxtmpnhtx

    a0RFrX hyxbiswleyri

    January 26, 2012 at 11:01 am |
  3. Clarinda

    Deep thought! Thanks for cnoritbuting.

    January 25, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  4. Cyrus Howell

    Yesterday I talked to God on the Telephone.
    I asked him, " Lord do you like the LA Lakers by -5 1/2 points over the Boston Celtics tonight?"
    God said, " Bill I was just about to ask you that same question."

    June 4, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
  5. monika

    How dare you queston there faith and they Giving Thanks first to On High and then down the line as appropriate the ads, the sponsors, the hype. I say in "all things, give Thanks".

    June 1, 2010 at 10:07 pm |
  6. Otero29

    Exactly like a few ppl said its not tht God bacame a sports fan but the Sports players became God fans and know tht GOD has blessed them beyond measure and thts wht grateful not boastful good sportsmen realize!! Its not by these mens might but by the might and strength God has GIVEN them. Keep doing wht you good men are doing dont let arrogant idiodic ppl let u thnk diffrent.

    June 1, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  7. Chris Becks

    First let me answer the question that so many fail to answer; I don't think God is necessarily a sports fans, but he cares about the person playing the sports otherwise he wouldn't have given them the talents that they have to play the games. Even in Biblical times there were games which are now known as the olympics. Second, it is funny that everyone wants to acttack Christians for their beliefs simply because they don't agree with theres. Some atheist act like we have to listen to their idea of freedom of speech while we forget that we have voices as well, get real. Funny that no wants to challenge any other religion or faiths, must be scared....cowards! No one can force Christianity on someone that doesn't want it and no one can force a Christian to give up their faith so stop trying. I will issue a public and personal challenge to any atheist out or any that wants to question or know if my God is real; you pray or do whatever it is to whomever you feel like and you ask them to do anything, anything at all. I'll pray to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for something as well, but ultimately that he show you exactly who he is since many of you have trouble believing in his exsistance. Any Takers?????? Come up with something that you think we can agree on praying for or in your case some that you may want or whatever.

    May 31, 2010 at 1:08 am |
    • voyn

      I've read and re-read your post a few times now, and I really don't think that I get what you're trying to say. Are you challenging atheists to a "Prayer-Off", and then wait for whatever it is you're asking for to show up? If so.... You really just don't get it. Atheists don't pray. It's pretty simple. So, challenge a non-prayerful person to a prayer-off, and you're pretty sure to win. Good job. Reminds me of when my sister used to challenge me to simple contests with rules which were specifically designed to ensure that she won.

      Anyways, I'll take your challenge, if we can agree that it's this: We both decide on a goal that we each believe is realistic, and then we each go about our own means of achieving that goal, and then see whose goal is accomplished first.

      For instance, I've always wanted to learn to play guitar, but have never really gotten around to it. I'm pretty sure that's a realistic, yet not too easily achieved goal. I've seen guitars played before, so I know it can be done, but I also know that it takes a lot of practice and dedication. Your goal can be to pray for Jesus Christ to appear to me and show me who he really is, since I think that's pretty much what you stated in your post.

      I'll start practicing now (or not... I'm a horrible procrastinator), and you start praying now. We'll see whose goal is achieved first. If Jesus appears to me and fills me with Holy Spirit or whatever, before I can learn to play the guitar, I'll buy you the sandwich of your choosing.

      On your mark.... GO!

      June 2, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
  8. sycamoredave

    Fortunately, the USA is a country where people of varied beliefs can live, work, and practice the religion (or lack thereof) of their choice. Separation of church and state are one of the priceless gifts that the founding fathers inserted, given the history of mankind hijacking belief systems for political gain. Atheism is simply another belief system, who's believers are just as adamant as any other belief system. It is entirely hypocritical of Atheists to rail against the rights of those to believe what they want. Bringing up what happened decades or centuries ago is a bit pointless, when the real issue here is the nature of mankind's cruelty to each other. As far as I am concerned, when atheists come up with a way to honor the laws of the land and to respect the rest of mankind, I will be happy to hear their points of discussion. Until then, they will always come off as spoiled whiners without real world solutions. Say what you will , but the problems here are not about faith, but our lack of understanding of what that particular faith really means.

    May 30, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
    • voyn

      "when atheists come up with a way to honor the laws of the land and to respect the rest of mankind"

      Ahhh yes, because that is something that religious folk are doing today, en masse? No, I didn't think so. It's all "in the book" to play nice and be groovy, but it seems to not quite get put into practice. On the subject, sort of, there's a lot of SCARY SCARY stuff "in the book", too. I'm not sure what's in the Talmud, but the Bible and Qu'Ran have some really awful stuff going on, to innocents or otherwise decent people. Any religion that endorses this, or anyone who endorses these things... Well, I'd really prefer it if you'd stay far far away from me.

      Anyways, back to the original subject: The one thing I needed from Religion was the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. When they started throwing in the eternal damnation and the persecution of non-believers, I walked away. If everyone on the planet followed the Golden Rule, we would have heaven on earth, no need to wait for an afterlife that may or may not be there. I do my best to hold to that ideal on my own, but there's so much crap going on in the world, mainly because of TRUE BELIEVERS, that it's really a losing battle. Sure, you can point to an endless stream of charities and good deeds performed by the religious, but there's at least as many things on the other side of the scale. It's just frustrating.

      I also fully maintain that people have the RIGHT to believe whatever they want to, but it's just sad that people cling to these bronze age fairytales. People have the RIGHT to inflict all sorts of horrible things on themselves, but it doesn't mean I have to support it. Humanity needs to shrug off its addiction to religion and grow up. Santa Claus? Not real. We got over it. Easter Bunny? Same story. This Jesus Christ fella? Yep. Had some good stuff to say, but it's really time to move on.

      June 2, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  9. Toenail

    Scott hit the nail on the head. Religion has no place in sports. You can have it in church and at home but please, don't shove it down people's throats. Religion is really how you treat your fellow human beings and using that as the criteria, the vast majority fail.

    May 30, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
  10. Mark8000

    My high school son plays football (he's a defensive end) and he's an avowed athiest. (I constantly find myself having to point out to him that not all Christian athletes are self-promotional windbags like Tim Tebow. Albert Pujols, for example, actually lives his faith and is involved in a number of Christian charities). Anyway, frequently after games, a coach or somebody wants to have a prayer circle, and my son takes knee and bows his head and pretends to pray along with the rest of the players. It doesn't make him a wienie or a hypocrit. It just makes him a polite and respectful young man. (I'm very proud of him when he does that). He understands that many Christians are terribly insecure about their religion and they need constant re-assurance that people they associate with are just like they are.

    May 30, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
  11. de mushdoctor

    Religion is the root of all that's evil, vile and totally destructive. It's all fairytale and disgusting manmade fables, trying to control the weak minded masses. And to promote white supremacy by forcing black people to accept the lie, that God in a white man hiding out in the clouds. Meaning white people are "God's chosen." Nothing but Pure mind blowing maddness!!!

    May 30, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
  12. TBera

    Be it prayer to a higher power, a Wiccan ritual, an affirmation, or kneeling towards Mecca, all these acts of faith are simply a way of releasing inner power. We really have to get away from the "God out there" notion of spirituality. He/She is "in here" and in us all collectively. How do you think God answers prayer–because you prayed it! The God/dess within you heard the prayer. That is all that was needed and it doesn't matter what it is for. You are the fan...

    May 30, 2010 at 12:54 pm |
    • Rob

      TBera, I do agree with all that you are saying here how ever I think you are missing the point of the article. The article is pointing out that more and more Xtian's are using religion to show case their "faith" or "having a closer relationship to God/dess" than others. The question when does your inner faith become something that is necessary to display? Also, would our God/dess ever really care if a person wins or loses in a match does our deity care more for one player over another? I believe in channeling inner energy and power inward and outward for any reason. I don't think that the great and powerful being cares and many athletes seem to be thinking it makes a difference in the game if you preach?

      May 30, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
  13. Jim Bob

    God became a Sports Fan soon after He became a war mascot.

    May 30, 2010 at 8:14 am |
  14. Cleareye

    The Christian bible can be interpreted any way you like. A priest can find a reason to molest as child, and a person deriving pleasure from beating another person into submission can also find justification. It's the perfect scam!

    May 30, 2010 at 7:40 am |
  15. Margaret S

    If you ask an "athiest" you will probably find that the majority of them were raised in a christian environment, but for one reason or another something happened and they became angry at God. It's easier for them to say there is no God than to have to deal with their problem.

    May 30, 2010 at 7:06 am |
    • ckaybee

      Not every atheist raised in a christian home got mad at god and became an atheist. I personally never believed that such a being existed because I could not, even as a chld, reconcile the existence of a benevolent god that would burn people in hell. All of the lame stories about walking on water, the trinity, etc. None of this stuff should make sense to an intelligent person. The most troubling thing about YOUR god, whether she is Muslim, Christian, Jew, or any other cult is that that god, as grand as she is, a petty, vindictive, vengeful, jealous being who hates anyone who is not a member of her cult. It is like a man being angry at one ant; it is painly silly.

      It is not about being angry, Atheism is about the absence of evidence supporting the existence of a certain thing. I see no evidence of the existence of trolls, unicorns, flying speghetti monsters, or your christian god, so I do not believe in the existence of any of these beings.

      May 31, 2010 at 1:37 am |
  16. stevie68a

    Someday, maybe a hundred years from now, people will marvel about how "they hung this voodoo doll (crucifix) on the wall for
    good luck". Then they will roar with laughter.
    Just because christianity has been around 2,000 years, does not make it true. People believed the earth was flat for perhaps
    millions of years, and we know how that worked out....

    May 30, 2010 at 6:09 am |
  17. stevie68a

    When Kathy Griffin won her Emmy award, she said "jesus had absolutely nothing to do with this", I thought "Great, some common sense"!
    christian people should at least consider that they are deluded, that jesus is a fictional character, and what good religion has
    to offer can be had without religion.
    How about an atheist for the Supreme Court?

    May 30, 2010 at 6:00 am |
  18. Dave

    When did doing anything associated with god become taboo?
    Why do liberals, progressives, and some democrats insist on telling folks what they can and can not do ot what they can't think or should think?

    May 30, 2010 at 5:35 am |
    • Mark8000

      Why don't Christians know the dieffernce between criticism and censorship?

      May 30, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
    • voyn

      It's not that anything religious is necessarily taboo. There's a lot of good stuff to learn from it, but there's also a lot of stuff that we as a (more or less) civilized species have simply outgrown. And I for one wish the rest of humanity would put away childish things and get on with living and growing.

      It's like having a friend who, for all other intents and purposes, is a fully grown, rational, intelligent person – yet who, once the subject is brought up, becomes a stark raving lunatic about the Fairies that live in their garden, or the magical power that is stored in crystals or something equally ridiculous. Nothing you can say will ever dissuade them, and any argument is met with hands slapped over their ears and scrunched up eyes. "Na na na na na! Not listening!!!". You, as a fully grown, rational, intelligent person, know good and well that there are no Fairies in the garden, or magic crystals, or whatever – but it is fully lost on your friend. You kind of just wish that they would grow up. Frustrating and tiresome. it's kind of like that, but infinitely sadder, because so many people die and/or live their lives in torment because of religion. Sure, lots of people find hope, solace, and strength in it, but does that really excuse the rest? And is it really so bad to find hope, solace and strength in yourself? It's there, if you look for it.

      There is so much in this life that is REAL, and it's just shameful that so much time gets wasted on this sort of thing. That's all. Feel free to believe whatever you want. But sheesh....

      June 2, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
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