November 9th, 2011
01:16 PM ET
'Tebowing' prayer stirs debate, but quarterback is OK with it
By Steve Almasy, CNN
(CNN) - Tim Tebow is used to being a lightning rod. While he was the quarterback at the University of Florida, he drew a lot of attention. And we mean a lot.
He won the Heisman Trophy (the only sophomore to ever win the award), and his team won two NCAA football titles. Plus, he was very public about his Christian faith. He wore Bible verses on his eye black. He invoked God frequently at news conferences.
No one doubted that Tebow was a great college quarterback and a good kid. But all the media attention made some people weary of the name. He's good, they said, but he's no messiah.
Being a great college quarterback doesn’t always translate into being a good pro quarterback and, let’s be honest, there are more than a few people taking great glee from the second-year player's recent struggles with the Denver Broncos.
And even some of Tebow's better moments on the field are sowing controversy. During an October 23 contest against the winless Miami Dolphins, the Broncos trailed until a last-minute touchdown and two-point conversion by Tebow tied the score. Denver won in overtime.
Afterward, Jared Kleinstein, a Denver-born Broncos fan who was watching the game from New York, noticed that Tebow had knelt in prayer, alone on the sidelines, while his teammates celebrated on the field.
Kleinstein decided to take a picture outside the New York bar where he had gathered with friends. Six of them knelt on their knees with their balled-up right fists to their faces, Tebow-style.
Kleinstein started a website, www.tebowing.com, defining Tebow as a verb: “To get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different.” His photo was the first one posted.
More photos came in from around the world. People Tebowed from the Philippines, the Vatican, Iraq, even in front of the Great Pyramid. They Tebowed at the airport, at the hospital, even at an "Occupy Chicago" protest. As of Tuesday, Kleinstein had posted more than 600 photos on his site.
Tebow, for his part, approves. “Love it,” he wrote on Twitter.
But did he love it when Detroit Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch sacked him in an October 30 game and proceeded to “Tebow?”
“He was celebrating and having fun with his teammates. I don’t take offense to that,” Tebow said during a session with the media last week.
Tebow, who has started three games for the 3-5 Broncos, does not shy away from criticism of his quarterbacking - or of his faith. The son of missionaries, he embraces his spotlight to draw attention to his Christianity. He and his mother appeared in a Focus on the Family anti-abortion ad that appeared during the Super Bowl in February.
That kind of faith-based boldness separates Tebow from other religious sports figures. His more public displays hearten supporters and enrage detractors.
Some commentators, like ESPN.com writer Jemele Hill, think making sport of Tebow's beliefs is offensive. She writes of Tulloch's Tebowing pose:
Former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy, a Christian, says there is some jealousy of Tebow among other NFL players. But he doubts the Lions were making fun of the quarterback, even though another player Tebowed after scoring a touchdown during the same game against Denver, a 45-10 rout.
“I don’t believe people are saying, 'I am going to mock his faith,'" Dungy said on his website, All Pro Dad.
Former NFL quarterback Phil Simms isn’t surprised that other players want a piece of a player who is new to the league and whom the media obsesses over.
“They want to see you [succeed] on the field first,” Simms said in a video on Sports Illustrated’s website.
Tebow acknowledges that some who have sent their pictures into the Tebowing website are making fun of him and some are mocking religion. But he told the Denver Post he prefers not to judge anyone. He told reporter Lindsay H. Jones:
What do you think? Are people being disrespectful of religion by Tebowing? Was Tebow asking for it?
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.
It's amazing to me how people can take shots at one of most decent human beings around. I don't know the guy personally but I've followed his career and only heard incredibly positive things about him. I'm not particularly religious but who cares if he is. He really believes it so when he praises God it's not just a talking point for him. I don't think he's going to last as an NFL QB but people really should stop hating on his personal life.
Tebow is just saying in a symbolic manner that he hates all the people the other mean and hateful Christians hate.
I'm a christian I love it and I believe it enrages those who don't know the Lord and I feel sorry for them. If he's sincere or fake God knows and he'll judge him not us mortals. God bless
I want to ask Tebow if he really thinks his God personally interferes with his football games and assists him in winning the games. If true why doesn't his God personally interfere and grow food for starving children all over the world, heal blind people and restore limbs in the same way he helps Tebow avoid defenders and throw touchdown passes.
God does intervene on behalf of people every day. Extreme poverty is down 50% in the last 20 years, even while the population explodes.
I have tremendous respect for a man willing to live with courage and conviction. There is nothing wrong with him giving thanks right then and there. I don't think he is being fake and it doesn't seem like he is even being preachy.
When a person prays it does not mean they are requesting for God to directly interfere with what ever they are doing. A person could pray for strength to carry on in a certain situation or perhaps simply pray to thank God for an accomplishment.
Tebow doesn't just do that stuff for the games. He also does a lot of missionary work that people never get to see. Tebow is the real deal when it comes to his beliefs.
Praying for strength is asking God to intervene isn't it? And what if he says no? You still have to get throught the sistuation don't you? What then?
@Christine "God does intervene on behalf of people every day. Extreme poverty is down 50% in the last 20 years, even while the population explodes."
And that means God did it? Really?
look, if the man is praying on the field then its a showing of arrogance that he thinks god cares....if he is just having fun letting people believe this crasy things about what he is realling doing, then its a showing of power over his fans – which is still arrogance in my mind...either way, WHO CARES? If you think its funny, then laugh, if you don't then don't – this there really a need for a cnn article over something this dumb? Personally, i think the whole thing is silly – the only thing that has come up because of this i find interesting is the planking thing – reminds me of the sit down protests people with backbones used to do! Time to move on peopel!
You can be pretty sure you created god in your image when it turns out he supports the same football team as you.
Colin, clearly god is a broncos fan, why are sunsets blue and orange? god favors the broncos, its his favorite team. Duh.
Getting together every Sunday and having your brain damaged by some of the thickest people in the country must be tough.
But enough about church, football is rough, too.
Why is this called "tebowing"? This player did not invent the position – it's been around for years. It's been in movies for years, for pete's sake. He picked it up from somewhere, and it just seems so ridiculous to be making such a big deal out of it. Let the man have his moment of peace in peace.
yeah, seriously. people act like this is something totally new. i guess the good thing is that it seems like it's taking over that ridiculous planking trend.
I am god. I am 13,700,000,000 million years old. I created the Universe and its billions of galaxies. Which of the following do you think is important to me?
(a) the millions of starving people all over the globe
(b) the regular wars and social conflicts on Earth
(c) Worldwide environmental degredation; or
(d) Tim Tebow's yardage and passing percentage?
My Grandpa grew up in east Germany and was about 12-13 years old when he and his family escaped the Nazi's rule (we're not Jewish btw). But he says that the way people talk about Christians in this country is starting to sound the same that the Nazis and their followers acted towards his Jewish friends. They were mocked, laughed at, scolded, and then people started turning really awful and of course it got a lot worse as we all know. He says it's scary to see it happening again. I sure hope people don't turn on Christians (or anyone else) and we have a repeat of that sick brutality.
I wouldn't mind shooting the evangelicals and fundamentalists, but other than that, I'm with ya, grannie.
your grandpa needs to get back on his meds.
Granny? I said my Grandpa.. I'm only 24. (LOL)
And I think being willing to shoot innocent children, women, and men simply because they hold to their beliefs is pretty sick.
And meds, really? My grandfather is a great man. You should hope that you could even be half as great as he is. He's a true survivor and has seen things that he still has nightmares about. His own oldest sister was murdered by Gestapo that went to her job and took off with nearly everyone there. When they found out she was dead the fled the area. But you know what? He says he doesn't hate those people. He says that's how it starts and never ends. Not that he likes them, but he said hatred eats you from the inside out and starts with your conscious first.
Relax, my young friend, I do not really intend taking a 12 guage to the religious right. That would be wro, wro, wrong.
"You should hope that you could even be half as great as he is."
Sorry, but I don't see people who believe in bronzed aged, mythical ideology which promotes murder, slavery, racism and discrimination as "great".
There's that persecution complex rearing its ugly head again. It's simply shocking that you would bring up that your own grandfather escaped the nazis before things got out of hand (you didn't mention why the nazi's came after your family though if you aren't jewish, are you gypsies? was your grandfather gay, handicapped?) and then proceed to compare modern day america to pre 1939 germany.
I'll give you a good jumping off point, our governement has not made ANY restriction on christians nor targeted christians or other minority groups to be harmed (not for the christians right lack of trying). If you really want to compare us to 1939 germany, then take a gander at what the christian right wants to do with this country. We have hermain cain joking (but not really) to put up an electric fence along the border to roast mexican immigrants, bachman not to be outdone, wants to be up two fences, createing squads to kick all the immigrants out and probably rough em up a little bit while they're at it. A woman wants to get an abortion? A man wants to get married to another man? Not on the christian rights watch! It's funny, the restrictions being pushed on this country are FROM christians and yet you have the nerve to say christians are under attack akin to pre1939 Germany? Wow.....just wow
This man has a right to express his faith in his own way. He isn't trying to force anyone else around him to do anything. So what is the problem? I kinda feel sorry for the people that think about nothing but themselves, this is the only GOD they know.
the problem is he is a terrible QB and shouldnt be glorified until he proves himself on the field which he hasnt.
Tim Tebow is being mocked because he is a sanctimonious dip and a surefire entrant into the NFL Hall of Mega-Hyped Failures. That's all. It's not a general statement about, let alone against, religion in general or Christianity in particular.
You know I find it ironic that people say Christians need to be "more tolerant" and yet those same people aren't tolerant of Christians. Who's the real hypocrite?
Another pathetic little Christian crybaby with a persecution complex.
My Grandpa grew up in East Germany and was about 12-13 years old when he and his family escaped the Nazi's rule (we're not Jewish btw). But he says that the way people talk about Christians in this country is starting to sound the same that the Nazis and their followers acted towards his Jewish friends. They were mocked, laughed at, scolded, and then people started turning really awful and of course it got a lot worse as we all know. He says it's scary to see it happening again.
marcia, no one cares about your grandpa....
Any group who uses god to support a point about behavior is suspect.
Uuuuh, players in the NFL (as well as many other sports, including basketball, baseball) have done many things, like prayer when they score a touchdown, or pointing to the sky in reference to whatever their "higher being" is.
I don't see the problem. It's those who even criticize Tim Tebows actions who need to open their minds.
Would you be so open minded if an athlete thanked "Thor" in a postgame interview?
STOP ALREADY i can't be leave this bothers people when you have alot of other CLOWNS making stupid gestures on the field
You know, I'm not a Christian. But there's a guy at my office that is and he's one of the nicest men I've ever met. And around the water cooler he's not the one spewing out venomous remarks about everyone else. He goes about his business and he works hard. I've learned that if I can trust anyone it's him. He even stood up for me once when a guy wouldn't take the hint that I wasn't interested in his advances. The guy couldn't take the hint but "Mark" told him he needed to move on and the guy did. I'd never date him because I don't want to be religious and I don't think he'd date someone like me, anyway (although he's a looker!) but he's a good guy to have around. He doesn't deserve to be called a lot of the junk people on here say about Christians.
Lots of us non-believers know lots of respectable, even admirable Christians, including on these boards.
You know, I'm not a Christian. But there's a guy at my office that is and he's one of the nicest men I've ever met. And around the water cooler he's not the one spewing out venomous remarks about everyone else. He goes about his business and he works hard. I've learned that if I can trust anyone it's him. He even stood up for me once when a guy wouldn't take the hint that I wasn't interested in his advances. The guy couldn't take the hint but "Mark" told him he needed to move on and the guy did. I'd never date him because I don't want to be religious and I don't think he'd date someone like me, anyway (although he's a looker!) but he's a good guy to have around. He doesn't deserve to be called a lot o ft
Jen, lose a few dozen pounds and then maybe we'll coagulate.
If you want to praise a higher being, no matter whom it is, do it on your own time. don't use your status as a public figure to "let your religious beliefs be known." Not everyone watching football is a christian. Open your minds people.
Lauren, you obviously know nothing about Tim Tebow. He isnt using his public status to make his beliefs known...everyone already knows his beliefs from his UF days. Sit down, shut up, and stop posting on things you know nothing about.
You are suffering from the Three B Syndrome, i.e. Bred, Born and Brainwashed in your religion specifically Christianity.
Some added details:
“John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident (the randomness) of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam.
The Situation Today
Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed. “ J. Somerville
It is very disturbing that religious narrow- mindedness, intolerance, violence and hatred continues unabated due to randomness of birth. Maybe, just maybe if this fact would be published on the first page of every newspaper every day, that we would finally realize the significant stupidity of all religions.
Although I may agree with your premis that religion is disticntly cultural, Christianity is more of a personal relationship than a religion. You might want to ask yourself who is really the brainwashed one.
Yes, my religion was random, I was brought up in my faith. But, as adolescent and adult (into m 40's) I tried on many faiths and non-belief. But, the gift was returned me in my early 50's that I found my way home to the Catholic Church. I attribute it to the prayers of my mother and deceased father. I seen and felt the proof of God. I have seen my faith challenged and my religion battered and God continues to lead to His altar. My response to non-believers is to pray for them, "for they know not what they do"
@tjboyo Typical arrogance of Christians to claim that their faith, which involves adherence to some of the most rigid and downright goofy doctrines, is "more of a relationship than a religion", as though people of other religions don't have what they too take to be personal relationships to their deities.
Your comment makes you sound a bit narrow-minded, intolerant, and a little hateful. Are you a Christian? Each to his own...
"I seen and felt the proof of God."
what exactly have you seen and felt that gives you PROOF that god exists? please explain.
You said " The Situation Today–Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. "
You are correct that it is rare to convert! I agree with that. You may also say that for most people, to convert would be a narrow way of thinking. I know of someone who said the same thing a long time ago when he was speaking on the mount. Jesus Christ said, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Matt 7:13-14 (KJV) THose who find the narrow gate are definitely in the minority.
You said, "It is very disturbing that religious narrow- mindedness-that we would finally realize the significant stupidity of all religions."
I agree- religion is leading people down the path of stupidity and destruction!. Then again, this was spoke about in Isaiah, 700 years before Jesus was born, and then by Jesus Christ Himself in the Gospel of Mark saying, "Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. (Mark 7: 6-9)
Religion is the reason there is a wide path to destruction- or to be blunt- wide path to HELL. Only those who choose, of there own free will, the narrow path- a RELATIONSHIP with Jesus Christ and TRUST HIm with their life will find eternal life with Him in Heaven. You sound like an intelligent individual. I speak and preach to intelligent people all the time- but what it boils down to is that most intelligent people are going to miss Heaven by 18"! The distance between your head and your heart. They have a head knowledge but never find and Trust the Savior who can change their heart! You can call me what you will but I know, as well as my family that loves me, that when I die- They know I am 100% positive that I am going to be in Heaven! Jesus Christ Himsself has promised me that when I converted from being a Catholic to be being "born again" a follower of Jesus Christ. He is the ONLY hope for anyone who is willing to turn from their "religion" and embrace the Savior that everyone desperately needs.
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6 (KJV)
I am blessed to be in the minority! I pray that you would look for a Savior and join me.
Mark 7:8-9 (KJV)
Matt 7: 13-14, Mark 6: 6-9 and John 14:6 have been thoroughly analyzed by many contemporary NT scholars. And many of these scholars have concluded that said passages were not said by the historic Jesus.
e.g. Professor Gerd Ludemann in his book Jesus After 2000 Years and Professor JD Crossan in his book, The Historic Jesus.
JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself."
Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694
Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.
Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Most contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.
Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!
So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher/magic man would do or say?
I see you are in the majority. It's a pity that so many choose their own demise! Theres always the hope that you and the majority will someday come to realize you are wrong and accept Jesus Christ's sacrifice for you. I know you want to wait until tomorrow to swallow your pride but, what is tomorrow never comes? I read its pretty hot in Hell- everlasting torment and fire doesnt sound very nice but if thats what you choose, so be it- no blood on my hands- you heard the Gospel and ignored it. You've heard a Saviors words and rebuked them. Pity....
A prayer for John and all the other bible thu-mpers out there:
The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)
Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????
I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)
Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,
He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.
I follow Christ because of who He is and what He's done for me. I don't force no one to believe like I do. I will tell anyone I know about His goodness if they ask me. And I will pray without shame or fear of others hating on me. He's a great God and worthy to be praised!
please explain why its "great" that god can advocate slavery, bea ting of women, kil...ling of children, the persecution of ho..mose..xuals and so on.. I dont call that great, I call that wrong.
God never advocated those things. Those things are in the Bible because of what occurred in Biblical times. a lot of things are written the way they are because of the cultural and historical context. Every single person in the Bible is far from perfect, except for Jesus Christ. Thus, people in the Bible did bad things. The point is to learn from their stories. God is truly great, but His existence does not mean an absence of evil, since people are given the freedom to choose their actions.
L: According to believers, the bible was written under the influence of god. Here are some quotes from your bible that the lord said:
"You Ethiopians will also be slau...ghtered by my sword," says the LORD. And the LORD will strike the lands of the north with his fist. He will destroy Assyria and make its great capital, Nineveh, a desolate wasteland, parched like a desert. The city that once was so proud will become a pasture for sheep and cattle. All sorts of wild animals will settle there. Owls of many kinds will live among the ruins of its palaces, hooting from the gaping windows. Rubble will block all the doorways, and the cedar paneling will lie open to the wind and weather. This is the fate of that boisterous city, once so secure. "In all the world there is no city as great as I," it boasted. But now, look how it has become an utter ruin, a place where animals live! Everyone passing that way will laugh in derision or shake a defiant fist. (Zephaniah 2:12-15)
"Go up, my warriors, against the land of Merathaim and against the people of Pekod. Yes, march against Babylon, the land of rebels, a land that I will judge! Pursue, ki...ll, and completely des..troy them, as I have commanded you," says the LORD. "Let the battle cry be heard in the land, a shout of great destruction". (Jeremiah 50:21-22)
"They attacked Midian just as the LORD had commanded Moses, and they ki..lled all the men" (Numbers 31: 7-18)
" As you approach a town to attack it, first offer its people terms for peace. If they accept your terms and open the gates to you, then all the people inside will serve you in forced labor. But if they refuse to make peace and prepare to fight, you must attack the town. When the LORD your God hands it over to you, k..ill every man in the town. But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder. You may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you." (Deuteronomy 20:10-14)
So which is it? Is the bible the word of god or just embellished stories used to brainwash people? I agree with you that the bible is full of stories from biblical times, however, if the writers were influenced by god as most christians insist, then these are not only the words of man but the words of the christian god.
I think it's great that this man is willing stand up for what he believes in no matter what others might say.
If more of us were as bold for God as Tebow our country would have more people with hope and faith. God says do everything in prayer. He is a great role model for a man that has kept his faith strong. People want to see him fail because most don't have the courage to stand alone like Tebow for their belief. The attention is awesome Praise the Lord.
I do as well, even if i dont believe in that crap, its stil nice to see someone stand up for what they believe. But he is still a terrible QB.