December 29th, 2011
05:48 PM ET
Bill Maher takes on Tim Tebow and feels the wrath
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN)– On Christmas Eve the Denver Broncos were getting destroyed by the Buffalo Bills* on the football field and comedian, liberal commentator, and religious provocateur Bill Maher couldn't help but tweet about it.
People quickly responded to Maher on Twitter and called him (in summary) a hell bound atheist piece of trash. Maher's social media jab was picked up by the media too and landed in newspapers, websites and TVs everywhere. Pundits and twitter users called for a boycott of Maher's HBO show Real Time, and threatened to cancel their HBO subscriptions.
The timing could not have been better for Maher. The new season of his show begins next month and the week between Christmas and New Years is a veritable wasteland for actual news. In a world where no publicity is bad publicity, Maher scored big.
Maher has long skewered people of all faiths as part of his act. In 2008, Maher starred in "Religulous" a documentary that poked fun at any and all religions.
For all the fury aimed at Maher for the Tebow crack, the long time atheist received comparatively little heat for his Twitter dig at Jesus the next day on Christmas.
It was insulting Tim Tebow, not Jesus Christ, that drew the ire of a nation.
"[Tebow's] public image is built on goodness and virtue," Patton Dodd said. Dodd is the author of "The Tebow Mystique: The Faith and Fans of Football's Most Polarizing Player" and the managing editor of Patheos.com. "His particular expression of Christianity, or Christian witness, is built on acts of kindness to the poor and needy and to strangers. It's not just taking a knee on the field and thanking Jesus after the games. I think a lot of his fans know that."
Dodd said fans likely felt defensive towards Tebow, but acknowledged an athlete so public about their faith could not viewed as untouchable.
"I think the difference here is what Maher said was particularly crass and crude and I think it's seen as aimed more ... at Tebow's fan base than Tebow," he said.
For those who said Maher crossed an unspoken line with the tweet, comedian Pete Dominick said no way. "Our job is to push the envelope. There is no line for us. We don't have a line. You can make a joke about my kids getting cancer as long as it's funny. It has to be funny. That's the only rule, that it's funny. We're supposed to be controversial we're supposed to be provocative, that's what our job entails."
"He's begging to be made fun of," Dominick said.
Dominick, who is also the host of Stand Up! with Pete Dominick on the POTUS Chanel on SirusXM, said Tebow's outspokeness about his faith makes him a prime target for comedians. "He goes out on TV and talks about his faith, he puts it on his eye black. We're going to choose to make fun of it. Always."
"I think it's the wrong thing to get upset about. It's a tweet. It's a predictable tweet from a guy who says these kinds of things and who has an audience who love him for those kinds of things," Dodd said.
For his part Tebow has not commented on Maher's tweet, keeping true to his formula of not engaging critics. Dodd said part of what makes Tebow such a great athlete is his ability to block out the noise and focus on the game of football. Requests for comment from Maher were not responded to by his publicist but Maher tweeted on Wednesday night:
There Maher goes after Tebow in far more than in the 140 characters Twitter allows per post.
If Tebow and his Bronco teammates can win on Sunday they will make the playoffs.
*An earlier version of this story incorrectly had the Detroit Lions as the Broncos opponent. We regret the error and apologize to Bills fans everywhere. They have suffered enough this season.
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.
Tebow is a joke who believes in fairy tales.
Like "God" doesn't have better things to do than help a millionaire who plays football for a living win football games. Gawd I swear Christians are now scraping the barrel when it comes to looking for good examples.
I think we have heard enough about Teabone. If he wants to wear his faith on his sleeve – good for him, but do it in the bathroom.
Thats not exactly wearing it on your sleeve then is it.....
religion is like a penis.. its your right to have one. its nice that you are proud that you have one. but absolutely no one wants to see you out waving it around in public.
aarrgghh – LOL! I'm going to quote you on that!
@Johnson – Why don't we apply that to everything? If you want to support the "don't wear animal fur" position, do it in your private life. If you believe we should be eating the flesh of animals, keep quiet about it. If you want to be a vegetarian, don't tell anyone else. If you want to support/oppose abortion, never mention it to anyone. If you believe in democracy, keep it to yourself (definitely don't think less of another system or start a war over it). If you're in favor of Obama over Romney (or vice versa) don't talk about it, report about it, or in any way make it public – keep it private in the voting booth. If you think Mac is better that PC, you'd better not advertise it to anyone. Really if you believe or think anything, or have an opinion ... don't ever tell anyone any of those beliefs, thoughts, or opinions. Is that what you're saying? That sounds somewhat ridiculous for people that have the ability to think and believe and communicate, especially in the U.S. where those rights are at least somewhat protected. But hey, you have the right to believe in those restrictions I guess, though thankfully not to impose them.
Who is Bill Maher??
Only a genius. . .only. . . a genius.
Copy + Google+ paste + search,,,,
less people can answer who is J Tolbert, I assure you
Evil men will go from bad to worse.
See Newt Gingrich
indeed, look up Christianity, crusades, convert the heathens etc etc
Wow, consider me a new HBO subscriber.
And why would a Christian boycott of HBO have any effect on HBO at all? Last I checked there's not a whole lot of Christian-based programming on HBO (well unless you count Big Love...ha!).
Just read the tweet about the deities birth dates and it's hilarious that not a single divine figure he named had a confirmed recorded historical birth date. What a joke, making up facts to sway the masses. Insignificant loser.
You're being sarcastic. . .right?
Here you go, Hah. Read it and weep. The birth of your little saviour turns out be borrowed and as false as those listed by Maher.
Oh the irony! ROTFL.
@ Flakko, etc ...
It's really an irrelevant point to even discuss when was the birth of Jesus. No scriptural texts or sources ascribe a specific date to Jesus. It's just a date and that doesn't really matter. Tracking or recording the exact day of one’s birth has not always been a common thing … and indeed still today there are many cultures & people that don’t know their exact birthday. Especially among common people birthdays weren’t recorded … and Jesus was born a birth of commoners (as opposed to royalty I mean). So I have no problem with a date and it’s potential to coincide with somebody else’s. And the choice of a specific date was merely that – they wanted a specific date they could celebrate, which became important when cultures started celebrating birthdays more commonly.
PS – It’s never good to reference homemade looking websites – anybody can make a website and put whatever they want on it. It would have been better to go to that website and provide the sources they referenced. By the way, in case you’re tempted, Wikipedia is only good to appease your curiosity, not as a credible or scholarly source either.
It is not an insignificant date at all. GFW- you make it sound like they just picked a random date out of thin air, they picked this date because it coincides with the winter soltice which is when the pagan's had their big festival and they weren't willing to give it up. So instead Christians hijacked the holiday so that pagans would convert and not give up their winter celebration. More deciet and trickery from the wonderful "christians". Due to context clues in the bible (shepards tending their sheep in the field at night) it seems it was most likely spring.
I'm pretty sure Jesus would say something to the effect of 'turn the other cheek'. Yet so called Christians are calling for blood... For people who claim to believe in the bible, you guys don't spend much time reading it. I think I'm going to subscribe to HBO, as a sign of support for the freedom of speach.
The word you were looking for is "speech" Chris. Are you sure you can even afford HBO?
Typical, jumping to conclusions or exagerating the facts. Please show me where chrisitians are calling for "BLOOD" ??? I assume you mean they're wanting Maher dead for his comments ?? If thats not what you mean then please explain what you meant by "blood" ??
I just read where they were calling for boycotts and threatening to cancel their HBO subscriptions. I wouldnt consider that "BLOOD"
If you dont want to believe in God or a religion, thats fine, but I dont understand why the people that dont believe feel the need to criticize the people that do believe.
They haven't stated explicitely that they want blood but they do want him to suffer in one way or another. Xians mock atheists and agnostics all the time. This is no different, we have a right to point out the absurdity of any religion in this country.
The reason athiests care is because you're (christians) are trying to run EVERYONE'S life by your set of standards. If you want to believe yourself that is fine, however it is also troubling to non believers for it's sheer ridiculousness.....I mean if a friend came to you and was telling you about their deep belief in the tooth fairy, you would think that was pretty silly. Now don't forget, there is no changing their mind, they are adamant the tooth fairy is real and comes into children's bedroom's at night. Now imagine if a large group of people believed this and not only believed that themselves but went on tv to talk about it and try to convert others, are you telling me you wouldn't criticize those people?? Because I have a feeling at some point you would, and that is EXACTLY how athiests feel about christians talking about god.
It's "fury" not "furry" aimed at the T-bow crack, CNN. Please spell correctly. Thank you.
fury, not furry.
Maher is a jealous little worm. Just trying to get a rise out of people, like every other libtard.
Like you with your "LibTard" comment? Good Judging on your part, Very Christian.
a parrot says what?? you guessed it a parrot says "libtard" like they are being witty or something. YAWN
And he got exactly what he wanted.....He got a rise out of Christians/fans. Good job religous Americans! Thank you! Hahahaha
Open your eyes tard. You are using the computer and internet, something given to you by science.
HARDLY!!! Bill's tweet was spot-on. Tebow is a twit.
Christians are a hateful lot it seems.
This image puts it all in to perspective.....
God Bless You
hmmm, and your words are gracious?
Yeah we needed another condescending "Bless You". Using "Bless You" in the context you used it (an insult) is why people don't take evangelizing religious people like you seriuosly. You like to think your nicer than others but prove otherwise again and again. Now tell me "you'll pray for me" as your next insult to my beliefs.
Food for thought in regard to the discussion about Christians "forcing" their theology upon non-believers: it is a basic human response to want to help people that are headed toward a calamity, especially if those people are not aware they are heading there and they can be helped. If you think about it fundamentally perhaps the best argument for the existence of a God is the morality that is imprinted upon the hearts of all man in all civilizations throughout time. Christians are just responding to this benevolent humanitarian instinct when they try to evangelize unbelievers; they truly feel these people are heading for an eternity in hell and are trying to help them esape that fate.
Exactly..well put. All those in hell are wishing so badly that they took seriously those who tried to warn them, and hope with all their hearts that those on earth will listen to those who try to warn them.
The entire premise that humanity was born corrupt and must be 'covered in the blood of the Lamb' via god sacrificing himself to himself so he would not torture his human creations for eternity post-mortem because between 6 to 10,000 years ago a couple of people ate a piece of fruit because a talking snake suggested it to them...is absolutely bats**t looney-toons.
If you feel a sincere need to 'warn' non-believers that they'd better buy into your bronze age mythology or else the above, then do not expect to be taken seriously by those of us who live in reality. It's 2011, and it's time to grow up.
So it's alright to shove god down peoples throats but not the other way around huh? ( I didn't capitalize it on purpose) Should get me some replies...
Xians don't want to help others they want to control them. The more people that they can brainwash into believing as they do, the more at ease they feel about choosing to believe in their imaginary sky fairy.
It's referred to as the Great Commission. Following the Resurrection of Christ and before he ascended into heaven, he appeared to his disciples in Galilee and gave them these instructions:
Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (NIV)
I can agree that Christians might "think" they're helping. Proselytizing and trying to scare people about death (above and beyond natural fear of that unknown condition) are indispensable elements of the religious memes "genitalia". The idea that "morality" is stamped on the heart of people around the globe is much more simply explained by evolutionary psychology (you know, reciprocal altruism, nepotistic altruism, in-group/out-group loyalty, etc.) than trying to explain it by positing an infinitely complex solution, like a god.
I think your god dose not exist. So I really don't want you "careing" for me if "careing" for me is your sanctimonious self righteous belief that people who don't believe what you believe are some how lost and not a good as you and need to be converted to your beliefs because they are better off. I would never try to stop you from worshiping your god but you certainly feel the need to correct others beliefs which is rude and self important. I repeat I don't believe in your god and don't want you "helping me" to believe in something I think is a scam. I'm not going to hell to me it dose not exist. I'm not going to heaven I don't believe it exists. I want to spend my time on earth making it better for all not just the ones who believe like me.
Once again I don't believe in your religion so your insulting "you'll be upset you didn't listen when your in hell" is just another insult. I'm not going to hell and i'm not going to heaven. They don't exist to me. The difference between me and you is I don't keep passive aghressivley pushing my beliefs on you. I don't say "you'll be sad when you start to die and nothing happens to you " do I? You couldn't make me not want to be a Christian more.
Nobody is trying to "control" anyone on a blog like this, and if so both sides are guilty because they both come out defending their worldview. Atheists have just as much of a right to defend their point of view and do so often – and if you think about it are just responding to the same humanitarian instinct. The calamity they are trying to help others avoid however is freeing others from the brainwashing religion has given them.
As to the point regarding morality "evolving" – is this a biological evolution? I would argue that a child isolated from any sociological influence their entire life would still have moral instincts, which is why I ask that question because I don't understand how the soul of a man, so to speak, can evolve since it is not biological as far as I see it at least.
Chris for president!
What if the atheists do not want your help?? Because they do not believe what you believe! Go help people who believe but are going against the "word of God"! Seriously delusional!
Not only that, but our Lord and Savior instructs us to be fisher's of men. Which means to Evangelize. But..we are living in the end of days ..so it is natural as our lord also stated that Christian persecution would increase. I expect it. Everyone has a free will, If you hear the Word..and choose not to believe it, that is your choice.
JW... please show proof of this place you call "hell"
.... we're waiting...
Maher an insignifcant pimple on the A$$ of society. Almost as relivent as Palin!
Palin loves Tebow. So.....
I think you mean relevant.
Actually (to expand on your metaphor), religion has been a big fat oozing boil on the butt of humanity. Maher's wit is just an instrument to pop that boil all over the place.
wow, so much hate on this site. I'm a Christian and a Tebow fan. I was offended by Maher's post because of my faith. It was just mean-spirited and I really felt personally attacked. I also don't get why everyone hates Tebow. He does well for his first year of starting. The Bronco's D can't be the sole reason they win. They won once with Orton as QB, then Tebow started and their almost of the playoffs. He's an interesting player to watch due to his unorthodox style. Also, everyone seeing these hateful posts by people saying their Christians, please don't make a judgement of a whole faith by a few posts. I'm not pushing anything on you guys. Anyways, thought I would weigh in.
I enjoy watching Tebow play as well Tyler, and this is coming from an atheist. I may not believe but even I found Mahers tweet to be over the line.
We hate dumb-ass religious zealots because they do stunningly horrid things like flying planes into buildings and the like.
You should all be on anti-psychotic medication.
Tebow is being attacked by those who choose to find fault where none exists. He appears to be a dedicated Christian – and I doubt that anything coming from Bill Maher or others like him, phases him in any way.
Tyler, have you ever seen "The Passion of The Christ"?
As a Christian, do you accept the accuracy of the depiction of Christ's suffering?
Do you believe that Jesus willingly put himself through a hideously painful and humiliating death for all humanity's salvation?
...do you really think He made that sacrifice so that you could whine on the internet because you read a twitter post that said something you didn't like?
Shut up, take up your cross, and start following. Or stop being luke-warm and playing at Christianity.
1 Peter 4:12-19
mbh, you're spot on..... Teboe is so thoroughly inculcated with religious delusion that any breath of reality will bounce off of him like drool on a hot griddle.
"I was offended by Maher's post because of my faith. It was just mean-spirited and I really felt personally attacked"
If you felt personally attacked by a comment about someone who you have never met, made by someone you have never met, then you are a delusional thin skinned dooshebag.
"He does well for his first year of starting"
He is dead LAST in the league in completion % and ranked 26th overall. He is the 4th worst QB in the NFL. He sucks. And the only reason anybody cares about him is because he is a jesustard who tells everyone about it.
How many articles have you read about Tarvaris Jackson? (who is a statistcally better QB than Teblow)
You chose to be personaly offended. His tweet was about Tebow, not you.
CNN scores big again. The Buffalo Bills are not the Detroit Lions.
I'm no Maher fan and even if I was, I happily acknowledge that people can boycott his show and cancel HBO subscriptions all they way. It's their perfect right. But Tebow is a joke and the acclaim he has garnered for doing nothing of note in an age when at least a half dozen truly great QBs are playing (or were recently, in the case of Payton Manning) just shows how desperate christians are for a hero.
We already have a Hero, his name is JESUS!
All you MORONs who talk about freedom of speech, I suppose TIM TEBOW has the RIGHT to believe and Pray as he wants. Im sick of being punished, by taking "OUR" Religon rights away, thats whats wrong with our COUNTRY. GOD is the ALMIGHTY!!!!!!! I believe and if you dont like it then look the other way!!!!!! Why should our kids be PUNISHED because of sorry a$$ ppl like ALL OF YOU NON BELIEVERS. IF YOU DONT LIKE ITWHEN TEBOW PRAYS then turn the TV and worship YOUR SATAN, dont try cramming it down our throat!!!!!!!!!
I could care less that Tebow prays on the field. But you have no right to try and force your beliefs on others, nor do you have the right to condemn others for not believing as you do, and that is what I will fight tooth and nail to prevent. Get off your moral high horse and look at your own post if you want to see the worst face of Christianity.
First, boy that's a lot of capitalization and exclamation points; clearly you are at least slightly perturbed. Second, of course Tim Tebow has a right to openly be Mr. Super-Christian, and Bill Maher has a right to slam him for it. Just as someone who thinks Tebow's constant praying and kneeling is obnoxious could turn off the TV and ignore him, so too could you ignore the statement made by Mr. Maher. Morever, and I've never understood this: why do Christians always have to go on the offensive against people who dare to question or poke fun of Christianity? God can't defend himself? Let Bill Maher tweet his "blasphemy" and maybe he'll get struck by lightning. At the very least he's going to hell, right? Oh, and regarding the predicted response "why do atheist have to always pick on christians?" it's because a fair number of atheist consider religions in general to be silly, often dangerous, and counter productive to the advancement of human culture.
Re: Stephen and HawaiiGuest. I believe what Chayns is trying to say is freedom of speech allows for a man to conduct himself in the manner he chooses, as long as he isn't causing harm to others. Why must there be a reaction (such as Maher's?) Is one really necessary? Because the reaction (in this case – very derogatory tweet), in fact, contradicts the idea of "allowing" him to act as he pleases. Allowing him to practice his own religion (a liberal and progressive idea, right?) would be to cut out the ridiculous remarks and stop ridiculing people based on their religious preference, and that INCLUDES CHRISTIANS.
What ODD capitalization YOU use. That aside, how would you take it if Muslim players rolled out their prayer mats faced Mecca and prayed before matches? I bet you'd think it was pretty stupid and a waste of time. Maybe a little annoying too.
I GUESS you think you make your POINT more valid by SHOUTING, eh?
Sorry, it doesn't work that way.
it never once anywhere specifies WHO'S god or WHICH god... Nowhere does it say "the son of god" or "the catholic god". dont cofuse yourself with your own zealotry it says under god, (and btw the name of YOUR god is yahweh or jehova) moron
AvdBerg is a spammy little di-ck.
From the article:
"It was insulting Tim Tebow, not Jesus Christ, that drew the ire of a nation."
That is because deep down, people know Jesus is not real. But, Tebow is!
Never liked the Broncos anyway.
"That is because deep down, people know Jesus is not real."
Obviously, it's ONLY you and HANDFUL of people like you believe it.
But two and a half man is already "people" in your "so called" deep perspective, right, David?
Actually Dave, at least 3,000,000,000 people do not believe that Jesus is real.
the amount of people who do not believe that jesus is real or even a prophet far surpasses the ones who do my mathematically challenged zealot.
The above article by Eric Marrapodi is silly as God does not involve Himself in football. It is a lie and a fabrication of the truth and the article does not contain any spiritual truth.
Please know that he that is spiritual judgeth (discerneth) all things, yet he himself is judged of no man (1 Cor. 2:15).
Tim Tebow does not know what he worships as he worships after an image of a false God. He does not understand the Gospel of Christ (1 Cor. 2:14) but rather follows after a false Christ and the spirit of this world in which there is no salvation (Matthew 24:24). He was born in sin and in his natural state is separated from God and unless he repents and turns from darkness to light and from the power of Satan (whose spirit he is of) unto God (Acts 26:18), he will remain spiritually blind. God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth (John 9:31). For a better understanding who Tim Tebow worships and what it means to be a sinner, we invite you to read the articles ‘Repent’, ‘What is Sin’ and ‘Victory over Sin’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca
It is sad but true but Sports and Entertainment is a stronghold of Satan’s divided kingdom (Matthew 10:26-28; 2 Cor. 10:4) and any reference to Jesus Christ is falsehood. Tim Tebow’s prayers are all in vain as he follows after the teachings and the doctrines of men and the principalities and powers of this world (Matthew 15:9; Eph. 6:12). Any sports figure that claims himself/herself be a Christian is a deception as they follow after a false Christ and the god of this world. Their faith does not stand in Jesus Christ but rather they do service unto them which by nature are no gods (Gal. 4:8). As a result of their spiritual blindness they do not know that they are all of the same spirit as they prefer darkness over light (John 3:19).
For whatsoever is born of God, overcometh the world (1 John 5:4).
For a better understanding what it means to be a Christian we invite you to read the article ‘Can Christianity or any Other Religion Save You?’ listed on our website.
Also, to give people a better understanding of the destructive forces (Eph. 6:12) behind the media, US Politics and the issues that divide this world, we invite you to read the article ‘CNN Belief Blog ~ Sign of the Times’.
All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how this whole world has been deceived as confirmed by the Word of God in Revelation 12:9. The Bible is true in all things and is the discerner of every thought and the intent of the heart (Hebrews 5:12). The truth is that the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14). This is why we call all of mankind to repentance.
Seek, and ye shall find (Matthew 7:7).
What a lovely and hateful judgement of a person that you will probably never meet in real life, and a lifestyle that you have never been apart of. I have been to your website and I find it hateful and devoid of any of the underlying principles of any sect of Christianity.
He that is spiritual judgeth (discerneth) all things, yet he himself is judged of no man (1 Cor. 2:15). Unless you repent and turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan (whose spirit you are of ) unto God (Acts 26:18) you will remain spiritually blind and separated from God.
AvdBerg is merely a spammy little di-ck.
Our wisdom and knowledge is according to the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive (Matthew 14;17).
Seek, and ye will find (Matthew 7:7).
There is nothing remotely spiritual in your site. It is full of hate and villification.
What a nutbag!
AvdBerg makes a wonderful case for how loony religion can make people. I can only imagine how bad it gets on the web site!
Trust me you don't want to know. I went on there purely so that I could post back to Avd about how bad the site is.
If you truly call yourself a Christian, you would know that the Bible says that the Lord is not about condemnation,but love, mercy, forgiveness and grace. It is not up to us as individuals to take it upon ourselves to judge others. Let's respect who the Lord is and his authority and show the love of Christ to everyone here on earth as Jesus did before he was crucified and rose again. I pray that everyone will have a safe & blessed new year!
This sums it all up, the farce of religion/gods.....
Case in point, right here. Notice the in-fighting between sects of Christianity that think they have interpreted god more effectively than their rivals? Funny how the faithful always believe that god agrees with *them*. What more evidence does one need to finally settle on the conclusion that gods were invented by humans rather than the other way around?