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.
After reading various "threatening" posts, I wonder if anyone has ever taken a poll to determine how many believers believe simply because they are fearful of punishment and take Pascal's Wager?
(5)”And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. (6)But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (7)And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. (8)Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. – Matthew 6.5-8 NASB
Lol Bill will be Bill. It was only a matter of time. And a big LOL to all the people crying so hard about it.. Get over it..
Tebow mocks Christianity by violating Jesus' teaching about public prayer. Jesus said public prayer was only for pharisees trying to glorify themselves rather than God. So apparently Tebow knows very little about Jesus.
This is TRUE. In the bible "as any real religious person would know" It is condemned to pray in the sight of others in such a way. I quote "But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
Not a quote: seek not the reward from men as theirs is only earthly "which is what Tebow does praying in front of all of you" He seeks your reward, not Gods and therefore he does not do justice to God. He does justice to himself.. Want to be a Christian? Follow the scripture then.. Don't make it up as you go because it suits your football career.
so i guess when Jesus prayed the our Father out loud, that was violating His own teaching??Jesus never says not to pray in public, He only said not to do it before men TO BE SEEN BY THEM. you have no right to judge Tebow's heart. only God knows if he is doing it to be seen by men or because he is doing it for the right reasons- to give honor and glory to God.
irespective, God is not mocked. You can mock christians ,but to mock the name of Jesus christ, only a fool does.
The difference between doing that, and mocking the name of, say, James Bond, Jack Ryan or Captain Kangaroo?
Or what? In case you hadn't noticed god either doesn't exist or is much to busy to be concerned with the speech of a 5th rate homicidal intolerant species at the edge of some random galaxy. So I'll mock god all I want and you're welcome to come try and stop me because 'he' surely won't.
I don't understand why Christians behave like a persecuted minority (when 5 of 6 americans are Christian). The vast majority of of american life revolves around their culture and beliefs. Whenever a pip squeak like Maher says/does something offensive to them, they are outraged. Why not act like the dominant force you are and ignore mosquitos. To me this is indicates a deep seeded lack of self confidence. Man up!
Who is Bill Mayer?
I have no idea man.
It's Maher, moron.
I'm a fan of Bill Maher, but over the years I've seen him retreat and retrench as often as stand up to sponsors. Pete Dominick is wrong "Our job is to push the envelope. There is no line for us. We don't have a line." Comics have a line they won't cross. They stay on the side of whatever brings them a paycheck and keeps them in front of an audience.
"[Tebow's] public image is built on goodness and virtue," Patton Dodd said
I thought Tebow's public image was based on the fact the guy plays football?
Agreed. That's the only reason his image is public at all.
Seeing as how he is one of the worst passers in the NFL, the only other explanation is that his persona is about something other than football.
I'm sure there are a large number of Maher fans that comment on the Belief Blog. They have the same mantra; they mock Christianity in a boorish manner that is simply impolite and disrespectful. I'm sure Maher loves to get a rise out of Christians that are supposed to "turn the other cheek." It's all part of his little game. So be it, I don't have to defend or apologize for my beliefs. "Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord." In case you didn't know it, God doesn't forget. And like Dad used to say, "I brought you into this world, I can take you out." In the end, everybody gets theirs. I hope Maher asks God for forgiveness before he checks out.
I can't tell who's more petty: you or your god.
""Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord.""
In case you didnt know, MEN wrote the bible, not god. And no, they were not under the influence of god, they just claimed they were.
@clay: You sure about that? I mean, absolutley positive? No doubt?
I'm a Maher fan. I don't taunt people by disparaging their faiths. However, across my journey of life I have seen many people of deep faith partake in behavior directly opposed that of their prescribed faith. I cannot abide Hypocrisy, wherever it lurks.
Your post is also condescending in a smug sort of way. You say you refuse to defend your faith, and then go on to quote a religious text.
So what you've really said, is that you won't have people throw their religious views at you, but you are ok with throwing yours at other people.
Blind faith in ANYTHING goes against reason.
Not to mention the whole free will vs predetermined fate issues inherent to christian theology.
"You sure about that? I mean, absolutley positive? No doubt?"
Yes 100% positive. have you read the bible? Inconsistencies all over the place points to numerous authors over time writing biblical versus. When you say they are inspired by god when men wrote the bible you cannot point to biblical verses to prove your point as Men wrote what is in the bible. I for one do not believe fallible human beings that I have never met who say they are inspired by god. Would you believe me if I said I was? Why not? Also, every story of Jesus was written by people 40+ years after his death. HEARSAY at best. Do some research, majority of scholars studying the bible agree on these points.
Inconsistencies? Why don't you explain a couple of those to me. I'm interested.
@Alex: Oh, ya. I'm as smug as you can get. I've been a hypocrite too. Of couse, I don't put my faith in man (they will always let you down) but in God, who is perfect and true. How 'bout you Alex? Ever been a hypocrite? Ever said one thing and done another?
"I brought you into this world, I can take you out." In the end, everybody gets theirs.
It is crap like this that makes me think so little of you jesustards and your silly little fairy tale.
Here you go...valid source.
not to mention The God of the Bible also allows slavery, including selling your own daughter as a se..x slave (Exodus 21:1-11), child abuse (Judges 11:29-40 and Isaiah 13:16), and bashing babies against rocks (Hosea 13:16 & Psalms 137:9). Again, I doubt god would be for those things....but MEN have been.
claybigsby, I just have to say, great responses. You've left RFBJR resorting to ad hominems, but he was likely a lost cause anyway.
"claybigsby, I just have to say, great responses. You've left RFBJR resorting to ad hominems, but he was likely a lost cause anyway."
Thanks Bob....I just wish believers would do some research on the history of their religion before spouting off.
That is what those who believe in evolutionist did make the case that no god was necessary to create man. They believe you just take monkeys then ad hominems and poof we have man.......or was that add hominids?
@Clay: Passing on other peoples thoughts does not consti.tute what YOU think. Without going to the web, within your own mind, can you right now make an argument for what you believe? What do you believe and why? Don't answer me back. Just think about what I'm saying. Once again, what do you believe and why??? Let's make believe God is asking you this question. He's not going to accept you sending Him to a website.
@Clay: And by the way, stop posing as Bob and commenting on how great your responses are. It's pathetic.
@RFBJR: Christians are perfectly content to say, "Read the Bible," and leave it at that. I'd gather the reason anyone sends a link is because our opinions are already well described by someone else, so we allow that to speak for us.
Besides...god doesn't have an internet connection?
those are not other peoples opinions, those are specific biblical verses that obviously contradict themselves from a reputable source. If you want me to write all of those inconsistencies out here I can, however I think you are smart enough to go to the site and read for yourself. Why should I waste my time rewriting what has already been written?
What do I believe? I believe that there COULD be a god, or many gods, or no god at all. When I use the word "god" i do not refer to a christian god or muslim god etc. I use that term universally. I am content in my answer of "I Don't Know". I am not going to pretend that I have all of the answers because I do not, and neither do you. If you are asking if I believe that the christian bible is the word of god, the answer is unequivocally NO.
"And by the way, stop posing as Bob and commenting on how great your responses are. It's pathetic."
sorry, but I am not bob. I have nothing to prove to people on a CNN belief blog, only engaging in intelligent debates which obviously you cannot grasp. If you wouldnt resort to name calling and insults to make yourself feel better, you might learn something.
@clay: Maybe god doesn't have a copy of Adobe Reader installed. Can't understand why though. I mean, it's freeware. If you had linked to an HTML version, maybe he wouldn't complain as much.
"Maybe god doesn't have a copy of Adobe Reader installed. Can't understand why though. I mean, it's freeware. If you had linked to an HTML version, maybe he wouldn't complain as much."
Or maybe he can send me his email address and I can get him an HTML version. email@example.com right?
"Or maybe he can send me his email address and I can get him an HTML version. firstname.lastname@example.org right?"
nevermind, it came back undeliverable.
@clay: Well, I certainly don't have all the answers either. But I do have the one answer; Jesus. Lord of Lords and King of Kings. He's a tough dude, I wouldn't mess with Him. But, go ahead, you're a smart guy. I'm just a moron, what do I know?
Please read my previous posts for my argument against yours.
" I'm just a moron"
On this we agree.
very well said in all your responses!
The funny part will be when unbelievers like Maher are burning in hell. Have fun for eternity.
Gosh, Brian. Too bad there is no proof of any heaven, hell, god or devil. I guess all you have is your malicious desire that all people who don't think exactly what you do should suffer for eternity. Is that sort of approved hatred what drew you to christianity?
Brian...typical fear mongering that you use against children to brainwash them will not work against critically thinking adults...i suggest you try a different tactic.
There are some things we should fear, don't you think? Is it fear-mongering to tell people if they kill a police officer that they face capital punishment? Or if they live a certain lifestyle they risk disease? Or if they act irresponsibly, they could lose money they have worked years for in just minutes? Or if they lie, they lose trust in relationships? Or if they mock God, they will be held accountable?
"You reap what you sow." This is true in the physical and spiritual world. Now, perhaps you don't believe in the spiritual world. If that is true, where do those thoughts that roll around in your head reside? In the physical? If in the physical, how come you don't have that home or car that you dreamed of? Or that beautiful babe on your arm?
Perhaps you should fear Ma'at's judgement in the afterlife. Should your heart weigh more than a feather from her cap, the beast Ammit shall devour you.
Or maybe the Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, Rosicrucians, Spiritists, and Wiccans are correct and you'll be reincarnated as a lesser being should you not live a proper life.
Those beliefs are just as likely to be true as yours.
Ok, Doc. Fair enough. What do you believe? Death to nothingness? Reincarnation? Resurrection?
I think I am doing ok. If hell is real I am too good to go there. If reincarnation is real I am so great that I will be reincarnated as an ultimate being.
"is it fear-mongering to tell people if they kill a police officer that they face capital punishment?"
Policeman and capital punishment are real. They actually exist. Killing a real policeman may result in real capital punishment.
"Or if they live a certain lifestyle they risk disease?"
Diseases are real. You can actually get one, because it is real, not imaginary.
"Or if they act irresponsibly, they could lose money they have worked years for in just minutes?"
You can actually lose money, because it is real. Money exists, it is not imaginary.
"Or if they lie, they lose trust in relationships?"
Lies and relationships are real. If you lie to someone, you may lose that relationship. Relationships are not imaginary.
Or if they mock God, they will be held accountable?
God is not real. You cannot even mock god because god is imaginary. It is an indoctrinated mythology that exists only in your imagination. You cannot be held accountable by god any more than you can be held accountable by santa claus.
You have just made the dumbest argument in all of the 1000+ comments in this thread. You have compared real things, and real consequences to the possibility of being judges at life's end by the equivalent of unicorns.
I certainly don't but into Pascal's wager.
I live my life as best I can, awash in the love of my family and friends while striving to do no unnecessary harm in the pursuit of happiness.
I've a strong belief that my consciousness – that which consti.tutes me as an individual – will cease to exist at death, but nobody can be certain. That my consti.tuent atoms will continue in one form or another is some small solace to me when contemplating the inevitability of death, but soon enough, I'll know for sure – so I don't fret about it now.
"If in the physical, how come you don't have that home or car that you dreamed of? Or that beautiful babe on your arm?"
First your entire argument is not valid...you are assuming God is real without actual proof. Comparing God to things like killing police officers is a sad attempt at a correlation.
How come I dont have the dream car or house? Actually I do. I am 27 and drive an E AMG Benz and M5 BMW and just bought my first house. God did not help me do any of that. I worked my a$$ off for the things I have and wont attribute my successes to some god that has never spoken, touched, or helped me in anyway.
@Doc: How do you know someone can't be certain? You cannot see into their heart or mind and draw that conclusion. It is presumption. What if I told you I was certain? You can write it off as kookiness, but what if it's true? Wouldn't you want that certainty if it was possible?
"What if I told you I was certain? You can write it off as kookiness, but what if it's true?"
Mentally insane people do this all of the time yet we contend they are mentally ill and are shuffled off as such. No difference
For me at least, certainty is not subjective.
The only way to be certain is tangible evidence – and there is none available pertaining to the afterlife.
If you cannot have positive, reproducible, testable proofs that can be independantly verified by anyone who bothers to scrutinize the evidence, then no certainty is possible.
"Facts are sterile, not vulgar nor sublime. And they're not religion – they're for everyone and signify the times."
– Dr. Greg Graffin
Hey, Clay...why don't you go jump in that fake beamer and go for a ride, junior.
"Hey, Clay...why don't you go jump in that fake beamer and go for a ride, junior."
See what happens when you run out of logical arguments...you resort to this. If you want a ride in my M5 just ask. Or the E55...either one, you pick...we can go for a spin.
claybigsby, I just have to say, great responses. You've left RFBJR resorting to ad hominems, but he was likely a lost cause.
@Doc: I guess life and the orderliness of the universe is not proof enough of intelligence. It seems simple to me, however I know many argue against it. Oh well, it is a wager and wager you must as Pascal said. In this case, the stakes are high my friend. Not just you, but all those you influence. With your level of intelligence, I'm sure it is many. And I mean that with all sincerity, I am not being cynical.
"[Tebow's] public image is built on goodness and virtue,"
And a ridiculous belief in a magic sky fairy.
Funny how Christians would raise almighty hell if even Jew, Muslim, or Atheist got up and ran their mouth about what drives them as much as Tebow does. Good for you, son, now shut the *&#% up about it please. As was said in the article, he begs to be made fun of.
OMG! take a joke people! This whole thing is sooooo overblown.I'm sure FIX News is all over this story.It just feeds raw,bloody red meat to their hoards of idiots.I wonder what FIX would say if He was a Muslim and bowed to Mecca every time he scored a touchdown? I think he would be called a terrorist.People poke fun at Tebow not because of his Religion,but because He is so overrated!
I do think he is overrated. The problem with Tebow is that so much credit has been given to him rather than to who it is actually due.
"I do think he is overrated. The problem with Tebow is that so much credit has been given to him rather than to who it is actually due."
lol so you are saying god has stake in NFL games?
I have no idea who and of these comedians are. they should probably try to get a real job..
lol since they prolly make 100x more than you, i think they are ok.
People hate the Bible because it really cramps their style.
I doubt you'll find anyone who TRULY hates the Bible. Most people dislike the idiots who use their faith for vindication and treat others like dirt, regardless of the fact their faith tells them not too.
I guess it is the hypocrisy of most people of staunch faith that upsets others.
It apparently cramps your style as well. Nice "bearing false witness." Do you shave and eat shellfish, as well?
I stopped listening/watching Bill Maher a long time ago. Not worth the effort. He's a major a**hole and not funny.
why? cause he states his opinion and people watch him?
That is your option, John. I don't watch him because I don't watch a lot of TV. I did enjoy "Religulous" though. It was funny and thought provoking.
I have generally been a fan of Bill Maher. But it is becoming more & more clear that Mr. Maher wants to become the Glen Beck of the liberals. Lets not also forget that the new season of his HBO show will soon be starting!! So this is most likely just hype for his ratings. Maher was at one time a fairly intelligent, entertaining person, but he has begun to take himself a little too serious. The sad part is that his viewers are beginning to take him seriously. All be said he is nothing more than comic relief from American politics. To give him any more credit would be a sad mistake.
Tebow and his religious ilk are so tiresome. Thanks Bill.
Tebow should read Judas My Brother by Frank Yerby its a game changer. Then maybe he will realize his career in football will be based on his talent not his religion.