home
RSS
My Take: Momma’s boy Tim Tebow meets playboy Tom Brady
Tim Tebow is having a great year, but the author says his appeal runs much deeper.
January 13th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

My Take: Momma’s boy Tim Tebow meets playboy Tom Brady

Editor’s note: Patton Dodd is the managing editor of Patheos and the author of The Tebow Mystique: The Faith and Fans of Football’s Most Polarizing Player.

By Patton Dodd, Special to CNN

Denver, Colorado (CNN) - A few weeks ago, a joke made its way around Denver about Tom Brady, the New England Patriots’ living legend, and Tim Tebow, the raw Broncos quarterback who is turning in a legendary season. It went something like this:

Tom Brady dies and goes to heaven and is greeted by God, who shows him to his new house – a cozy, modest home with a Patriots flag flying from the porch. “Gee, thanks God!” says Brady, feeling very special.

As Brady walks to his door, he notices another house down the street – a sprawling, gorgeous home with a 50-foot pole flying a Broncos flag, a swimming pool shaped like a horse, and a Tim Tebow jersey pinned to the front door.

“Um, God?” Brady begins. “I’m not ungrateful, but I don’t get it. I won three Super Bowls and went to the Hall of Fame. Why does Tim Tebow get a better house than me?”

God chuckles. “That’s not Tim’s house,” he replies. “That’s mine.”

It’s not a very good joke, but it neatly summarizes cultural attitudes toward Brady and Tebow, whose teams meet this weekend in the second round of the NFL playoffs.

Brady is a quarterback’s quarterback; his fellow players voted him the best player in football at the beginning of 2011, and he rewarded their admiration with another spectacular season. He’s been at this for a while – he was the winningest playoff quarterback of the last decade – and he’s settled into a life reserved only for guys like him: really good at sports, plus really, really, really good-looking.

Brady dated actress Tara Reid during his initial rise to fame, then settled into a relationship with actress Bridget Moynahan, with whom he had a child.

By the time the child was born, Brady had moved on to Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen, to whom he’s now married and with whom he’s built a Brentwood, California mansion. (Forbes named them the world’s highest-paid celebrity couple.)

Brady’s post-game press conferences can be fashion shows. When my wife and I lived in Boston, we would watch Patriots game coverage until the conference began so we could spy Brady’s gingham shirts, thick-knotted ties, and pocket squares. No matter how tough a game he played, Brady looked ready for the red carpet. The man can wear a suit.

Tebow is something else altogether – an apparently God-blessed raw talent who wins games with a little bit of passing and a whole lot of prayer. Haters aside, he’s the most popular athlete in the nation.

He’s also made football itself more popular this year, drawing in admirers who wouldn’t be watching otherwise. Last weekend’s Broncos-Steelers matchup drew the highest television ratings in the history of the wild card round.

A Zillow.com poll named Tebow America’s Most Desirable Neighbor, and anyone who has sat through one of Tebow’s press conferences (or read his autobiography) can see why. Whatever you think of his faith commitments, he’s the genuine article. He builds orphanages and visits with sick kids and deflects praise and plays the game like a kid whose parents wouldn’t let him go outside until all the chores were done.

Brady is the guy every teenage boy wants to be. Tebow is the guy every teenage boy’s mom wants him to be.

Both quarterbacks overcame low expectations. Brady was drafted in the sixth round and seemed destined to life as a backup until Drew Bledsoe was severely hurt in Brady’s second year. Tebow was drafted in the first round, a move that every expert opinion deemed a mistake.

Both emerged in breakout fashion. Brady’s first season as starter turned him into a famous football player. Tebow’s is turning him into a cultural phenomenon.

What’s the difference? Why is Tebow’s fame supercharged? Why does Brady get a Brentwood mansion with Gisele, but only a quaint house in heaven?

Recall that Brady’s rise happened in the fall after 9/11, which was also an era before media platforms were numbered like stars in the sky. The nation is in a different mood now, and for better or worse, we have new, more powerful ways of making people famous. Twitter, Facebook and a billion blogs helped Tebow saturate everything.

But the biggest difference is that, in Tebow’s case, religion is a factor. Brady, a cradle Catholic, became famous as an athlete. Tebow is becoming famous as an athlete, acolyte, and avatar all rolled into one.

Tebow the athlete is fun to watch with his passion and flashes of brilliance. Tebow the acolyte – the devoted follower of God – is easy to admire, and even those annoyed by public piety can be won over by his goodheartedness and the sheer joy with which he plays the game.

Perhaps most acutely, he’s a cultural avatar. The internet meme “Tebowing” took off because it’s a readymade symbolic gesture people can use to express themselves against our scoffing, serious times.

Brady is a great football player. Tebow is a great football story, and stories are immersive – they give us a chance to get involved, to see ourselves through them.

Tebow’s story tees up the questions that frame many people’s lives: Is God involved? Can he help us overcome? Can he help us win? What if he stops helping us – where is God when our critics are correct, when our flaws are exposed for everyone to see?

Saturday’s game will likely be the most-watched second round playoff game in NFL history. Millions will be watching because they want to see how the story will unfold, and the hero most of them will be rooting for is not the playboy, but the momma’s boy.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Sports

soundoff (1,294 Responses)
  1. Satan

    Christian means anti American F.A.G.

    January 14, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
  2. Christian Fairy

    Why is everyone always picking on us Christian? It's not fair. It's just not fair. I'm going to go cry now 😦

    January 14, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Anon

      When you vote for religious fanatics (Santorum, Perry, etc) and win, they screw with secular laws.

      January 15, 2012 at 11:51 am |
  3. Satan

    Tebow is a p.e.n.i.s. Riding loser. The only people g.a.y.e.r than Tebow is the entire state of Texas!

    January 14, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
  4. ReligionIs4Dolts

    I am god. I will create an angel named Lucifer that I know beforehand will turn against me and that I will get angry enough at to condemn to hell fire (but of course I won't be powerful enough to prevent from influencing man and the outcome of events on Earth, etc.). But I'm gonna do it anyway....just like I'm gonna create my most beloved creation, man, who I know will likewise turn against me, and that I will have to condemn to hell fire....but I'm gonna do it anyway because I'm just stupid or something.

    January 14, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
  5. Satan

    Hey Christians.....You suck!!!!!

    January 14, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • RoughRider

      Nancy

      January 14, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Satan

      Rough Rider is an obvious euphemism for riding the p.e.n.i.s.

      That's rough riding you mo

      Satan

      January 14, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Ferris Bueller

      Rough Rider is a pseudonym for Trudy.

      January 14, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • RoughRider

      Satan: "Use me like a woman. I want you to."

      Ferris: "Get behind me Satan!"

      January 14, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • RoughRider

      Can you guys see my man-gina in these shorts? Excuse me if I'm being snooty, I'm on the rag.

      January 14, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Satan

      Nice try rough rider? It's only the Christian right who are in question. So fearful, so hairy and questionably manly. The one's who wish to be with the little boys. We will rid of you.

      January 14, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
  6. JoeMama

    Tebow is being spiritually violated by a real alpha male. The hexes! They do nothing!!

    January 14, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
  7. Satan

    Aww. Poor little babies are weeping at Mary's little feet. Sorry your fake little baby didn't come through tonight. Aww you gonna cry. You know he is a mo

    January 14, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • RoughRider

      Satan? Run along Nancy. Football is for whole men.

      January 14, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
  8. Satan

    I'm sorry, but did all the Jesus lovers go? Hello?

    January 14, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Ferris Bueller

      This is where the Christians start saying that football is only a game and that people shouldn't take it seriously.

      January 14, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • TR6

      No, this is where the Christians start talking about god’s plan and working in mysteries ways

      January 15, 2012 at 12:43 am |
  9. Satan

    Hahahaha! This is what happens when you have false beliefs

    January 14, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
  10. JT

    "Brady is the guy every teenage boy wants to be. Tebow is the guy every teenage boy’s mom wants him to be."

    Teenage boys – 1, Moms – 0

    January 14, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
  11. Ferris Bueller

    ♫ ♪ This is Jesus Christ to Tim Tebow... you're really on your oooown. ♪ ♫

    January 14, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
  12. Mercyme

    I have no opinion.

    January 14, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
  13. bobcat2u

    I just checked the score on the game. Looks like Playboy is putting a stomp on Mommas boy. Pats 35--Broncs 7
    I guess Tebows god has his money on Brady tonight.

    January 14, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      Nah...either Tebow didn't pray hard enough....or "god" is just gonna pull his usual "wait until the last minute" tricks like he did with sending his "only begotten son" to "save the world" after countless generations had already perished without a chance.

      January 14, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • The Dude

      Hahaha! Sorry Christian losers. Your boy is really has no connection with God. Or god does not exist. either way you all are just silly little numskulls.

      January 14, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Why?

      Why do good things happen to bad people?

      January 14, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  14. Jim

    Well, the almighty better get off this board and help out Tebow, he needs it!

    January 14, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • Puzzled

      Pigs are filthy animals. A game that involves handling pigskin should not be played.

      January 14, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • Ironicus

      You think pigskin is filthy? Sounds like you got "kosher" issues.

      January 14, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Pigs (Three Different Ones)

      Big man, pig man
      Ha, ha, charade you are
      You well heeled big wheel
      Ha, ha, charade you are
      And when your hand is on your heart
      You're nearly a good laugh
      Almost a joker
      With your head down in the pig bin
      Saying 'Keep on digging'
      Pig stain on your fat chin
      What do you hope to find
      Down in the pig mine?
      You're nearly a laugh
      You're nearly a laugh
      But you're really a cry

      January 14, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
  15. ashrakay

    Am I the only one that thinks "Tebowing" sounds like something 2 men should do in the privacy of their bedroom?

    January 14, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      It is pretty g@Y

      January 14, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Ironicus

      No, I think there's a lot of people who think that it sounds really gay. Not that gay is bad, but I wish we didn't have to watch more religious hypocrisy along with our football.

      January 14, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
  16. b4bigbang

    ashrakay

    @b4bigbang, Evidence that is based on the decaying carbon half-life, is not an opinion—just like reading the temperature on a thermometer is not an opinion. There are quantifiable facts that exist in our universe which we classify as the laws of physics. They are testable, repeatable, verifiable consistencies. By definition, that means they are not opinion. Contrarily, stating that humans were created from dirt 6k years ago without providing any testable or verifiable evidence and denying evidence to the contrary is "opinion" and hearsay. It carries the same amount of weight as claiming that Zeus is throwing lightning bolts down on us and leprechauns are hording bold at the end of rainbows.

    It's obvious that u guys only look at the atheist apologetics (eg, articles like "why the universe cant be young" etc,) w/out reading any ID articles, like the research that converted Antony Flew.
    Then, when reminded publicly of the opposing evidence coming form the ID camp, u ignore and restate your science proclamation repeatedly.
    U guys are the world's best at begging the question.
    I'm gonna outta here for dinner
    see ya.

    January 14, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      What the h&|| is ID? Did I miss something?

      January 14, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • A Little Help

      ID is probably Intelligent Design.

      January 14, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Jim

      Intelligent Design, codeword for creationism. Or it could be Freud's Id, but I doubt it.

      January 14, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • ashrakay

      And surprise, surprise he converted to deism at age 81 without providing any evidence to support his belief in even the watered-down Aristotelian god that he chose to follow. Why did he not provide evidence? Because none exists. This doesn't make god true because a scientist had a deathbed conversion. It makes his logic faulty. Your reason for believing god exists can't be as insubstantial as, "so-and-so believed and he was smart, there for it must be true," can it?

      January 14, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
  17. b4bigbang

    cigarlover6: "Did some tragic event led you to the beliefland, where you are (Where the weak minded were already there)?"

    I shouldnt reply to your ques, seeing as how u r merely trolling, but your tone is shared by many atheists on cnn boards, so i must ask, how do u define weak-minded? I mean, seeing as how there are top scientists and other leading thinkers, quite talented, who are believers, how does the average atheist trolling on boards consign these top intellectuals to the moron bin?
    Seems more emotional than objective.....

    January 14, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Jim

      You keep mentioning these "top scientists", can you mention a few? Just curious.

      January 14, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Ironicus

      weak-mind·ed
         adjective
      1. having or showing a lack of mental firmness; irresolute; vacillating.
      2. having or showing mental feebleness; foolish.

      That sounds like b4bigbang.
      I'd add gullible to the list, though, as being one the worst character flaws a person can have.
      You can train a person to be gullible quite easily. Just more religious brainwashing results, really.
      There are so many issues with mentally ill people it's a wonder we haven't all gone bald from watching them destroy our world and everyone's lives....

      January 14, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • A Little Help

      Jim

      Francis Collins comes to mind (a believing scientist). One I find really interesting is John Polkinghorne who left the Chair of Mathematical Physics at Oxford to study Christian thought.

      January 14, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Jim

      @help, thanks, in the back of my mind I knew about Collins. Embarrassed to say I've never heard of Mr. Polkinghorne. I've always found the appeal to authority an interesting argument. The very nature of faith makes it impossible to point to evidence, so quotes from a holy book, personal experiences or an appeal to an authority are all that is available to show the validity of belief. Of course it does not work on skeptics, they have to have their own revelation, or be forced into it (spouse, job or a theocratic gov't).

      January 14, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
  18. b4bigbang

    Just a little more than 24 x 2.

    January 14, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • Ironicus

      ...and no smarter than a 2×4. Right. Got it.

      January 14, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
  19. ReligionIs4Dolts

    If I have to seek "god" why is "god" hiding? Is "god" hiding out in the square root of negative one? Or maybe "god" is hiding in a black hole....or in dark matter/energy?

    January 14, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      ReligionIs4Dolts: "If I have to seek "god" why is "god" hiding? Is "god" hiding out in the square root of negative one? Or maybe "god" is hiding in a black hole....or in dark matter/energy?"

      Excellent questions.
      1) Why hiding: because of unbelief (note: unbelief doesnt mean "poor guy wanted to believe, but didnt have a chance", rather its a force exerted towards the truth saying "i will not believe").
      2) Where hiding: We know that God is in heaven, yet he's right in our midst (i think its called omnipresence).

      January 14, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      By the same token you can't prove that the Flying Spaghetti Monster isn't also omnipresent. You can't see it but it is everywhere. Why? Because I believe it is.

      January 14, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • Ironicus

      **facepalm**

      January 14, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Ironicus

      **facepalm**@b4bigbang that is...sorry!

      January 14, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Puzzled

      ReligionIs4Dolts: I'd encourage you to explore your belief in the omnipresent Flying Spaghetti Monster. Follow it as far as you can. If the Flying Spaghetti Monster turns out to have all the properties of God, you may end up in the right place.

      January 14, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      Properties of "god"....such as? Oohhh I know....when you're at church and you're swingin' and swayin' to the music, you feel the Lord's presence...right? Well guess what? I feel that same thing when I listen to great rock and roll (like Pink Floyd, Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree, etc.). What else? When you pray and you get what you asked for....it must have been god? Well, hmmm....if I want something I try really hard, and if I get what I want it was because *I* made it possible. If I didn't try hard enough then I have only myself to blame. What else? I can't think of anything else.....Got any hare-brained suggestions?

      January 14, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Puzzled

      Don't fail for lack of trying.

      January 14, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • Puzzled

      I'm a big Pink Floyd fan too.

      January 14, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • Chad

      ReligionIs4Dolts "If I have to seek "god" why is "god" hiding? Is "god" hiding out in the square root of negative one? Or maybe "god" is hiding in a black hole....or in dark matter/energy?"

      =>God isnt hiding, evidence is all around of his existence.

      Many things can't be disproved, FSM, Russel's Teapot, God, back pain, Aristotle. Just because something cant be disproved doesnt make it unreal. One has to look at the evidence FOR existence.

      Many folks use the "well, I can believe in the FSM also",, so , go ahead and believe in it. No one is stopping you.
      Just because the FSM is not real, says absolutely nothing about the God of Abraham not being real.

      January 14, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      "Just because the FSM is not real, says absolutely nothing about the God of Abraham not being real."

      Likewise, saying the god of Abraham is real says absolutely nothing about its reality. Don't you realize how common the invention of "god(s)" is(are)? Virtually every culture/race on the planet has invented its own deity(ies), stories of origin, codes of ethics, etc., so the Jews' version is not all that special, particularly when you note all the similarities between elements of Judaic religion and those of the peoples in surrounding regions (Greece, Persia, Egypt). Do some historical research and you'll know what I mean. "Hell" for instance started out as literally "Hades" in the OT. It was not a place of torment until much later (I believe the hellfire and brimstone were added very close to if not precisely in the NT). The story of Noah is also the story of Gilgamesh from Babylon (but also notice how no other culture on the planet recorded any story of a "Great Flood"). Read. Learn.

      January 14, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Chad

      @ReligionIs4Dolts "Likewise, saying the god of Abraham is real says absolutely nothing about its reality"
      =>true

      @ReligionIs4Dolts "Don't you realize how common the invention of "god(s)" is(are)?"
      =>That isn’t an argument.. The fact that people make up fake gods has no bearing on the existence of a real God any more than the existence of fake Elvis Presleys means the Elvis never existed. Circular reasoning.

      @ReligionIs4Dolts "so the Jews' version is not all that special, particularly when you note all the similarities between elements of Judaic religion and those of the peoples in surrounding regions (Greece, Persia, Egypt).
      =>completely false, please provide your list of similarities.
      – creation of our universe from nothing
      – God existing prior to universe creation
      – order of species created corresponding to the fossil record

      There simply is NO OTHER CREATION story that even comes close.

      @ReligionIs4Dolts "The story of Noah is also the story of Gilgamesh from Babylon (but also notice how no other culture on the planet recorded any story of a "Great Flood"). Read. Learn."
      => Genesis narrative is older, gilgamesh borrowed from it, and/or told a story from shared experience.

      January 14, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      "That isn’t an argument.. The fact that people make up fake gods has no bearing on the existence of a real God"
      How do you know your "god" is any more real than any of the "fakes"? There is no proof for any of them.

      "- order of species created corresponding to the fossil record"
      Your fake @$$ bible doesn't have any record of any such order of the species. It certainly doesn't mention dinosaurs or Neanderthals or any number of other life forms from prehistory.

      "There simply is NO OTHER CREATION story that even comes close."
      You need to read more, dude (and relax)! Native "American" creation stories are but one example. Does an alleged "creation myth" have to meet certain criteria in order for you to deem it believable? Does it need to be spread out over "seven distinct days" or some crap?

      "Genesis older than Gilgamesh"
      You don't know that. And you did NOT answer why no other cultures around the world which were allegedly wiped out by this supposed world-wide flood did not record such an event when two cultures near the Tigris and Euphrates DID.

      Brainwashed fool!

      January 14, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • Chad

      @ReligionIs4Dolts "How do you know your "god" is any more real than any of the "fakes"? There is no proof for any of them."
      =>attempting to discredit the God of Abraham by comparing Him to fake gods is a fallacious argument. End of story 🙂
      "Faulty Comparison If you try to make a point about something by comparison, and if you do so by comparing it with the wrong thing, you commit the fallacy of faulty comparison or the fallacy of questionable analogy." – Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

      @ReligionIs4Dolts "Your fake @$$ bible doesn't have any record of any such order of the species. It certainly doesn't mention dinosaurs or Neanderthals or any number of other life forms from prehistory."
      =>Order of species appearance in Genesis: Plants-Fish-Birds-Land Animals (including reptiles)-Man
      Were you expecting all of the millions of species to be named?
      Or, are you instead left wondering how a couple of illiterate goat herders 3500 years ago could have gotten the order of life creation correct?

      @ReligionIs4Dolts " Native "American" creation stories are but one example.
      =>you mean, like this?

      Cherokee: The earth is a great island floating in a sea of water, and suspended at each of the four cardinal points by a cord hanging down from the sky vault, which is of solid rock. When the world grows old and worn out, the people will die and the cords will break and let the earth sink down into the ocean, and all will be water again. The indians are afraid of this. "

      @ReligionIs4Dolts ""Genesis older than Gilgamesh" You don't know that.
      =>source was wikipedia

      @ReligionIs4Dolts "And you did NOT answer why no other cultures around the world which were allegedly wiped out by this supposed world-wide flood did not record such an event when two cultures near the Tigris and Euphrates DID.
      =>hmm.. why did the people killed not record the fact that they were killed.. and the only people who did record it were the ones descended from the only survivors..
      hmm.. answer seems fairly self evident 🙂

      @ReligionIs4Dolts "Brainwashed fool!"
      =>you were saying something about relaxing?

      January 15, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      Chad:
      +>attempting to discredit the God of Abraham by comparing Him to fake gods is a fallacious argument. End of story 🙂

      With NO evidence you just SAY your "god" is the right one and that all others are "fake". That is not an argument.

      =>Order of species appearance in Genesis: Plants-Fish-Birds-Land Animals (including reptiles)-Man

      If the goatherds had written the order as "Fish-Plants-Bords..etc..." would you have been able to spot that it was incorrect? NO. Which just goes to show that you'll believe anything.

      @ReligionIs4Dolts ""Genesis older than Gilgamesh" You don't know that.
      =>source was wikipedia

      Actually wikipedia cites the OT as having been written down between 10 and 5 BC, whereas The Epic of Gilgamesh existed in several different written editions, some as early as 2150-2000 BC, 18th or 17th century BC. etc....

      so YOU LOSE!

      January 15, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • Chad

      @ReligionIs4Dolts "If the goatherds had written the order as "Fish-Plants-Bords..etc..." would you have been able to spot that it was incorrect? NO. Which just goes to show that you'll believe anything."

      =>if they had written the order as Fish-Plants-Birds EVERYONE would have noticed, right? The Bible is the most heavily scrutinized book in the history of man, that fact that it has withstood that scrutiny demonstrates it's authenticity.

      In any case, you didnt comment on the likely hood of illiterate goat herders 3500 years ago just happening to get the order exactly correct..

      @ReligionIs4Dolts "Actually wikipedia cites the OT as having been written down between 10 and 5 BC, whereas The Epic of Gilgamesh existed in several different written editions, some as early as 2150-2000 BC, 18th or 17th century BC. etc...."

      =>Wikipedia says that "reached its present form" in those time periods, the OT was written by Moses sometime between 1500-1300BC.
      Dates for the epic of gilgamesh vary, some estimates as early as 2100, some far later.

      So, I would say you are right on that.. There are more sources saying Gilgamesh is earlier..

      @ReligionIs4Dolts "With NO evidence you just SAY your "god" is the right one and that all others are "fake". That is not an argument.
      =>Evidence:

      1. The scientifically required necessity of an uncaused cause at the origin of the universe. The universe is expanding in all directions and cooling. Going backwards there was a point in time when the universe had infinite heat and density. Prior to this point in time (labeled a singularity) there was nothing. Not “something”, nothing. Science tells us that ALL matter and even time itself was CREATED at that point of rapid expansion. What caused this? What created everything from nothing? By definition whatever caused this expansion could not have itself had a prior cause (the infinite regression problem). Whatever caused it must have always existed. That is what physicists call the “uncaused cause”
      Everything which has a beginning has a cause.
      The universe has a beginning.
      Therefore the universe has a cause.

      Atheists who dont want to believe in an uncaused cause, are stuck with either the problem of an infinite regression, or believing that the universe was created out of nothing, by nothing.

      2. The phenomenal preciseness and delicate balance of the properties of the“big bang” expansion which was required to allow stars/planets to form. It didn’t just randomly explode, rather it expanded in such a precise manner that an infinitesimal change would have rendered a universe where matter was so spread out no formation of stars could have possibly occurred. Stephen Hawking has estimated that if the rate of expansion of the universe initially was slower by one in 100,000,000,000,000,000 (one hundred thousand million million), the universe would have collapsed on itself.
      A change in the strength of gravity of one part in 10^100 would have prevented star/planet formation. When you compare the range of possible values with the range of life permitting values you get unbelievably small values.

      3. The fact that the universe obeys laws and that science relies on that which it can not by definition EVER explain: "Science starts from the existence of those laws, can NOT EVER disprove God". – Leonard Mlodinow Co-author along with Stephen Hawkings of A Briefer History of Time.

      4. The fossil record which shows millions of years of stable species, then an explosion of necessary mutations, all occurring at the precise necessary time required for complex organisms to develop, and ALL escaping fossilization
      “the sudden appearance of most species in the geologic record and the lack of evidence of substantial gradual change in most species—from their initial appearance until their extinction—has long been noted, including by Charles Darwin who appealed to the imperfection of the record as the favored explanation” – Wikipedia

      Why does stasis dominate? Some species exist unchanged for hundreds of millions of years, what does that say about the ability of mutations to survive in a gene pool? Why are these extraordinarily long periods of stasis ALWAYS followed by innovative bursts in the fossil record?

      5. The historical evidence of Jesus Christ “Most critical historians agree that Jesus was a Galilean Jewish Rabbi who was regarded as a teacher and healer in Judaea,[18] that he was baptized by John the Baptist, and that he was crucified in Jerusalem on the orders of the Roman Prefect, Pontius Pilate, on the charge of sedition against the Roman Empire.[19] Critical Biblical scholars and historians have offered competing descriptions of Jesus as a self-described Messiah, as the leader of an apocalyptic movement, as an itinerant sage, as a charismatic healer, and as the founder of an independent religious movement.” –Wikipedia

      6. The historical facts regarding Jesus of Nazareth:
      a. Jesus was a real person
      b. Jesus claimed to be the son of the God of Abraham
      c. Jesus was killed for those claims
      d. Jesus was buried in a tomb.
      e. Three days later that tomb was found to be empty
      f. following that hundreds of people reported they witnessed the resurrected Jesus
      g. those same people were willing to go to their death rather than recant their belief in a resurrected Jesus Christ.

      7. The demonstrated historical accuracy of the biblical narrative in all accounts, the Gospel of Luke alone has hundreds of verified historical accuracies and has NO historical inaccuracies.

      8. The fact that we have a universal understanding of good and evil.
      – If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist.
      – Evil exists.
      – Therefore, objective moral values exist. (Some things are evil!)
      – Therefore, God exists.

      January 15, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      Chad, I am glad that you finally concede defeat on at least one topic, that of Gilgamesh vs. Noah. Now if Noah happens to be just another version of popular regional folklore, then what else in the Judaic tradition might be (1) borrowed or (2) incorrect? Did you ever read the bible from beginning to end with the purpose of trying to analyze one topic, say, the origins of “hell” in the text, the evolution of the concept of “hell”? If you had, you might notice that “hell” started out as “sheol,” a place for ALL dead regardless of moral character during this life. It wasn’t until later in the biblical timeline (much closer to, if not precisely in the New Testament) that “hell” started taking on the concept of eternal fiery punishment and such. And since we’re referencing Wikipedia, please search for “Sheol” and maybe even “Hades” while you’re in there. If the concept of hell could change over time, doesn’t this contradict one of the seemingly favorite claims in Christianity that god is unchanging? Why would god suddenly (or perhaps over the course of thousands of years) change the purpose of some alleged underworld? Not to mention that underworlds existed in Greek and Persian religions, for just two nearby examples.

      Now as to your other points, you are still making too many assumptions.
      “you didnt comment on the likely hood of illiterate goat herders 3500 years ago just happening to get the order exactly correct..”
      You have NO PROOF that this completely arbitrary order is correct. NONE. Which is why I postulated that you wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference if those ignorant goatherds had written it in a different arbitrary order.

      Infinite regression – you are stuck with the same puzzle. Who/what created god? Nothing could have existed if there weren’t something before god to create it.

      You should read Dawkins’ book that I listed above and you should reread my comments from above regarding fossil finds. The record is not complete because we have not and probably cannot ever find a “complete” record because (very importantly) the conditions that it requires for fossils to have been created are very specific (i.e., the right amount and the right type of sediments have to be available at the right time with all the right geological forces necessary to move said sediments into the right place in order to preserve bones, etc.) Such forces include floods, regular flows of rivers, earthquakes, etc. The list goes on and on beyond what I as a layman could explain, which is why you need to carefully read more literature before you go quoting random sources pretending to be intelligent.

      Almost without a doubt someone named Jesus lived in Galilee during Herod’s and Pilate’s reigns. No doubt this person caused a big stir, but the accounts of his actions are diverse and at times conflicting, and were FILTERED by Catholic opportunists, not to mention translated through more than one language from their originals. Not to mention they were written down decades AFTER any eyewitness accounts actually occurred. So how accurate could they be after all that? Claiming historical accuracy in regard to the fact that someone named Jesus existed and that someone named Jesus was killed brutally on a cross is WAY DIFFERENT than claiming accuracy of all accounts in those writings, such as alleged “miracles” which defy the laws of physics that you seem so ready to cite as part of your proofs.

      “The fact that we have a universal understanding of good and evil.”
      Morals are not absolute. Murder is not absolutely wrong. What about self-defense? What about war (I only mention this because Yahweh in the OT was so willing to have his Israeli children carry out wars in his name). Also “good” and “evil” are quite relative. What is “good” to a hungry lion is when it kills an antelope that was too slow to escape its pursuit, whereas that same act is “evil” to the antelope. See where I’m going with this? If you need a human example, just replace the antelope with an innocent hiker in the woods, and the lion with a momma bear frightened for her cubs.
      Religion is not necessary to teach ethics. Admittedly the fairy tale stories help children understand more readily, but even “Native Americans” had codes of ethics without ANY exposure to Israeli philosophy.

      I hope you see things differently now. If not, then maybe at least that seed of doubt about your precious Noah story will help you further question the origins of the mythology that you put so much stock in. Nice chatting with you, friend. Peace.

      January 16, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      OK, I'm apparently going to have to split this next message up since STUPID CNN's "bad words" filter keeps finding false positives and I'm getting tired of inserting hyphens.....

      CHAD:

      Sorry, I had meant for my last post to be final, but then I couldn’t resist destroying one of the other points that you seemed so adamant about.

      “Order of species appearance in Genesis: Plants-Fish-Birds-Land Animals (including reptiles)-Man”

      First these are not “species,” they are BROAD categories that would have so readily occurred to any ignorant goatherd who knew very little about the world. Where are the dinosaurs? Are you saying we have to believe that they MEANT dinosaurs to be reptiles or some general land animal? What about pterodactyls? They flew you know. What about birds that live on land and don’t fly? What about whales and dolphins? They are not fish. What about fish that can walk on land? What about microorgani-sms? Ancient people had NO IDEA that any of these tiny “creatures” existed! Regardless of that fact, where would a VIRUS be pigeonholed in your 5 broad categories? A virus is not even technically alive. What about ri-ckettsia, which is practically a hybrid between bacteria and virus? You cannot convince me that these ignorant biblical authors just happened to have MEANT..oh, just everything that’s out there.

      January 18, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      MAN I'D LIKE TO GET MY HANDS ON THAT IDIOT PROGRAMMER!!!!

      January 18, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      S-e-c-o-n-d, A-S-SU-M-I-N-G t-h-a-t t-h-e f-o-s-s-i-l r-e-c-o-r-d s-h-o-w-s a-n o-r-d-e-r v-a-g-u-e-l-y r-e-p-r-e-s-e-n-t-a-t-i-v-e o-f t-h-e a-r-b-i-t-r-a-r-y o-r-d-e-r t-h-a-t y-o-u l-i-k-e t-o d-e-f-e-n-d, p-l-e-a-s-e n-o-t-e t-h-e p-r-e-m-i-s-e, e-s-t-a-b-l-i-s-h-e-d b-y m-y-s-e-l-f a-n-d M-r. D-a-w-k-i-n-s, t-h-a-t t-h-e f-o-s-s-i-l r-e-c-o-r-d c-a-n-n-o-t b-e e-x-p-e-c-t-e-d t-o s-h-o-w a c-o-m-p-l-e-t-e r-e-p-r-e-s-e-n-t-a-t-i-o-n o-f A-L-L l-i-f-e f-o-r-m-s t-h-a-t e-v-e-r e-x-i-s-t-e-d. A-r-e w-e t-o b-e-l-i-e-v-e t-h-a-t a s-a-m-p-l-e o-f e-v-e-r-y p-o-s-s-i-b-l-e l-i-v-i-n-g t-h-i-n-g j-u-s-t h-a-p-p-e-n-e-d t-o g-e-t c-a-u-g-h-t i-n a l-a-n-d-s-l-i-d-e w-h-o-s-e c-h-e-m-i-c-a-l c-o-m-p-o-s-i-t-i-o-n w-a-s j-u-s-t s-u-c-h t-h-a-t f-o-s-s-i-l-s c-o-u-l-d b-e f-o-r-m-e-d w-i-t-h-o-u-t d-e-c-o-m-p-o-s-i-n-g? N-o, b-u-t a-s-s-u-m-i-n-g f-o-r t-h-e s-a-k-e o-f a-r-g-u-m-e-n-t t-h-a-t w-e c-o-u-l-d e-x-p-e-c-t s-u-c-h a m-i-r-a-c-l-e, t-h-i-n-k a-b-o-u-t t-h-e P-R-O-B-A-B-I-L-I-T-Y o-f b-e-i-n-g a-b-l-e t-o p-u-t 5 c-h-o-i-c-e-s i-n s-o-m-e “c-o-r-r-e-c-t” o-r-d-e-r. T-h-a-t’s m-e-r-e-l-y 120:1….v-e-r-y L-O-W o-d-d-s. A m-o-n-k-e-y c-o-u-l-d g-e-t t-h-e a-n-s-w-e-r “r-i-g-h-t” i-n v-e-r-y f-e-w t-r-i-e-s!

      January 18, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • tallulah13

      ReligionIs4Dolts:

      I made the same mistake of trying to discuss reality with Chad, but he isn't interested in reality. He has found a fairy tale that he likes better, therefore things like truth bounce off of him like ping-pong balls off the floor.

      January 18, 2012 at 10:51 am |
  20. b4bigbang

    Jim

    "... I think that many religious folks were heavily indoctrinated, and were too intimidated or fearful to take a hard look at the core of their faith. Science is advancing quickly, and it is getting harder for the religious to ignore the mounting evidence that contradicts the teaching of the church."

    Actually, it's the other way around re science. Look up Antony Flew, a brilliant atheist with a scientific mind. He converted to a belief in ID based on the science.
    There are many others in the scientific community that believe, and not necessarily because of indoctrination.
    Myself, for example. I was agnostic until the age of 24.

    January 14, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Ironicus

      And how old are you now?

      January 14, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • cigarlover6

      Did some tragic event led you to the beliefland, where you are (Where the weak minded were already there)?

      January 14, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Jim

      The US is one of the last Industrialized countries left with a heavily religious population. Most developed nations of the world have abandoned religion in large numbers. There is some controversy regarding Antony Flew, as he professed this allegiance to Deism in his 80's in a book he co-authored. If he became a Deist near the end of his life, good for him. The secular world is growing, with the exception of some developing areas, such as the middle east. It is only a matter of time until we finally abandon ancient beliefs for good.

      January 14, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • Chad

      "It is only a matter of time until we finally abandon ancient beliefs for good"

      always makes me smile when I see someone making that claim.
      Every year we uncover more archeological evidence validating the historical details in the bible
      Every year we uncover more evidence of the reliability of the transmission of the biblical text intact through 4000 years.
      Every year we learn more and more about how fine tuned the origin of the universe is, and how impossible it is that it could have just occurred by chance.
      Every year we uncover more fossil evidence enforcing the evidence for species remaining in stable condition for millions of years, then new species appearing fully formed in the fossil record..

      It was only 20 years ago Darwins notion of gradualism (touted as the final death knell for God) was finally abandoned by a biased scientific community more than willing to ignore the plain evidence of stasis in the fossil record for 120 years.

      I cant wait to see what tomorrow brings 🙂

      January 14, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • no

      nope.

      January 14, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      Chad your "arguments" are laughable, especially since you mention both "4000 years" and "millions of years". You seem partially educated but yet unable to understand that just because no "transitional fossils" have been found yet, does not mean they won't turn up at some point (since digging them out is an extremely tedious chore and they don't necessarily have to be sitting right next to fossilized life forms that they evolved from....and there is always the very likely possibility that not all lifeforms will be found in fossilized form because it takes very special circu-mstances in which to form fossils). Furthermore, there is a distinct possibility that "transitional fossils" may never be found as a piece of the puzzle because it is entirely possible within Darwinian theory for sudden changes to have occurred without leaving any evidence of transition. Please read Richard Dawkins' book "The Blind Watchmaker." Lastly, how do you explain Neanderthals, which according to the fossil record and accompanying carbon dating techniques, are no less than 30000 years old....and that modern humans, according to the fossil records and according to modern DNA tracing, have shown that these two similar yet disparate members of our species interbred at some point? Were Neanderthals meant to be "saved from h&ll" too? If so, then obviously "god" missed the boat by a long shot! If not, then why are we interbred with them? Why were all the modern humans that lived before Jesus' time doomed to h&ll?

      January 14, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • Jim

      @ReligionIs4Dolts, hold on, there are a myriad of transitional fossils. Do a little research, there's a lot of great info out there...

      January 14, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • Chad

      @ReligionIs4Dolts "your "arguments" are laughable, especially since you mention both "4000 years""
      =>actually, you are correct there. Moses wrote the OT 3500 years ago..

      @ReligionIs4Dolts " and "millions of years".
      "The sudden appearance of most species in the geologic record and the lack of evidence of substantial gradual change in most species—from their initial appearance until their extinction (millions of years)—has long been noted, including by Charles Darwin who appealed to the imperfection of the record as the favored explanation" Wikipedia

      @ReligionIs4Dolts "You seem partially educated but yet unable to understand that just because no "transitional fossils" have been found yet, does not mean they won't turn up at some point"
      =>Darwin shared your same hope, alas, it has been dashed..
      “the sudden appearance of most species in the geologic record and the lack of evidence of substantial gradual change in most species—from their initial appearance until their extinction—has long been noted, including by Charles Darwin who appealed to the imperfection of the record as the favored explanation” – Wikipedia

      "“The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology.”" -Stephen Gould

      You would have us believe that of the millions of species, every single transitional form escaped fossilization?

      @ReligionIs4Dolts "Lastly, how do you explain Neanderthals, which according to the fossil record and accompanying carbon dating techniques, are no less than 30000 years old....and that modern humans, according to the fossil records and according to modern DNA tracing, have shown that these two similar yet disparate members of our species interbred at some point? Were Neanderthals meant to be "saved from h&ll" too? If so, then obviously "god" missed the boat by a long shot! If not, then why are we interbred with them? Why were all the modern humans that lived before Jesus' time doomed to h&ll?"
      =>not sure what your point of Neanderthals is.. Your basic question seems to be did all people who died before Jesus Christ was born go to h%ll?
      Answer is I dont believe so, the bible says that Jesus preached to the dead after his burial and before His resurrection. They would have a chance at that point to accept Christ.

      January 14, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • Chad

      "there are a myriad of transitional fossils. Do a little research, there's a lot of great info out there..."

      =>always one sure fire answer to that as sertion: "please provide one example"

      phylogenesis was a planned sequence, evolutionary gradualism is still embraced only because the only alternative is creationism.

      January 14, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • JohnR

      Chad is so illiterate that he still doesn't understand that the much alluded to RELATIVE paucity of transitional fossils has only to do with forms intermediate between too immediately related and therefore massive similar species. When you talk about long evolutionary trends, many, many species are themselves transitional between what there was before and what came later. It's a paleontological needle thread to get fossils intermediate between to immediately related (mother-daughter) species. Even so, some examples have indeed come to light. But there are examples galore of long term evolutionary trends and therefore of species that fall in various intermediate spots between where the trend started and where it ended up.

      Chad doesn't read science. So he doesn't understand it. He reads nothing but Christian apologetics in a flailing attempt to bolster his faith that he is favored by god for having butt kissed him according to proper biblical protocol (as his particular sects sees it, anyway!). The Chads of this world are themselves examples of cultural evolutionary stasis.

      January 15, 2012 at 7:46 am |
    • Chad

      "examples please" , it's like kryptonite for atheists 🙂

      @JohnR "much alluded to RELATIVE paucity of transitional fossils has only to do with forms intermediate between too immediately related and therefore massive similar species. "
      =>translation "we have all kinds of cats and tigers fossils, doesn't that prove evolution!!
      answer.. no

      phylogenesis was a planned sequence, evolutionary gradualism is still embraced only because the only alternative is creationism. The fossil record reflects this see: Punctuated equilibrium and stasis.

      "The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persist as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils ….We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life's history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we never see the very process we profess to study." – Stephen J. Gould –

      @JohnR "But there are examples galore of long term evolutionary trends and therefore of species that fall in various intermediate spots between where the trend started and where it ended up."
      =>well then, it should be extremely easy for you to provide some examples 🙂
      which.. you wont..
      why?

      January 15, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Theta

      @Chad-Brilliant as usual! 🙂

      January 15, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Funny. I thought I was a christian until the age of 40 or so, when I realized that my belief was merely a habit I formed growing up in a religious area. It took me a few years to make the final step to true atheism, but I'd like to thank all you christians out there for making it possible, by showing exactly how irrational and fantasy-based religion truly is.

      I probably never would have made that final steps without christians like you, Chad, because when I read these attempts to shoehorn science into religion, I realize that the bible is simply wrong - relevant only as a collection of mythology.

      January 18, 2012 at 11:01 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
Advertisement
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.