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April 8th, 2012
05:22 PM ET

Tebow talks faith during Easter event in Texas

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - After being all football in his last press conference following his trade to the New York Jets, Tim Tebow on Sunday was all about his faith, which he discussed at length with a Texas pastor during an Easter event.

The New York Jets quarterback was greeted by shrieks and cheers as he took the stage on the sprawling Celebration Church campus in Georgetown, about 25 miles north of the state capital of Austin.

After some playful banter with senior pastor Joe Champion - who asked the former Florida Gator to don a football helmet from his alma mater, Louisiana State University - Tebow began answering questions about his faith and how his openness about it has become a frequently dissected topic in sports and society at large.

The Heisman Trophy winner and outspoken evangelical Christian said that he wasn't sure why he has become such a focal point for his faith. Nor did he have an easy explanation as to why Tebowing, the act of getting down on one knee and praying, went viral - with people doing it on mountaintops, under the sea and most anywhere in between.

CNN's Belief Blog – the faith angles behind the biggest stories

"I really don't think that I was the first athlete to get down on one knee and pray," said Tebow, who is known to do so on the football field. "I've actually had the same routine the last several years and, just this year, they started calling it Tebowing. ... I have no idea why."

The quarterback recalled how, during one game last season, a Detroit Lions defensive player stood over him and began Tebowing after tackling him. He said he wasn't sure if the act was meant to mock him, but still called it "flattering" because the opposing player, whether he realized it or not, was praying - something that Tebow believes is a good thing, wherever it's done.

Beyond his exploits at the University of Florida and more recently in the NFL with the Denver Broncos, nowadays Tebow is known as much for his outward expression of faith as for his football.

It began in Gainesville, where he led the Gators to two national championships while etching Bible verses into the eyeblack he wore on game days. In Denver, his jersey was one of the league's hottest sellers, even before he started regularly for the team, in large part due to his immense popularity among Christians.

"I'm just so blessed to have a platform so when cameras are rolling, they can't just turn it off," he told Champion. "They have to hear me say, 'I have to thank my lord and savior, Jesus Christ.'"

But it's also made Tebow a lightning rod of sorts, with some questioning whether he should be talking more about football and less about his faith, as well as a fixture in popular culture. In one "Saturday Night Live" skit, a character portraying Jesus goes into the Broncos' locker room saying he doesn't want to have to "bail out" the team every week and praising their upcoming foe, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, as a "miracle worker."

Tebow said Sunday that he takes the attention in stride, saying that anything that gets people thinking about faith is a positive.

"When it's being talked about, that means it's being contemplated by people," he said. "And that's a good thing."

And believing personally that his fate is in God's hands gives Tebow comfort and joy, he said, and helps him remain optimistic and energized while tackling most any challenge.

As important as football is to him, Tebow said he feels wholeheartedly that following God's path is more so.

"Whatever happens in life - good or bad, whether you're the hero or the goat, whether you like it or not - you know that someone has a plan for your life, and it's a special plan," Tebow said. "When you trust that and you have hope in that, then you have peace in all decisions and everything you do. And it brings a lot of joy to your life."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity

soundoff (355 Responses)
  1. RedGrant

    Atheists are complete D O U C H E B A G S.

    April 8, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • atroy

      No I'm not...but you have a blessed day anyway...ok.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • Jim Brennan

      Great coverage on Teebow, a man that points his success to Jesus!
      We sooo need more positive role models in sports.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
  2. REB

    If prayer helps someone feel better or the belief in a deity makes someone feel better about who they are are – great and they are welcome to their opinion just as the opposite is true as well. One's faith, or lack of faith is their own to share, or keep private about – there is no need to bash either side. Having faith in God, or Jesus does not make one to be reviled, it what we do with our faith that sets us apart; and yes there are good and bad in any faith/non-faith group. So, why focus on someone else and rant about them? Because we are vain, proud, and condemn the next guy before we look within our own selves to see that we have harmed someone else. Faith just helps with some guidelines for our behavior whereas, society tells us how to behave. I am glad to not be some of the hateful posters to this article. Proof that hate is universal, and society accepts it. I don't know, but if prayer guides me to being better than a hate monger, I'm all for it.

    April 8, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • Religion

      Believing in fairy tales is not a good way to go through life.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  3. LP

    tebow (referring to the Detroit Lions player who dropped to one knee after tacking tebow): "the opposing player, whether he realized it or not, was praying". Really? Aren't there thoughts and perhaps words involved? If all it takes is being on one knee, my lawn is gonna be fabulous because I spent four hours crawling around edging it yesterday!

    April 8, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
  4. sqeptiq

    When you know that someone has a plan for your life then there is peace in your decisions....because they have already been decided by someone else.

    April 8, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
  5. Riley

    Awesome Tim Tebow. God Bless!

    April 8, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
  6. Wow

    It shocks me to see such repulsive comments on both sides of this conversation. Tim Tebow is just a football player with a particular faith. He's not imposing his views or beliefs on anyone by speaking at a church....other than people who wanted to be there. I don't understand all the hateful comments toward him. Likewise....why would anyone respond to the hateful comments with more hate? To me....if the choice is to hate someone just for their faith...then I would rather chose to be on Tim Tebow's side than hate someone just because of their faith....otherwise....what's next? Do we hate everyone of every faith? Do we just hate anyone with different views than our own? Or do we just hate everyone? Sounds like a miserable existence to me. All this hate talk made me realize I want to learn more about what Tim Tebow is talking about...it seems he's the only one modeling the behavior I would most like to live myself.

    April 8, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • ????

      Would you feel the same if he was Islam and spread a prayer rug after each touchdown?

      April 8, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
  7. Reality

    Dear Timmy T,

    Welcome to the 21st century with a bit of realism:

    Putting all holy weeks in proper perspective:

    ONLY FOR THE NEWCOMERS:

    Putting the final kibosh on religion to include Mormonism:

    • There was probably no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • There was probably no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added references are available.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    April 8, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • RedGrant

      You must have too much time on your hands. Try whacking it with the left hand to explore new frontiers.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • Jason

      Lack of proof is not the same thing as disproof. Faith is about believing what your eyes cannot see and fingers cannot touch. You live only in your two shoes, not Tim Tebow's two shoes. You lack of experiencing the living God is a direct result of your inability to believe unless you have proof. You have to step out on faith to understand who God is.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Joeeeee

      You can never disprove something that nobody can see, touch, smell, detect.....One other thing. You can't prove it either. I'm fine with you or anyone else believing in such things. However don't come after me for believing in science, physics, evolution. Things that can be and have been proven.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
  8. Geoff

    That he would show up at a sleazy snake oil megachurch speak volumes to his motivation. Its not about Jesus or any other magical diety...its all about him.

    April 8, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
  9. vancouveral

    It always makes me laugh when Christians claim that their God has singled them out for special treatment, they never explain why their neighbor or fellow worker is not equally blessed. It is so easy to use religion to endorse your beliefs when times are good but neglect to blame the same religion when things go wrong. And Christians wonder why we call them hypocrits

    April 8, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • Me

      God does bless everyone. Just that there are those who don't associate God with that blessing.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Me

      There are Christians that do understand that hardtimesalso come from God. Look at Saul now Paul who was put in chains for the Gospel and killed. Look at his writings

      April 8, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • junepark27

      That's incorrect. Christians believe that BOTH bad and good come from God. Just that their point of view of the bad things is a trial. A trial to get them closer to God. Now you may argue that they're just playing with their minds, but the point is Christians aren't contradicting themselves by associating only good with God. Should educate yourself more before commenting.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
  10. Me

    I love Jesus

    April 8, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
  11. James C Edgar

    I am so torn. Freedom of religion is really freedom of thought, assembly and speech – so that is way too cool. Believing – evidently fervently – that a radical rabbi challenged authority and managed to get himself nailed for his efforts thus making him a messiah, is obviously ludicrous. There is one thing on which you can count – When you are dead your are dead. Taking this blind faith stuff onto the football field, where a whole bunch of concussed weight lifters pray to have their god take the point spread, or overlook it, is just, well, silly. Mr. Tebow needs to grow up and realize that when he is on the field his is at work. Be a professional. If the chick down the hall went into prayer every time she hit a memo, she would be fired. Much like Tebow, I guess.

    April 8, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Me

      Not dead

      April 8, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      While i disagree w/you re the afterlife, i do tend to agree w/you re tebowing and the whole prof sport thing in general....

      April 8, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • smh4

      The chick down the hall doesn't sell jerseys.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  12. tony

    No religion works here without a big collection plate and tax exempt profits. Make both those illegal and see how many US "Christian" pastors and talking heads stay on the job. Anne Coulter might just have to go get some honest work for a change.

    April 8, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Me

      Hey just because you don't know why people give you don't need to mock it.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
  13. Mr Chihuahua

    Happy Easter, Tebow! I hope your Easter eggs give you salmonella lol!

    April 8, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • JP

      Tebow could beat the sh1t out of you f@ggot.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
  14. paul.cos

    Way to go tim,god couldnt stop you from being traded,hell he couldnt even give you an arm to throw a football with,couldnt get you a super bowl ring,...so what else has god done for you?

    April 8, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • Me

      You are, so wrong.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • JP

      He's sure done more than you, ya d-bag piece of sh1t....

      April 8, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
  15. tony

    We -call it genuflecting when you enter a pew in a Catholic (or most other churches). Just been going for a few hundred years (maybe 2000). But the media is a profession that has no memory of history or even recent events. So every belated copy of a normal event becomes new and exciting for the especially irrelevant sports media morons.

    April 8, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  16. JP

    God Bless Tim Tebow. He is everything the Jewish power structure hates - a white, Christian, physically superior man.

    April 8, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • tony

      Errr, I think we are actually subjects of said middle eastern power.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • paul.cos

      jesus was a jew and so were his followers

      April 8, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • JP

      Jesus was not a Jew you fool - the Jews KILLED HIM! He was a Judean, and his religion was that of the Israelite's of the Old Testament (as opposed to that of the Jews, who followed the Talmud and kabbala). You're an idiot, plz do research before you come on here and talk out of your @ss.

      Middle eastern power? Idiot! USA is 100 percent jew controlled.

      April 8, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
  17. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    April 8, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Jesus

      ~Prayer doesn’t not; you are so full of crap and lies. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!"~. . ..

      April 8, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • tony

      10,000th automatic post and lie?. Do you think God runs on cruise control like you? You probably break the 9th commandment more often that one of Satan's best sinners.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • Kandi

      "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things"

      Show me proof it does, show me proof it doesn't.

      But until then, I don't believe it does. If there was a god, people wouldn't be dying at the hands of others.

      Praying is a coward's way to face the truth.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • Timetowinialwayswin

      lol 9 out of 10 people that regular these christian posts are anti-theists claiming to be "free thinkers" or "atheists". Good job. They're now throwing tempertantrums. it's fun to read.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • paul.cos

      being a drone is not healthy for children and living things

      April 8, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
  18. Jose S.

    Prayers only work for those that collect the money you give them for their prayers! Send me $9.95 and I will pray...that you send me another $9.95

    Then I will make lots of money, get my tent, buy TV cameras, go on the air, make lots of money, guy a Learjet or a Gulfstream 350 and travel around the world with my call girls and a bottle of Jack Daniels.

    Thanks for your prayers!

    April 8, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  19. ohtheirony

    ... yet everyone read the article. For or against him he just keeps making you guys look stupid. Well tim tebow says this ... rabble rabble rabble, god doesnt exist your faith is a fallacy, Tim Tebow has a crappy nfl career ... i am sorry you play fantasy football but Tim's thrown actual nfl touchdowns ... he makes more money than you and he dates hotter women and I am sure his house and car are better than yours. If all your going to do is attack the one thing that he is most passionate for, I think your wasting energy. For the record ... I don't even like Tim Tebow, he beat my bears last year. I am just tired of seeing people complain about him when you actively clicked on a link to read about him ... irony? That's exactly what he is saying in the article. Stop being trolls.

    April 8, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Tebow has become more of a sideshow than an NFL quarterback. I think the greater question here is why CNN found this story newsworthy.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Robert

      I clicked the link for a laugh. Got a bunch too!

      Prayers work?? Okay, all you hypocrites pray for Newt to be the next president! Not!

      April 8, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • tony

      I didn't read the article. They are all the same tomfoolery. I just post awkward questions or obvious but uncomforting conclusions to mainstream US religious belief.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Mercy

      @Robert. For a laugh indeed! You are booking for something. Admit it and stop being a hypocrite.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
  20. pfunk

    Why do so many people mock tebow for displaying his faith like he does? So what, you don't have to listen to him or even follow what he does. I'm by no means a religious person, but if he has the balls to display his faith like he does in front of millions of viewers and never says a single negative thing about any of the horrible things that people say about him or his faith, then he is more of a man than anyone who mocks him or what he believes in. If there is a god, he's wearing orange and blue.

    April 8, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Because he does it on a NFL football field, in front of a stadium crowd of thousands, and a potential TV crowd of millions. That sort of public display is anything but humble. Humility is a quiet prayer on the sidelines. Tebow seems to seek attention and praise for what is a private act, and he has certainly received that attention and praise from his fawning christian fans.

      I watch sports for the game. I have no interest in any self-serving display while watching a team sport, be it an end zone dance, or an excessive gesture of personal faith.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • tintin

      well said tallulah13

      April 8, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Me

      There is also a time to publicly display

      April 8, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
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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.