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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. mfx3

    Why is it Christians cling so aggressively to symbols, idols, and relics while ignoring the only thing "God" actually gave them–a blueprint for improving one's own life by serving and caring about others?

    April 9, 2012 at 12:29 am |
  2. tony

    I can bring a repeatable demo of many of the laws of physics to a debate. No-one in the World can yet bring a demo of any godly act to a debate or anywhere else. No godly evidence, most likely no god.

    April 9, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • The truth hurts

      Evidence and reason are, for obvious reasons, ignored when discussing gods. None other than the founding father of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther had this to say:

      "Reason must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed. Faith must trample underfoot all reason, sense, and understanding, and whatever it sees must be put out of sight and ... know nothing but the word of God."

      April 9, 2012 at 1:03 am |
  3. generalidea

    Has any one quoted Mathew 6:5?

    April 8, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
  4. Political Gods

    I blame Zimmerman!

    April 8, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
  5. abcontador

    It is time to get rid of Christianity - for the rest of my life I will do anything I can to minimize and diffuse it

    April 8, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • Genia

      You can't get rid of God, but he can get rid of you.They tried to snuff out Jesus and look what happened-they just cannot do it.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • FollowMe

      Go ahead and give it your best shot dude. People have been "trying" to do just that for centuries. You'll be gone before Christianity is. Unfortunately for you thought, that everyone has eternal life. Question is: where will you spend eternity?

      April 8, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • tony

      Thanks to the US evangelical nut jobs, it's getting rid of itself.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:28 am |
  6. Anna

    I find many self-proclaimed evangelicals to be self-righteous, judgmental and highly hypocritical. But this man seems to truly believe what he is stating and he has every right to use his public status to proclaim his beliefs, as long as they are not racist or profane, or cruel. I'm happy when celebrities use their fame to support a cause, protest a war, etc. Why isn't this man allowed to do the same? He is not hurting anyone.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • longtooth

      I'm with you, Anna. I'm not religious, but I am open-minded, and I like this guy's brand of spirituality. I'm a Patriots fan, so I wish him well, except when he plays against us.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:27 am |
  7. mbhrdh

    ..another idol for the christians.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • Rami

      you mean another con artist.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • kerri

      Your just jealous, awww grab a life

      April 8, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • sayjay

      Why do you even care???

      April 8, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
  8. Rami

    A good way to make my millions. Nuts are buying this crap. My god, its show time...

    April 8, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
  9. tony

    There is no god more powerful than "THE HOLY COLLECTION PLATE"

    April 8, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • chris

      is there an echo in here or are you just repeating your one sole thought?

      April 8, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • kerri

      This is for everyone who criticizes Tim!!!! GRAB A LIFE, he grabbed one and all your little comments will be forgotten and Tim Tebow's name will not!! At least he is a man of integrity,discipline, and he went after his dreams all you have is this idea that you have things worth saying!!!! TIm just goes on with his life and all you do is PRETEND that you have one. AWWWWW!!! Sorry to burst your pathetic bubble!!!!

      April 8, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • sayjay

      Humorous to see the people who are so 'enlightened' be the ones that bark the loudest and supposed 'imaginary' things.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
  10. Carl

    Why doesn't anyone ask him what he does if he ever gets excited, in the erogenous zone? The guy is a virgin, but human, right?

    I hope he does more than pray at that moment, cause a stiiffy if not properly taken care of is a very blue event, so to speak

    April 8, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • chris

      Carl – glue is for pasting the pictures you drew of your mommy and daddy in school on your wall at home.. its not for sniffing and especially not for eating either.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • Juanita

      Why do you care about that?!

      April 9, 2012 at 12:32 am |
  11. jeff henderson

    Tebow does make you swallow his beliefs, does not cram it down your throat. He does not condem you non believers for not believing as he believes. He lives his beliefs as you live yours. IF you cannot speak kindly of any thing or any one, why speak at all? He only speaks when questioned. He does not go around shouting his beliefs. If you really examine his life, he does not flaunt his belief. Just lives it as you live your un belief.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • glorydays

      Making money from selling religion is cool....

      April 8, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • tony

      All religion is sold for money – Collection Plates rule!

      April 8, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • Sonshine

      Well said Jeff, but just remember, they talk that way and think that way because they do not know "The Way"; so let's pray for them so they will : )

      April 8, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • Anna

      I have to agree with you. And and I do not share Tebow's beliefs.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • @youignantdotcom

      "IF you cannot speak kindly of any thing or any one, why speak at all?"

      Cuz I iive in America and have free speech?

      April 9, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  12. calvin

    Is that all Tebow is good for... Tebowing and talking ?? How about some real ministry where he actually does something to help the needy ?? Guess the answer is: yes, all he's good for is tebowing and talking, oh...and trying to play football.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • jgar

      Um... if you don't think Tebow does any real ministry, you don't know much about him. Look it up some time.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Juanita

      Why do you care?!

      April 9, 2012 at 12:30 am |
  13. Use your brain

    And in other news, my first grader talks about Harry Potter.

    Who care what Tebow says.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Te-who?

      April 8, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Me

      I agree.... Who gives a crap what Teblow has to say! He sucks!

      April 8, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Philly

      Love Tebow what he stands for. Great role model....nuff said.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Tamika

      Then why, oh, why are you reading and going to the effort of commenting on a story about Tebow, who you don't care about? Don't be jealous. Make your own way in whatever you put your mind to do and do your best to succeed in that. Then you will be able to be happy when nice guys like Tebow don't finish last. Peace.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • chris

      yawn... petty, jealous people and their comments bore me.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • Les

      The sun was out today. News at dawn.

      Do folks really think that Deity, if it exists, cares about football? There is absolutely no mention of any type of sports in the Xtian scriptures.

      I think Mr. T would better serve his public (few that there are) by concentrating on the game and leaving his god to take care of the sick, the poor and the homeless. Something that Mr. T seems to have no interest in. Instead he plays juvenile games and gallops around the country offending non-Xtians with his banal prattling pretending to be God's gift to (evil)angelism. Grow up and get a real job.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • gator

      love tebow as a football player but that is what he is! He has no more credibilty than a pastor in average church.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
  14. glorydays

    Using religion seems to be a great source of income.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • jgar

      Tebow wasn't getting paid anything when he was "using" religion in college. Just sayin.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
  15. heyheyhey

    Faith and football hahaha cracks me up. What has this man done, feed the hungry, helped the poor? Your peoples idols crack me up. He goes to get manicures spends his money on himself lol. sad religious people.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • jbro

      Why, yes, he actually does feed the poor, and help the sick. He is currently working on opening another (the 13th) hospital in poor areas around the world, and also operates an ophanage.

      http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ycn-10587089

      It truly baffles me that so many people have such vitriole for someone who does nothing more than live out his beliefs on a daily basis. Should he be ashamed of his beliefs, or try to hide them, simply because he is a public figure? If you don't agree with him, fine. But why attack him for sharing his faith? Things are seriously mixed up in our country if Tebow is seen as someone who should be scorned, when so many other pro athletes abuse drugs, abuse their wives, abuse animals, and commit crimes on a regular basis yet the public seems to be just fine with overlooking that behavior.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  16. Dan

    Tim Tebow , Lindsay Lohan, Octomom, and Kate Gosselin have a lot in common. They are all women that need to get out of the public spotlight.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Me

      Yeah Really!!!! Glad someone sees it like I do!!

      April 8, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • Les

      Therein lies Mr. T's problem. Too many side ways glances in the locker room and boom he has to pray in public to assuage his guilt. A clear case of frustrated orientation.

      BTW, for all you Xtians out there- the Bible specifically FORBIDS public prayer. You are to pray in secret and not be like the Pharasees. Look it up and practice it.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • jbro

      Why, yes, he actually does feed the poor, and help the sick. He is currently working on opening another (the 13th) hospital in poor areas around the world, and also operates an ophanage.

      http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ycn-10587089

      It truly baffles me that so many people have such vitriole for someone who does nothing more than live out his beliefs on a daily basis. Should he be ashamed of his beliefs, or try to hide them, simply because he is a public figure? If you don't agree with him, fine. But why attack him for sharing his faith? Things are seriously mixed up in our country if Tebow is seen as someone who should be scorned, when so many other pro athletes abuse drugs, abuse their wives, abuse animals, and commit crimes on a regular basis yet the public seems to be just fine with overlooking that behavior.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  17. jim

    I have to laugh at people that attack religon, nothing else better to do, People just can't leave other's alone if they don't understand it.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • glorydays

      You can have your fairy tales. Let me live in reality without your beliefs being shoved down my throat.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Then keep your fairy-tales out of my childrens' schools!

      April 8, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • jgar

      glory days,

      You clicking on a link you clearly knew the content of and reading the article is shoved down your throat? Seems like a choice to me.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • chris

      im not very religious myself and have not been 'saved' – however, i do have enough respect and consideration for other people and their beliefs not to jump down their throat and belittle them because they have a faith that i dont have. I would feel it would make me sound ignorant and very small minded.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Latina_for_Christ

      No fairy tale...Did you know that Jesus fulfilled hundreds of prophecies written (which cannot be changed) hundreds of years before He even appeared on this earth to fulfill them? Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in the New Testament.

      I ask because most people reject Christ without researching and following the evidence wherever that leads. Here are only 44 of the 100s fulfilled, by the Messiah. Research it for yourself. The Christian faith is sound and based on evidence that can be proven. Jesus said: "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." If the prophecies are true, you may want to consider what Jesus said and take it seriously.

      44 Prophecies Jesus Christ Fulfilled
      1. Messiah would be born of a woman. PROPHECIED in: Genesis 3:15 FULFILLED in: Matthew 1:20, Galatians 4:4
      2 Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Micah 5:2 FULFILLED in:Matthew 2:1,Luke 2:4-6
      3 Messiah would be born of a virgin. Isaiah 7:14 FULFILLED in:Matthew 1:22-23, Luke 1:26-31
      4 Messiah would come from the line of Abraham. Genesis 12:3,Genesis 22:18 FULFILLED: Matthew 1:1, Romans 9:5
      5 Messiah would be a descendant of Isaac. Genesis 17:19, Genesis 21:12 FULFILLED: Luke 3:34
      6 Messiah would be a descendant of Jacob. Numbers 24:17 FULFILLED: Matthew 1:2
      7 Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah. Genesis 49:10 FULFILLED: Luke 3:33, Hebrews 7:14
      8 Messiah would be heir to King David's throne. 2 Samuel 7:12-13, Isaiah 9:7 FULFILLED: Luke 1:32-33, Romans 1:3
      9 Messiah's throne will be anointed and eternal. Psalm 45:6-7, Daniel 2:44 FULFILLED: Luke 1:33, Hebrews 1:8-12
      10 Messiah would be called Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14 FULFILLED: Matthew 1:23
      11 Messiah would spend a season in Egypt. Hosea 11:1 FULFILLED: Matthew 2:14-15
      12 A massacre of children would happen at Messiah's birthplace. Jeremiah 31:15 FULFILLED: Matthew 2:16-18
      13 A messenger would prepare the way for Messiah Isaiah 40:3-5 FULFILLED: Luke 3:3-6
      14 Messiah would be rejected by his own people. Psalm 69:8, Isaiah 53:3 FULFILLED:John 1:11, John 7:5
      15 Messiah would be a prophet. Deuteronomy 18:15 FULFILLED: Acts 3:20-22
      16 Messiah would be preceded by Elijah. Malachi 4:5-6 FULFILLED: Matthew 11:13-14
      17 Messiah would be declared the Son of God. Psalm 2:7 FULFILLED: Matthew 3:16-17
      18 Messiah would be called a Nazarene. Isaiah 11:1 FULFILLED: Matthew 2:23
      19 Messiah would bring light to Galilee. Isaiah 9:1-2 FULFILLED: Matthew 4:13-16
      20 Messiah would speak in parables. Psalm 78:2-4, Isaiah 6:9-10 FULFILLED: Matthew 13:10-15, 34-35
      21 Messiah would be sent to heal the brokenhearted. Isaiah 61:1-2 FULFILLED: Luke 4:18-19
      22 Messiah would be a priest after the order of Melchizedek. Psalm 110:4 FULFILLED: Hebrews 5:5-6
      23 Messiah would be called King. Psalm 2:6, Zechariah 9:9 FULFILLED: Matthew 27:37, Mark 11:7-11
      24 Messiah would be praised by little children. Psalm 8:2 FULFILLED: Matthew 21:16
      25 Messiah would be betrayed. Psalm 41:9, Zechariah 11:12-13 FULFILLED: Luke 22:47-48, Matthew 26:14-16
      26 Messiah's price money would be used to buy a potter's field. Zechariah 11:12-13 FULFILLED:Matthew 27:9-10
      27 Messiah would be falsely accused. Psalm 35:11 FULFILLED: Mark 14:57-58
      28 Messiah would be silent before his accusers. Isaiah 53:7 FULFILLED: Mark 15:4-5
      29 Messiah would be spat upon and struck. Isaiah 50:6 FULFILLED: Matthew 26:67
      30 Messiah would be hated without cause. Psalm 35:19, Psalm 69:4 FULFILLED: John 15:24-25
      31 Messiah would be crucified with criminals. Isaiah 53:12 FULFILLED: Matthew 27:38, Mark 15:27-28
      32 Messiah would be given vinegar to drink. Psalm 69:21 FULFILLED: Matthew 27:34, John 19:28-30
      33 Messiah's hands and feet would be pierced. Psalm 22:16 ,Zechariah 12:10 FULFILLED: John 20:25-27
      34 Messiah would be mocked and ridiculed. Psalm 22:7-8 FULFILLED: Luke 23:35
      35 Soldiers would gamble for Messiah's garments. Psalm 22:18 FULFILLED: Luke 23:34, Matthew 27:35-36
      36 Messiah's bones would not be broken. Exodus 12:46, Psalm 34:20 FULFILLED: John 19:33-36
      37 Messiah would be forsaken by God. Psalm 22:1 FULFILLED: Matthew 27:46
      38 Messiah would pray for his enemies. Psalm 109:4 FULFILLED: Luke 23:34
      39 Soldiers would pierce Messiah's side. Zechariah 12:10 FULFILLED: John 19:34
      40 Messiah would be buried with the rich. Isaiah 53:9 FULFILLED: Matthew 27:57-60
      41 Messiah would resurrect from the dead. Psalm 16:10, Psalm 49:15 FULFILLED: Matthew 28:2-7, Acts 2:22-32
      42 Messiah would ascend to heaven. Psalm 24:7-10 FULFILLED: Mark 16:19, Luke 24:51
      43 Messiah would be seated at God's right hand. Psalm 68:18, Psalm 110:1 FULFILLED: Mark 16:19, Matthew 22:44
      44 Messiah would be a sacrifice for sin. Isaiah 53:5-12 FULFILLED: Romans 5:6-8

      April 8, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Les

      Those "prophecies" are very broad and can be interpreted to apply to any so called Messiah (of which there were several). Also your "proof" rests on the presumption that the King James Bible is the word of God, which is questionable at best.

      Mithra, Krishna and several other vir-gin born deities just as easily fit almost every item in your post regarding the "prophesies". You really need to get an education.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • Lol

      Small problem:
      it's all lies.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • Latina_for_Christ

      Les, unlike Mitrha, Krishna, Jesus' grave is EMPTY. He proved He is God by physically rising from the dead. He also predicted He would physically rise from the dead on the third Day...as in Sunday (resurrection Sunday/Easter).

      Have you actually researched this or are you repeating what you've heard? I took the time to research Jesus because it is my life and my future at stake, not my professors. Please do an honest examination of the evidence for Christ and don't be afraid to follow it where it leads you.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • @youignantdotcom

      "No fairy tale...Did you know that Jesus fulfilled hundreds of prophecies written (which cannot be changed) hundreds of years before He even appeared on this earth to fulfill them? Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in the New Testament."

      Yeah because PEOPLE wrote those words so they would coincide. We can agree that the NT was written after the OT, right? It's not that hard to believe that the NT would fulfill prophecies in the OT to trick people like you into thinking it's divine when it's nothing more than the words of a bunch of men over a long period of time.. It's embarrassing when people do not know the history of their own faith.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • @youignantdotcom

      "esus' grave is EMPTY. He proved He is God by physically rising from the dead"

      Again, all according to ancient men who wrote the bible and never saw the resurrection. Is it possible he was never buried there? Is it possible his grave was raided and his body was removed? of course it is. But the authors want you to think "resurrection" to enhance their story and to distort your mind into believing.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  18. Jack

    Jesus freak ovoid... Plain and simple. Idiots who believe in god...

    April 8, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • chris

      i think unfortunately you look like the idiot. an ignorant one at that.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
  19. ryan

    Good for Tebow, he takes a stand on his faith and shares Gods love to help a lot of people - great role model!

    April 8, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Jon KIng

      Believing in a fairy tale mommy told you without question is a role model?

      April 8, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Levendi

      exactly ryan he is a good role model! don't listen to "tough guy" Jon King he's just trying to be a hero

      April 8, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • Anna

      Well, Jon, he's not getting wasted, screwing around with tons of women or otherwise being vulgar. He plays as best as he can and stand for what he believes in, which hurts no one. So, he does seem like a good role model for many. I am for religious freedom, including the freedom not to have one. I have several family members who are agnostic or atheist. I do not share this man's beliefs. But I don't get the hate. And when non-believers act in such a hateful manner to someone who is not hurting anyone else, they merely prove the fanatics' belief that all non-believers are evil.

      April 8, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
  20. Rodney Renner

    This issue of wearing religion on your sleeve is wrong and thinking it makes you better than the rest or draw attention to yourself for publicity and self promotion, that ends up in big dollar contracts is akin to the religious cult and religous business that is the Tammy and Jim Baker. When will he have the televangelist show and radio show to complete the fleecing of those "who believe"???

    April 8, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • jgar

      Rodney,

      I'm assuming you know the true motives of Tebow pretty well. Obviously, you talk to him frequently and have decided to go public with the knowledge that he's a fraud out for only himself. All along I thought it was that he believes in his faith enough that he's willing to get mocked by many for the chance to share what he believes is something more important than popularity.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
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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.