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.

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"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. Rabbi Ashmedai Ben Hashatan

    TIm Tebow is a pathetic idolater, blasphemer, and an antisemite. Anyone who makes reference to the "new testament," especially the gospel according to john is saying that a story which has been used for centuries to incite hatred toward jews has moral value. The gospl according to john and the New Testament as a whole are known to have no value at all because they were all forged and contain wanton and gratuitous antisemitism. Mr. Tebow does not want to inspire faith, he wants to convert the public to the mindless adherence to his false faith. I would urge all self respecting Jews, Bhuddists, Muslims, and HIndus to boycott the New York jets and help get Tebow and his inappropriate thetoric ejected from the NFL and hopefully the public eye in general. Christianity is a destructive force that has done more harm than good.

    April 9, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • Maty

      Pot, meet kettle.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • ok

      First of all mr rabbi, hatred? really wow I never new that that bible pushed hatred to jews... If im not mistaken wasnt Jesus a Jew? And his faith? you mean Christianity? because your jewish dont be ignorant... and what harm has Christianity done? matter of fact if I wasnt a reborn christian like I am.. I would call you every name in the book and tell you where you can shove it and not think twice... But the lords grace helps not to tell you what I am feeling about you inside...

      April 10, 2012 at 5:16 am |
  2. Tom Lancaster

    Animal consumption, marriage and latter days. 1 Timothy 4:1-6

    April 9, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  3. Killdeer

    How about he leave religion off the field? If I wanted to go church on Sunday, I would. I don't need him shoving his beliefs in some fake sky person down my throat. He either can perform as a quarterback or go be a minister, but not both. This type of performance has no place in professional football.

    April 9, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Disagree

      I am an atheist, but I completely disagree with your statement. Tebow isn't telling anyone WHAT TO BELIEVE, he is simply stating what he believes and why. It would be one thing if he only talked the talk, but the guy also walks the walk. Good people are good people, regardless of religious affiliation( or lack thereof). Just as religious bigots give the religious a bad name, intolerant agnostic and atheist bigots such as yourself, gives us non-believers a bad name.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  4. Klob

    Hey Tebow – Matthew chp. 6
    Read up.

    April 9, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  5. crusader12

    NOFX had it perfect (exerpt from "The Greates God in Show") "...thank god for that grammy, thank god for that touchdown, thank god for blowing up the enemy's sacred ground..."

    It's a good thing god loves you Tim Tebow and not the people who could actually use his assistance (if he in fact existed, which he doesn't, but hey, continue fooling yourself...its making a lot of people very powerful and rich).

    April 9, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  6. Sal

    Have you seen what religion has done to the world lately? 

    April 9, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Darwin

      It brought us a long way, but it's time to let it go.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • DON


      April 9, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  7. Triple A

    A popular Christian, religious haters worst nightmare.

    April 9, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Triple A

      You said, "A popular Christian, religious haters worst nightmare."
      Why would religious haters have a problem with one of their own? Are they also envious? Jealous of his popularity, perhaps?

      April 9, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • J.C.

      LinCA, who does Tebow hate?

      April 9, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • LinCA


      You said, "LinCA, who does Tebow hate?"
      I never said he hated anyone. I was merely wondering what Triple A meant when (s)he said what (s)he said.

      I'm assuming that "A popular Christian" refers to Tim Tebow. I can only assume that "religious haters" refers to believers. What I can't infer is if these believers are followers of the same religion as the object of their hate, a different one, or if it refers to all believers in general.

      If they are followers of the same religion, I could imaging they are jealous of Tebow's fame and popularity.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  8. tony

    "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." – Lucky Tebow wasn't walking home in a hoodie past George Zimmerman then. . . .

    April 9, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  9. Marley

    Looks like "Jesus" favors Peyton Manning over Tim Tebow.

    Or perhaps "Jesus" just got annoyed of Tebow?

    It's funny how Tebow is trying to convince himself and the world that "Jesus" has not forsaken him!

    April 9, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Bamainsc

      Looks like Tim Tebow is getting God's message across. God never said we would have all the allocades; we just want God to have the glory. Thank you, Tim tebow for all that you do.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • J.C.

      Being paid millions of dollars to play QB for the Jets? If only I could be just as "forsaken".

      April 9, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  10. Dave

    Tebow has the right to believe in any Cloud Fairies he wishes to, that's America. There are folks out there who believe in Magic and Ventriloquism, so Tebow isn't terribly unique. Just let him be, he's an awful Quarterback and will disappear fairly soon.

    April 9, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Bamainsc

      Dave, you also have the rightto beleive in any "cloud faries" that you wish to believe in. The difference will be at the seat of judgement. Good luck and I wish you well; all people can be changed.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Joseph

      I love how you judge him, instantly dismissing his beliefs as he does yours. Not something St Pete is going to appreciate. I just dont think many Christians realize the high standards they set for themselves and how it looks to us godless folks when you never ever abide by any of them besides going to church.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  11. Elie

    Thank you God for giving us the Buddha!

    April 9, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  12. Sal

    I just can't stand religious freaks of any flavor! They are usually the most hypocritical of them all. 

    April 9, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  13. Me

    (chuckles) People mocking him, mocking religion. How many other ball players are wishing they had thought of using this man's gimmick?

    April 9, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Vested

      Probably not many.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • nostradoofus

      Actually, they have....and have been using it for years.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  14. Mark in Omaha

    Religion divides people and teaches hate. Faith is awesome, but should be a private matter. By wearing his religion on his sleeve, it seem artificial and disingenuous and ironically making it all about him, not about God. "Look at me" !!!

    April 9, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  15. Leucadia Bob


    April 9, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  16. gaucho420

    He is a simple man, for a simple audience.

    April 9, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • FajitaBob

      Oh, and gauch is a genius.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Darwin

      That's the truth.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  17. tony

    So all the wapes and aborshuns are part of the plan too. God moves in mysterious ways. So why all the objections from the Conservatives. Blasphemy perhaps?

    April 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • FajitaBob

      tony: you don't have a clue.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • tony

      Now there's an intellegent factual response that points out the error and justifies it.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  18. tony

    If everyone's life is planned, then there is no free-will at all. And all murders, wars, etc., will inevitably go as per the plan. Clearly this over-paid exhibitionist beefcake is a total moron.

    April 9, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Larry

      sorry tony, but everyone's fate is predetermined as layed out by the laws of physics

      April 9, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Dean

      Every life has a plan but it is the individuals choice at to whether they want to follow that plan or not.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • tony

      If every future life has a plan, then one murder of a potential parent, messes up up the entire plan from then on. . . . It's aka as the "Butterfly Effect"

      April 9, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Gee

      Sorry, Larry, but Einstein was wrong. Quantum mechanics has shown that god does play dice. Free will is alive and well in physics.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  19. t3chsupport

    5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (Matthew 6)

    But hey, who cares about the Bible, he's a Christian football player, who needs big books full of words for THAT?

    April 9, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • FU CNN

      T3ch: You are an idiot. The point of that scripture is that you pray, you do so with the intent of talking to God, not just to be seen by others as devout. But people like you who spit on religion, then try to use it to mock others generally have no clue what they're talking about.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • cira22

      I babble like a Pagan, but I am Pagan, so it's all good. 🙂

      April 9, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Dean

      The key words in that scripture is "to be seen by others" This means that if you are praying to be seen by man to impress man, it is worthless but if you are praying between you and God only it is ok.
      “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything, give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

      April 9, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • xjdavid

      In what way is t3chsupport an idiot? That scripture is pretty straight-forward and difficult to misinterpret. Tebow makes a show of his faith, "Tebowing" is exactly the sort of thing this scripture is referencing. Prayer should be personal, so unless he's leading the crowd in prayer, which he's not, then he's making a show of it. And really, was it an Easter service, or a Tebow service? 10,000 people coming to hear Tebow talk about himself on Easter?

      April 9, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • t3chsupport

      "T3ch: You are an idiot. The point of that scripture is that you pray, you do so with the intent of talking to God, not just to be seen by others as devout."

      Right, I'm the idiot, the one with no reading comprehension, or the ability to see what's right in front of me. Like the fact that Tebow isn't praying to talk to god, he's doing it to make a show of it, which he does everywhere, all the time, on purpose.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Just curious

      So you're saying that Mr. Tebow only drops to his knees and prays during national televised football games? Really? Because even if that were true, what is in his heart and his motivation for choosing to pray at those times is only known to him. So, unless you've become omniscient I'm not sure I put a whole lot of stock in your "argument". The point of the passage that you chose to use as the basis for your opinion is motivation for prayer, not location. Location is irrelevant – if he chooses to speak to God and give thanks on a football field, who are you to make assumptions about why? Being grateful and thankful is an act of humility. Assuming you are above that and you know better than 95% of the world's population is not.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tebow drops to his knees anytime he wants to service Jesus.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  20. Lance

    Tebow better be a vegetarian after saying this:

    "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..."

    If not, he and all the Christians that follow this path are hypocritical. Eating animals is wrong and immoral. Period.

    April 9, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • t3chsupport

      Jesus ate animals. God wanted animals killed and then wasted, regularly. The younger the better. Burn them to a crisp, and no one even eats them.

      You must be thinking of some other religion.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Evangenital

      Let him believe in whatever he wants to believe.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • Kiran Muthappa

      Lance, if you don't like meat eating athletes – come to india and watch some good ol' crickett!

      April 9, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • Evangenital

      Eating animals is wrong and immoral. Period. You are right.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • xjdavid

      There is nothing at all immoral about eating meat. I don't know how anyone can come to the conclusion that it's "immoral." That's ridiculous.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Billy

      Eating animals is delicious

      April 9, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • xjdavid

      ...not unless you make sweet love to it before cooking it. Then you get into some moral grey areas...

      April 9, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Just curious

      I think you need to clarify – HUMANS eating meat is immoral or anything eating meat is immoral. According to the laws of nature, that flesh was put on the earth, at least partially, to be consumed. Or else there would be no carnivores.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      I don't care for Tube Snake but prefer Beaver.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:36 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.