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Quarterback's next play: Going long with the Bible
Dylan Thompson celebrates during South Carolina's victory over Clemson last November.
February 1st, 2013
10:56 AM ET

Quarterback's next play: Going long with the Bible

By Stephanie Gallman, CNN

(CNN) - Ask Dylan Thompson to name his career highlights, and fans might expect to hear about one of his big moments as South Carolina's backup quarterback - like the time he led the Gamecocks to victory over rival Clemson, or when he threw the game-winning touchdown with 11 seconds left in the Outback Bowl.

But while Thompson said he's proud of his team’s accomplishments as well as his own, nothing really compares to what happened to him off the field his freshman year.

“Being saved and dedicating my life to Christ is actually the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me,” Thompson said.

His desire to spread the Gospel and share his faith propelled Thompson and his mentor, Jack Easterby, to come up with The Bible Out Loud project, an online initiative aimed at getting Christians to memorize and recite Scripture.

After the 27-17 victory over Clemson last November, Thompson felt he was receiving far too much attention. Not that it was undeserved: he threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns.

But Thompson says the number of touchdowns he scores pales in comparison to what’s really important.

“We need to get the attention back on Jesus,” he said.

The rules for The Bible Out Loud project are simple: Participants memorize one to five verses from the New International Version of the Bible and record themselves reciting it. Then they upload their video to YouTube and copy and paste the link to the project's web site.

Thompson said it's something people can do regardless of their denomination, social status or income, and it puts the focus back where he says it should be, on God’s word.

He recognizes that his status on the football field gives him a “tremendous opportunity to share” his testimony and lead others down the path to faith.

Easterby, who is the executive director of The Greatest Champion Foundation, agrees.

We are hoping to "rally the troops" using well-known athletes’ influence, said Easterby, whose organization, according to its website, uses "the platform of athletics" to "communicate the message of Christ.”

The promotional video for Bible Out Loud features several South Carolina athletes, but they're not named in an effort to keep the focus on Scripture. But diehard Gamecock fans will recognize them, and college fans will likely recognize running back Marcus Lattimore, who suffered a season-ending injury that brought everyone in Williams-Brice Stadium to their feet back in October.

Thompson said he’s even talked South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier into reading a verse for the project.

“He told me he was proud of me for doing it,” Thompson said.

Easterby understands there is often skepticism when it comes to religion, but he stresses the project involves no money and is pure in its intentions. He said Christians often face persecution when spreading their message, but so far backlash to the Bible Out Loud project has been minimal.

“A lot less than I had anticipated,” he laughs.

Most of the responses have been positive, and the project's goal of having an entire video Bible online by the end of the year is well on its way to being completed. Less than three weeks in, Easterby said more than 1,000 of the 31,000-plus verses have already been submitted.

There's been no shortage of variety, either, which is what Thompson said he’d hoped for. Among the videos posted online: a couple standing outside next to a lake reciting Proverbs 12:2-3; schoolchildren in uniform reciting 2 Timothy 2:15; and a boy wearing his football jersey reciting Acts 16:31.

The influx of submissions has let Easterby, who views each video before posting it to the site, be more selective.

“The Bible is meant to be read joyfully,” he said. Easterby has been in contact with submitters who aren’t speaking clearly or loudly enough on the video, asking them to resubmit.

The task of going over the videos with a watchful eye is challenging, but he said he wouldn’t want it any other way.

“It’s been unbelievable,” Easterby said. “Flat out amazing.”

- CNN Senior Producer

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Jesus • Sports

soundoff (856 Responses)
  1. Saraswati

    "...an online initiative aimed at getting Christians to memorize and recite Scripture."

    Since quoting scripture is the number one way to drive non-believers from Christianity, the secular community should start sending these folks checks.

    February 4, 2013 at 1:09 am |
    • Austin

      last year 650 people came to faith in christ at my church, and lastnight at saturday service, there were 300 people there and another 6 came to faith. Happens every week, because of the living word of God, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit,.

      God will abandon you to your sin if you go around slandering His name.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:22 am |
    • Austin

      so is that what you feel like doing? is talking crap? obviously you have a thing for that in particular along with the rest of your possee.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:24 am |
    • Saraswati

      @Austin, I suspect the people who came to your church did so because they knew members who spoke to them like people, not because they quoted scripture to them. You might win over members from another church by quoting scripture, but you won't win non-believers that way because you aren't even speaking the right language.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:31 am |
    • sam stone

      wow, abandon us to sin.....pretty scary......if you believe in that tripe

      February 4, 2013 at 3:24 am |
    • sam stone

      "so is that what you feel like doing? is talking crap? obviously you have a thing for that in particular along with the rest of your possee."

      as opposed to your empty proxy warnings about what god will do, austin?

      christians talk trash, too.

      February 4, 2013 at 3:28 am |
    • saggyroy

      Sending them checks? Atheists should start handing out bibles.

      February 4, 2013 at 5:57 am |
    • Science

      Austin tell how the air was made please?
      Another question for you do numbers sin ?

      (U-Pb) dating.

      Plus you are in a test tube EVOLVING. News Release Jan 30 2013
      Creation and the talking snaking does not work.

      February 4, 2013 at 7:34 am |
    • fintastic

      @Austin.............. You must me very proud, 650 people who have been scammed into believing mythology is reality.

      February 4, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
  2. Ruzmarin

    I just got paid $6784 working on my laptop using these simple steps leaked on this web page. Make up to $85 per hour doing simple tasks that are so easy to do that you won't forgive yourself if you don't check it out! Weekly payments! Here is what I've been doing – Rich45.ℂOM

    February 3, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
  3. Terry

    A lot of Christian priests have clearly been "going long" a lot, with kids, as recent convictions indicate. Bible in one hand, ___ in the other.

    February 3, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
  4. FETUS SMASH

    Hitler was against abortion, that's is why I endorse it. Just kidding. Hitler was awesome, of course he liked abos.

    February 3, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Gott mit uns

      February 3, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
  5. Join the Bible out Loud Project today!

    Memorize scripture verses today, everyday! Thanks Dylan and team.

    February 3, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • End Religion

      "Drill it in.
      Drill it in.
      You'll never have to think again."
      – EnjaySea

      February 3, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Matthew 15:22-26

      22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”
      23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
      24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
      25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
      26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

      February 3, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • dale

      here you go you demon following cowards.\

      Bible VersionsNIVMatthewMatthew 15Matthew 15:26-28
      Matthew 15:26-28 (New International Version)View In My Bible
      he was drawing out an expression of her faith because he knew her heart because He is God.

      26 He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs." 27 "Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." 28 Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

      February 3, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Dale,

      Jesus compares Caananite people to dogs and the Jews to his children. Doesn't sound like a loving god to me and makes no difference that he changed his mind. He was not a god.

      February 3, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
  6. yeldogdem

    Jocks for Jesus. It is no surprise that the banana republic of S.C. produces so many religious zealots. These are the folks who brought you the Fort Sumter traitors, participated in Jim Crow, fought Desegragation and still practice race politics.Memorization of a groups screed is a form of indoctrination. All cults practice it. If you truly understood how the bible came to be you would realize that you could memorize and recite the "Jabberwocky" and produce equal results.

    February 3, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
  7. austin

    Isaiah 55:10-11
    10 As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
    and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
    and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
    11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
    but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

    February 3, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • sam stone

      wow, austin, a quote. pretty impressive, indeed

      February 3, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Ezekial 23

      19 Yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the days of her youth, when she was a prost.itute in Egypt. 20 There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses. 21 So you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when in Egypt your bosom was caressed and your young breasts fondled.

      February 3, 2013 at 11:40 am |
    • Free Nuts

      For creationists

      February 3, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • Bob

      A closer look at the Christian book of nasty reveals:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Leviticus 25
      44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
      45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.
      46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      February 3, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
  8. saggyroy

    “The Bible is meant to be read joyfully,” – Yeah the'res nothing like reading about all the joy of a iron age god of war. It is the quickest way to become an atheist.

    February 3, 2013 at 8:37 am |
    • lol??

      What's the name of the bride, genius?

      February 3, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • Science

      Can not base god(s) on emotions.

      Biologically, love is a powerful neurological condition like hunger or thirst, only more permanent.
      a tool to survive

      Have a family tree of over 80 humans still living you will find love to survive.

      February 3, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • Transformed Mind

      Guess that's what inbreeding will do to ya....

      February 3, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
  9. T the Bible out Loud Project

    Kepp up the good work

    February 3, 2013 at 7:53 am |
    • Nedd

      Kepp up the grate tipyng.

      February 3, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  10. Leah

    I love to memorize Bible verses.Kudos to the Bible out Loud Project! fantastic!

    February 3, 2013 at 7:47 am |
    • sam stone

      wow.....memorizing bible verses. sounds like a project, for a parrot

      February 3, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I like 1 Samuel 15:3

      3 "Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy[a] all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”

      February 3, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • EnjaySea

      Drill it in.
      Drill it in.
      You'll never have to think again.

      February 3, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • Transform Mind

      @cheesemaker

      If Israel did what God had commanded, we (you too) wouldn't be in the predicament we are currently in.

      Besides, who are you to question the one true God? Go read the chapters before this command and see WHY God told Israel to kill them... Oh ye of little true knowledge.

      February 3, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • Terry

      Yeah, Transform, your god sure is one murderous b-stard.

      February 3, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Transform,

      Why would your all powerfull god need the Isrealites to kill people he created? He could have done it himself. Or better yet not create them at all. As is, he orders genocide and the murder of children. Great god you worship there. How does it feel to defend genocide? How can you claim that being should be worshipped? Might does not make right. If we cannot judge the actions of a claimed higher being how can we claim to act with morality. At that point you are just doing what you are told.

      Don't be confused, I don't believe your god exists, but I wouldn't worship him anyway.

      February 3, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
  11. Reality

    Only for the eyes of Dylan Thompson:

    The Apostles' / Agnostics’ Creed 2013 (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen
    (References used are available upon request.)

    February 3, 2013 at 7:45 am |
  12. cken

    ENDRELIGION Nobody knows the "truth" about creation. Whether science or religion it's all speculation.

    February 3, 2013 at 2:43 am |
    • Science

      Creationist LOST at the Dover Trial FOREVER !!! Evolution WON.
      Can not teach CREATION at all in public schools as FACT.
      Take it up with the courts BLA BLA BLA !

      Peace

      New STEM science standards for 2013 make ears for transplant from stem cells

      Can't you read EVOLUTION IN A TEST TUBE Jan. 30 2013

      News Release

      3-D structure of the evolved enzyme (an RNA ligase), using 10 overlaid snapshots. In the top region, the overlays show the range of bending and folding flexibility in the amino acid chain that forms the molecule. The two gray balls are zinc ions. (University of Minnesota)

      University of Minnesota researchers unveil first artificial enzyme created by evolution in a test tube

      Thanks Doc.

      February 3, 2013 at 7:11 am |
    • Science

      EDUCATION IS WHERE IT HAPPENS FOR CHILDREN !

      Bill Gates: Invest in better teaching

      By Bill Gates, Special to CNN

      updated 3:33 PM EST, Wed January 30, 2013

      February 3, 2013 at 7:29 am |
    • Science

      Evolution won in the Dover court trial. ID/creation can not be taught in public schools in US.. Moving forward, take a blood test map your genes.

      Creationists' tactics also have a more profound impact on science education which goes beyond biology because they communicate the idea that there is something lacking or something wrong with evolutionary theory, an idea which is not actually true from a scientific standpoint. This causes students to develop very mistaken beliefs about the nature of science, the scientific method, and how scientific research is used. This cheats students out of the proper science education which they deserve.

      Attempts to use the law to restrict or dilute the teaching of evolution in public schools matters because science matters. As society relies more and more heavily on science and technology on ever more fundamental levels, it becomes increasingly more important that all citizens receive a proper grounding in science and the scientific method. Science education is becoming a key part of what it means to be a well-informed and well-educated citizen of today; therefore, any effort to temper science education in order to placate a vocal religious group cheats the students, cheats society, and cheats our future.

      Peace

      February 3, 2013 at 7:48 am |
    • saggyroy

      Then point is because we don't know for certain, why fill in the gaps with god? That is just ignorant.

      February 3, 2013 at 8:40 am |
    • Science

      @cken
      It is called
      (U–Pb) dating

      Peace

      February 3, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • Seyedibar

      While we can't know the explicit truth ourselves, we can use the knowledge we've learned to discount myths as being untrue. Historical study, without the help of science, discredits about 90% of the Bible from being fact. Historical study also shows that the one Christian god began his existence as a pantheon of deities based on proto-Egyptian rulers.

      February 3, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
  13. lol??

    Slayin' Christians follows da Pale Horse. Da haters and liars have seared their CONsciences by killin' children in da womb.

    February 3, 2013 at 12:58 am |
    • austin

      are you the same dude talking about religious mimicry earlier?

      February 3, 2013 at 1:02 am |
    • midwest rail

      Well, lol?? the Cowardly Liar may need a mirror.

      February 3, 2013 at 6:35 am |
  14. austin

    how do you copy a video without just getting the url?

    February 3, 2013 at 12:25 am |
    • u mean like dis?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKNd_S3iXfs

      February 3, 2013 at 1:41 am |
  15. lionlylamb

    Einstein and God 02/02/13

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=eNqha5IK4xE

    February 2, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKt9EgENzGI&feature=player_embedded

      February 3, 2013 at 12:10 am |
  16. lionlylamb

    The schizophrenic universe 02/02/13

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHHz4mB9GKY&feature=player_embedded

    February 2, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
    • austin

      awesome video!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      February 2, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Dawkins getting the reaming by Bill OReilly 2/02/13

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMQQv47FqSI&feature=player_embedded

      February 3, 2013 at 12:35 am |
    • End Religion

      Where was the reaming? O'Reilly used the same 7th-grader arguments we refute on here every day about Stalin. Dawkins calmly refuted them AGAIN. Then O'Reilly closed with a simple "i just think it's nice Jesus teaches us to love each other," which is nice, but has nothing to do with actual truths of our creation.

      February 3, 2013 at 12:48 am |
    • austin

      on the 9th of AV , gregorian calendar, israel sent 10 spies out to view the promised land. they brought back a bad report and despised what they saw. This date ended up being cursed
      Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple on the 9th of AV
      600 years later rome destroyed the temple on the 9th of AV
      Jews were kicked out of england on the 9th of AV 1290
      Jews kicked out of spain ln the 9th of AV 1492
      WW1 started on the 9th of AV
      Hitlers proclomation to kill the jews was on the 9th of AV

      the last two years that there were 4 consecutive blood moons in a row, were 1949 and 1967, Israel reinstated and the 6 years war, and the next is in 2014- 15 4 consecutive blood moons, one on the passover, and this same year is a sabbatical year. the blood moon is associated with the return of Christ. this is the last time that will happen this century.

      February 3, 2013 at 12:57 am |
    • End Religion

      When did austin lose his anal virginity without his permission?
      9th of AV
      It all makes sense now, his talk of tragedies all occurring on that same fateful day when our young altar boy austin met the priest who would change his life forever....

      February 3, 2013 at 1:37 am |
  17. End Religion

    How long before Dylan Thompson comes out of the closet?

    February 2, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • Marian Burns

      Rude, insensitive statement. Proud of yourself?

      February 3, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • TDM

      Marian, did that hit a little too close to home, there, cowboy?

      February 3, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
  18. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Religion is a means to increase entropy in human knowledge, which, being largely based on ideas that can be expressed symbolically, is to increase Kolmogorov complexity for human knowledge. How does it do this? By providing statements that are such that one cannot halt a description of the statement with a proof that it is either true or false. We say they are not even false. Also, some statements from religion may be such that it can't be demonstrated that they contain information at all. Many statements of the former kind can be made for any statement that can be proven true or false. Infinitely many statements of the latter kind can be made. May God help us. Religion wins.

    February 2, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
    • Nclaw441

      Religion seems to have coexisted with amazing developments in human thinking and science over the last 2000+ years.

      February 2, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
    • End Religion

      Neil deGrasse Tyson on how religious zealotry restricts education. Science succeeds despite religion. It's not exactly happy-go-lucky co-existence. When religion is in the forefront, learning lags behind.

      http://youtu.be/N7rR8stuQfk

      February 2, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
  19. Prophet Maximization

    The True God requires and helps those needing recovery to go the "way" that has the greatest "truth" and greatest value to "life" – the intent and purpose of the law.

    The False God wants games, contests, conflict, and war which leads to the way of "Leviticus 26", "Mathew 24", "7 Seals", and "The Book of Enoch" where the one who imitates God will have his angels melt. This is evident in the lack of planning to avoid the economic crisis that will cause the problems listed in "Leviticus 26".

    February 2, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
    • End Religion

      your childish religion can't die out fast enough, moron. Tomorrow is another wonderful godless day.

      February 2, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
    • OOO

      You have broken the arrogance scale when you claim not only to know what the true god wants, but to also know what the false god wants.

      February 2, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
  20. Answer

    Why don't you christards all pick a date later in this year and decide it will be your lord's coming and just do it?

    Off yourself on that date and float off.

    February 2, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
    • lol??

      And not allow you da honor of doin' da killin'?

      February 3, 2013 at 12:23 am |
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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.