Friday, January 13, 2012

On your feet or on your knees

Praying Hands - DevoYesterday, I read an article that reported the results of a poll about Denver quarterback and current leader of the God Squad, Tim Tebow. The article stated that 43% of those surveyed think that divine intervention is at least partly responsible for Tebow’s success.

That’s right. 43% think that their god cares about football, and even answers prayers about it.

I suppose I can be grateful that 42% don’t think that’s the case, and 14% have no opinion on the matter. Maybe that 14% leans towards the no-intervention option. I can hope.

This is just astounding to me, and I have to say that it makes me more than a little angry. It led to an interesting Facebook discussion in which one person wrote that us liberals need to practice more religious tolerance. (My response was that I’d bet money that Christians wouldn’t be talking about religious tolerance if a Muslim player wrote verses from the Koran on his uniform and knelt to Mecca after he scored a touchdown. I’d love to be proven wrong, but I don’t think I would be.) Another person said that they pray for the health and safety of their daughter. Hey, that’s cool. I have no problem with what anyone does in their own life. If it helps people to feel better to pray, I say go for it.

I think it’s important to say why I find this offensive. It is not because I don’t like religious people, or because I don’t think they have the right to practice their religion in whichever way they choose--as long as they keep it out of my government. It’s not even because I’m not all that impressed by Tebow as a player (with apologies to my U of Florida cousins and my friends who are Bronco fans). It offends me because I just find it so damn shallow. If you’re going to pray about something, how about that the suffering of people will be alleviated? Or that one less kid will starve to death tonight? Hey, go big and pray that one less kid will starve to death in Africa, and one less will starve to death right here in America! Go for a twofer! How about praying that scientists will find a cure for cancer, or AIDS, or Parkinson’s disease? How about praying for an end to conflict and war?

What would Devo doBetter yet, how about deciding to do something about those things yourself? Donate to groups that provide food and medical care to kids all over the world. Donate to something like the Gates Foundation that is working hard to eradicate killer diseases like malaria. Donate to or work for candidates that aren’t so eager to get us into another war. I’m sorry if I offend anyone with this statement, but prayer doesn’t solve any of these things. Money, research, and hard work is what solves things.

The realization that there are people who really truly think that Tebow’s prayers have been answered and that God (I will use the capitalized, specific Christian deity here, because that is the deity Tebow prays to) is guiding his arm and helping him win is just...well, it appalls me more than a little bit. I recall someone telling me that a woman at their church prayed to win the lottery, and she won a few hundred dollars! Am I the only one who sees something wrong with this picture?

I also find it interesting that all good things are attributed to a kind and loving god. But what about when prayers don’t get answered, and bad things happen? For every missing kid that is found, often attributed to a miracle, how many are never found? How many bodies are found in a ditch? I’ve heard a couple of answers to that. “You didn’t pray hard enough” or “God works in mysterious ways.” (A friend wrote that a coworker told her that her dog died because she didn’t pray hard enough. Nice, huh?) For me, personally, those answers simply aren’t good enough. The logic just isn’t there, and I don’t see how anyone can reconcile such disparate ideas.

Ah well. I’m not really out to convince anyone. It’s just something that I hear and I have to shake my head in bewilderment. A video is making the rounds today, and when I watched it on Jimmy Fallon’s show last night, I really did laugh out loud. I think I might have even applauded. The Broncos are facing the Patriots this Saturday. Tebow might have Jesus, but the Patriots have Tom Brady. It should be interesting, and Tebowie thinks so, too.


  1. Their dog died because they didn't pray enough? Bullshit...if that kind of shit (I won't say crap because it doesn't show my dismay of stupidity enough) actually worked, their dog would not have gotten sick/died in the first place!

    I still have trouble fathoming that people think some deity in the sky gives a fuck about a sports team, let alone if they win or not-oh, starving children,warlords,priests doing evil sexual things to kids, nothing to concern himself with about THAT, but shit, a team might lose?!?!?

    Shallow, ignorant people that should have been yanked out of the gene pool long ago.

    If there is an intelligence out there running everything, I doubt they would give us a second of thought out of the billions of galaxies and trillions of star systems out there..humans unfortunately for the most part are short-sighted and idiotic at best...I fear the movie Idiocracy is finally coming to fruition.

  2. what the mr. said.

    wouldn't be ironic if we all just pray together that the religious just leave us the hell alone????


  3. You know Beth, people just are not real bright. That's all it is.

  4. So, let me get this queer.
    God loves the Broncos but hates Haiti?

  5. All points well taken. Unfortunately, you hit the nail right on the head with one word: shallow.
    These people are so self righteous that they really think that God would find their devotion and piety so strong that He would answer their prayers to win at the lottery, or win on the gridiron. At the same time, these delusional people can point fingers at others for not praying hard enough. I am sure those hungry children who starve each day are praying hard for something to eat. But the self righteous don't see their own hypocrisy, or their own stupidity, or their own focus on their own self indulgence.
    Another great post, insightful, and right on!
    Keep fighting the good fight! We are all better for your efforts.

  6. I can only repeat what I posted in that Facebook discussion: So Tebow's god really cares about football touchdowns but he can't spare those little Pennsylvania Second Milers from a predatory football coach.

    You have the best Facebook discussions ever. Your blog posts ain't half bad, either :-)

  7. Well the religious freaks out there are so, well stupid. Sorry going to be on my soap box for just a few minutes. (this is coming from a Baptist Preachers Son) I mean God doesnt give two rats asses about football. Where in the bible does it say pray and ye shall receive the football? I mean really.

    I stopped being a "christian" when I was thrown out of church for being gay! I did not stop believing in my god, but he is mine and I am not sharing him.

    I gave up on most "christians when they stopped loving" and started Hating. I know of 2 "Christian" parents that threw their daughter out of the house because she is gay. They told her she could go back home when she turns back straight. Talk about pissing me off.

    oh crap you got me fired up. Sorry.

  8. The shallowness of people praying for a victory, or to make their tummy ache go away, makes me cringe. Interesting to see Te-Bronco's getting a lesson in the agony of defeat tonight.

  9. Deities don't create love, community, or opportunity or hatred and suffering, we do. That is a sad thing to understand. Anyone believing differently is simply delusional, generally purposely so.


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