Tebow, schadenfreude and blasphemy

January 16, 2012 | By | 1 Reply More

I barely follow professional football these days, but I’ve heard enough about Tim Tebow to be annoyed.  I’m not annoyed that he has played well this season or that he appears to be a generous and kind-hearted fellow.    I’m annoyed because he insists that the alleged Creator of the Universe cares about American football. If this were at all true, what does that say about this “God,” given that He has a lot of unfinished work to do healing the sick and helping to feed starving children?  How would you characterize an allegedly omnipotent and omniscient God who would choose to watch professional football while even one or two children were dying from preventable causes such as the lack of food?  The word “miscreant” comes to mind, because it’s not only one or two children:  More than 16,000 children starve every day. And how difficult should it be for an adult quarterback to figure out that the Creator of the Universe wouldn’t actually hover around at American sports stadiums on the third planet from the Sun on Sundays?

For the above reasons only, I was delighted to hear that Tebow and his team were thrashed by the New England Patriots yesterday.  Maybe Tebow can figure out during this off-season that what he does for living is merely entertainment–it isn’t notable by any cosmic standard.  Maybe he can figure out that if the Creator of the Universe has a to-do list, it doesn’t include caring about football games. Perhaps it’s not fair to pick on Tim Tebow, because he’s merely the most recent prominent athlete to assume that God cares about his performance on the field. But he has done an especially good job of bringing attention to himself based on his allegedly close relationship with “God,” so I’ll continue with this rant.

Image by sportgraphic at dreamstime (with permission)

My schadenfreude regarding Tim Tebow also relates a larger frustration:  I consider it blasphemy for any person to claim to be able to know what’s in the mind of any alleged Creator of the Universe.   Claiming that mere mortals can understand alleged omniscience (even presuming that there is such a thing as an omniscient being) is the height of arrogance.  Further, claiming to know the mind of “God” demeans the actual universe because it exhibits a concern for beings for which there is no credible evidence, and ignores that this planet is, in reality, the precious and fragile home to all of us.  It would demean any “God” to assume that “He” cares at all about sports contests. Consider this Tebow quote, for instance:

Lord, put a wall of protection around me and my teammates today. When we go out there let us honor you with everything we do and say. I love you. In Jesus name, amen.

Or consider this form of disingenuousness:

Dear Jesus, I need you. Please come through for me. No matter what, win or lose Lord, give me the strength to honor you.

Yes, of course.  A quarterback calls out to God in the middle of a game but not because he wants to win the game.  To assume that God cares about football is blasphemy because it constitutes “irreverence towards religious or holy persons or things.”  It is outrageous for any person who treasures his or her life to assume that Earth is a meaningless and disposable world that serves only as a stepping stone to a future existence.  This way of thinking is a prime reason that so many people who call themselves “Christians” are willing to pay thousands of dollars to watch professional sports guilt-free while those same dollars could save lives.

I should make clear that I don’t consider all believers in God to be blasphemers, but only those who claim to know what God allegedly wants, what God is allegedly concerned about, or what God allegedly has in mind for people who allegedly misbehave.  If there is a sentient creator of the universe (I seriously doubt that there is), “He” is not comprehensible to  human animals.

I don’t consider those who believe in Einstein’s God to be engaged in blasphemy.  Nor do I consider it inappropriate for any person to have a generalized reverence for the universe.  Nor is it blasphemous to wonder whether there is a God or to even hope that there is a God.   But don’t  claim that you understand God, that you know what God wants, or claim that He cares about you or me or anyone else, lest you suffer the recent fate of Tim Tebow, because I know that God was pissed at Tebow for being so presumptuous.



Category: Athletics, Religion

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    “As millions of Broncos fans hoped for a miracle in the playoff game against the Patriots, Focus on the Family aired an interminable 30-second ad featuring the most precious, interracial, GapKids models that you’ve ever seen, all basically condemning you to hell if you don’t follow Jesus.”


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