America: we need to talk. It came to my attention last night that 43% of you think that Tim Tebow’s wins are at least partly due to divine intervention. It’s right here on CNN.com.
Now, Tebow is a good guy. He’s fun to watch. He (like many other professional athletes) is also a professing and practicing Christian. All of these are, I think, good or at least neutral things. Yet here we are.
Somewhere in the strange alchemy of media obsession, Tebow’s outspoken faith, and his unorthodox style of play, he has become something more than a man. Tebow is now a symbol for the hopes, fears, and dreams of the American religious and their culture despisers. Rick Reilly believes in Tebow. U2 fans create a new Trinity out of Tebow, Jesus, and (of course) Bono. Charles Barkley, tongue-in-cheek, calls him a “national nightmare.” And of course Bill Maher has said something innappropriate. In light of this, there are those who remain suspicious of any criticisms of Tebow, asserting “The anti-Tebow Bias Isn’t About Football.” Of course not. Why would it ever be about that?
43% of Americans think God helps him win. 42% don’t. Only 14% expressed no opinion. I have an opinion for you: stop asking such a stupid question!
Either Americans actually believe that somehow God is on Tebow’s side (and, apparently, not on the side of any believers on the opposing team), or–more likely–reflect so little on matters theological that they just assume that if someone’s religious God will “do stuff” for them. Moralistic Therapeutic Deism at its best.
Never mind that the rain falls on the just and unjust alike (see Matthew 5:45). Never mind that God’s ways are not are ways (see Isaiah 55:8-9). Never mind that the Lord has more to do than pay attention to the Broncos quarterback (see THE WHOLE BIBLE).
In the end, it is possible that Tebow himself may have the best perspective. According to the Wall Street Journal: ” In postgame interviews, the young quarterback often starts by saying, ‘First, I’d like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ’ and ends with ‘God bless.’ He stresses that football is just a game and that God doesn’t care who wins or loses.”
How about that?
P.S. Tebow’s probably going to lose this weekend when he takes on Tom Brady and the Patriots. I think both he and God can handle that. I just hope the faith of 43% of Americans can.