Dennis Hardin

Jesus at Quarterback

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Everybody everywhere seems to be talking about Tim Tebow today, which prompted this thread.

Ever wonder what it is about talking to an imaginary God that inspires so many athletes (and others) to greatness?

How is that different from Jimmy Stewart talking to Harvey, his imaginary rabbit? Does self-delusion become sane when you share the same delusion with millions of others?

Tebow isn’t the only one, obviously. Any number of athletes can be seen praying when they score touchdowns or goals. After his first Super Bowl victory, Kurt Warner of the St. Louis Rams held up the trophy and yelled: “Thank you, Jesus!”

I wonder about that all the time. What is it about the human mind that we can make such an absurd fantasy seem so real? Could it be genetic? Is there a “God part of the brain” that we inherited from our ancient ancestors?

Here’s an article from the “Godless in America” website. It doesn’t really address the “why” part of it but it’s an amusing way to start the discussion.

God and the Professional Athlete

Indeed, it’s a bit surprising that those players who keep reminding everyone how devout they are—usually after they’ve had a particularly good game—don’t include the Almighty in their contract negotiations. One would think they would consider splitting their salaries with “God,” since It’s apparently the only reason they are able to earn those millions anyway.

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I know there's another Tebow thread, and I haven't been following any of the football threads, so if this has already been posted, well, sorry:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPpFe3GR7p8

For another view, let's turn to the French Enlightenment. This is ultimately Deistic, but I like the way this reworks and spins out Epicurus’ view:

Prayers

We do not know any religion without prayers, even the Jews had some, although there was not among them any public form, until the time when they sang canticles in their synagogues, which happened very late.

All men, in their desires and their fears, invoked the aid of a deity. Some philosophers, more respectful to the Supreme Being, and less condescending to human frailty, for all prayer desired only resignation. It is indeed what seems proper as between creature and creator. But philosophy is not made to govern the world; she rises above the common herd; she speaks a language that the crowd cannot understand. It would be suggesting to fishwives that they should study conic sections.

Even among the philosophers, I do not believe that anyone apart from Maximus of Tyre has treated of this matter; this is the substance of Maximus' ideas.

The Eternal has His intentions from all eternity. If prayer accords with His immutable wishes, it is quite useless to ask of Him what He has resolved to do. If one prays Him to do the contrary of what He has resolved, it is praying Him to be weak, frivolous, inconstant; it is believing that He is thus, it is to mock Him. Either you ask Him a just thing; in this case He must do it, and the thing will be done without your praying Him for it; entreating Him is even to distrust Him: or the thing is unjust, and then you outrage Him. You are worthy or unworthy of the grace you implore: if worthy, He knows it better than you; if unworthy, you commit a crime the more in asking for what you do not deserve.

In a word, we pray to God only because we have made Him in our own image. We treat Him like a pasha, like a sultan whom one may provoke and appease.

In short, all nations pray to God: wise men resign themselves and obey Him.

Let us pray with the people, and resign ourselves with the wise men.

Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary

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Ever wonder what it is about talking to an imaginary God that inspires so many athletes (and others) to greatness?

What if I said this is like the gambler who only tells you about his wins, when he in fact is more often a loser? Do we only hear about, or notice, or credit, those cases where a successful person says Thank God? I think this is an example from Dawkins, he mocks the crediting of the one survivor of a plane crash to God's intervention, never minding who was responsible for the hundred plus deaths. The many other Jesus loving quarterbacks, the ones with losing records, what about them? In Tebow's case I suspect it's a case of positive reinforcement, but of an irrelevant factor. He's been a Jesus freak from the beginning, having come from a religious family background. Plus, I don't doubt that there's enough other Christians on the team, such that there's a genuine group bonding and inspirational factor at work. If he were bowing with equal fervor to the Flying Spaghetti Monster...

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Ever wonder what it is about talking to an imaginary God that inspires so many athletes (and others) to greatness?

What if I said this is like the gambler who only tells you about his wins, when he in fact is more often a loser? Do we only hear about, or notice, or credit, those cases where a successful person says Thank God? I think this is an example from Dawkins, he mocks the crediting of the one survivor of a plane crash to God's intervention, never minding who was responsible for the hundred plus deaths. The many other Jesus loving quarterbacks, the ones with losing records, what about them? In Tebow's case I suspect it's a case of positive reinforcement, but of an irrelevant factor. He's been a Jesus freak from the beginning, having come from a religious family background. Plus, I don't doubt that there's enough other Christians on the team, such that there's a genuine group bonding and inspirational factor at work. If he were bowing with equal fervor to the Flying Spaghetti Monster...

I also wonder about that aspect of it: what do such people tell themselves when they lose? Did the other side pray harder? Should I have given that homeless person more money last night? Gee, I must have really let God down in some way. Etc, etc.

But what most interests me is: Where does their inspiration come from? How is is that so many people can truly be motivated to perform by imagining they are in the tender loving care of some ethereal being up in the sky?

And if it works so well—as it seems to for all these filthy rich pro athletes--then why was I born with this #@!$ rationality handicap? It isn’t fair.

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I also wonder about that aspect of it: what do such people tell themselves when they lose? Did the other side pray harder? Should I have given that homeless person more money last night? Gee, I must have really let God down in some way. Etc, etc.

I’m sure you’ve read the book of Job; they have all the bases covered.

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I also wonder about that aspect of it: what do such people tell themselves when they lose? Did the other side pray harder? Should I have given that homeless person more money last night? Gee, I must have really let God down in some way. Etc, etc.

I’m sure you’ve read the book of Job; they have all the bases covered.

Ah yes! The Book of Job, sure proof that God is a Prick.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Ah yes! The Book of Job, sure proof that God is a Prick.

And that the believer ought to love him anyway!

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Ah yes! The Book of Job, sure proof that God is a Prick.

And that the believer ought to love him anyway!

The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. The Lord is an Indian Giver.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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I also wonder about that aspect of it: what do such people tell themselves when they lose? Did the other side pray harder? Should I have given that homeless person more money last night? Gee, I must have really let God down in some way. Etc, etc.

I’m sure you’ve read the book of Job; they have all the bases covered.

Ah yes! The Book of Job, sure proof that God is a Prick.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Or, according to Jung, sure proof that he changed his mind.

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An excellent blog post from The Objective Standard regarding the fact that Tebow passed for 316 yards on Sunday.

Who Deserves Credit for Tebow’s 316 Yards?

Remarkably, many people are claiming (whether seriously or not) that divine intervention may have been at play. That was the immediate reaction of several Twitter users: “Tebow with 316 yards. John 3:16 anyone?? God making a statement?” wondered one Tweet, referring to the popular Bible verse. “God has a sense of humor,” claimed another. “Maybe God thought we needed His attention,” suggested yet another.

Crediting a supernatural being for Tebow’s passing yards is an injustice to Tebow, as it denies him the credit he deserves. It also denies the credit to Tebow’s coaches and teammates, who called the plays, made the blocks, and caught the passes that contributed to Tebow’s success.

Congratulations, Tebow and the Broncos, the credit is all yours.

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You either need to stop watching so much sports, or stop thinking so much about Jesus.

rde

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You either need to stop watching so much sports, or stop thinking so much about Jesus.

rde

For me, "sports" means football--so I generally stop watching after the Super Bowl. Thanks for your concern, though.

As for Jesus--How can you say such a thing! I can only think that you must be some sort of dirty atheist or something. :tongue:

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LOL...

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Is Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl getting caught up in the Internet craze inspired by Denver Broncos’ Quarterback Tim Tebow? No, he’s just making good on a bet.

Prior to the Steelers’ season ending overtime loss to the Broncos on Sunday, Ravenstahl made a friendly playoff wager with his counterpart in Denver, Mayor Michael Hancock.

http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2012/01/10/mayor-makes-good-on-bronco-bet-tebows/ <<<<Photo in the article.

As part of the deal, Ravenstahl agreed to don a Broncos jersey and strike the infamous prayerful pose for a picture.

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