God and Fans

In its annual survey of religious beliefs related to sports, the Public Religion Research Institute found that 48% of Americans believe that God rewards faithful athletes with success and good health. This same time last year, that number was 53%.

Only 22% of Americans believe that God plays a role in determining the outcome of a sporting event. Last year, that number was 27%.

I’d say this trend is a bit of good news.



24 responses to “God and Fans

  1. I always wondered why God would care about the results of a sporting event. I guess if you win, God loves you more than the loser. If there was a God, I would figure the results of a sporting even would be at the bottom on the list of concerns.

    I’m reminded of what a comedian once said (I wish I can remember which comedian) about God and sports. To paraphrase, athletes only thank God when they win, but do not blame him they lose, “Jesus made me fumble on the one yard line.”

  2. Sweet ! Hope this continues. I always hated how my cross country and soccer teams would pray before races. So inconsiderate and lofty.

  3. It flabbergasts me that anyone would think god (any god) would care about something so trivial as sporting events and athletes, but that same god seems to ignore kids who are being abused, neglected, starved, prostituted, etc. You know, important stuff. Just. Wow.

  4. Finally! Now we know why God doesn’t have time to take care of the starving children or protect them from sexual abuse. He has more important matters to tend to…..

  5. I’ve never been much for spectator sports on the whole, at least as I got older, but working at an institute of higher education, it was always a burr under my saddle when BYU or Notre Dame would declare that a winning season was ‘proof’ that God was Mormon or Catholic.

    Even though the pronouncements were clearly tongue in cheek, I still found the very concept offensive as some people probably thought that way in reality regardless.

    These are the same people who would have supported the notion that a particular monarch was in power because of the “will of God.”

    • @lance it’s always the same for me when a performer wins some award and he/she couldn’t have gotten there without god’s help and guidance. Yes, because god was all about you singing about slappin’ dat ho or your amazing performance in that last Quentin Tarantino or Coen Brothers’ film.

  6. All I really care about is that the Almighty ensures that I cover the point spread.


  7. Well, maybe because sports happen on Sunday afternoon television right after church…hell, I don’t know! It always strikes me as crazy to thank any deity for what hard human labor and effort creates. Believe me, if I die and wake up on some heaven’s doorstep, SOMEbody is gonna get a lecture about fraking priorities!

    • I said that at an ecumenical conference where they invited an atheist representative (me). I said my purpose on earth was to, in essence, work to correct god’s mistakes. I added that that would keep anyone busy for a lifetime.

      Got a really good response from like-minded students after the program.

      • Actually, even positing the idea of gods? I don’t believe “they” make mistakes…because I don’t believe they are the active principle on this world —WE ARE.

        Maybe if we worked on correcting OUR mistakes, or making fewer of them, or not waiting around on any possible deities to fix them FOR us.

        • It was in response to a questioner who asked what I would do if it turns there was a god. I said I’d tell it where it went wrong.

          But your point is well taken. It an awkward construction to even acknowledge their invisible buddy in any manner.

          They short version of that same notion is, “If it is to be, it’s up to me.

        • I would add that I do not consider the randomness of the universe, and its impact on humans (such as most diseases, various genetic abnormalities, and a host of recurring natural disasters) to fall in the category of *our* mistakes.

          I put my observations in the same sarcastic tone of —

          Your God’s arms are too short to box with me.

          • No, you are correct, some natural disasters are simply, well, natural. But then, some natural disasters ARE in fact worsened by the more stupid actions of humans. Destroying offshore islands and sandbanks and wetlands, for instance, worsened the horrors that hurricanes can wreak upon shore lines. Some genetic abnormalities (especially epigenetic ones) can be CAUSED by manmade occurences like radiation or pollutions such as mercury or lead poisoning.

            The universe may be random, but human greed is rarely as even-handed.

  8. There was a great segment in the documentary “Sports In America” on HBO. A devout Southern Baptist family skipped church to watch a local hero in the world series and never went back to church again.

  9. Not sports related, but there is a local sign at an auto repair shop. It says something like “We know imports” next line says “Trust in the Lord” — huh?? I’m not making the connection whatsoever! I too shake my head when I hear people saying it was because of god that they won their game. I think people really abuse the powers of the almighty! 😉

  10. Makes sense, considering so many of them are paid an ungodly amount of money.

  11. In my head I see a cartoon of god complaining that his fantasy football league is terrible and that satan is gloating over having a better team.

    Sort of like the Book of Job, except some poor mortal doesn’t get totally hosed by the bet.

  12. I live in Denver. Imagine my “discomfort” when Tim Tebow was praying playing here.

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