Friday, January 13, 2012

Tim Tebow, not God, Throws the Ball

What does it take to be a quarterback for an NFL team? It starts with a kid who is willing to put in thousands of hours in high school and all through college then into the big leagues. It takes inborn athleticism combined with a fast-thinking intelligence and relentless determination.

That's just to be on the team. To be a first-string quarterback, you have to be the best of the best.

Tim Tebow is such a man. He worked extraordinarily hard to get where he is ... which is why Tim Tebow's religion is a real shame. Christianity has stolen Tebow's pride. Instead of taking pride in his accomplishments, he gives the credit away to God. The simple fact is that it's Tebow throwing the ball, not God.

In less than a second or two, Tebow's mind absorbs the receiver's position, speed and direction, and on top of that he includes the position and momentum of each opposing player. Tebow instantly calculates how the receiver can elude the opponents to arrive at an open position, then hurtles the pigskin ball down the field with incredible accuracy of direction, altitude and velocity. And it's not just that one receiver; he simultaneously has to choose between several receivers, runners, running it himself, or throwing the ball away.

That is talent. Tebow deserves to take pride in his skill. But instead, Tebow gives his accomplishment away. Tebow believes there's a god out there who alters the laws of physics of the universe because this god, who created the unimaginably vast universe, cares whether the NFL team called the "Denver Broncos" wins or loses. And the reason this god cares is because Tebow presumably prays more earnestly than the opposing quarterback.

What's wrong with pride in one's accomplishments? Christians, Jews and Muslims count pride as one of the big sins. Why? Having pride in one's work is admirable. Pride makes us do our best and then lets us take pleasure in a job well done.

That is what Tebow should be doing rather than thanking God.

Several years back I wrote a blog about this same topic (except that it was about friends and family) that is still one of my favorites. I closed it with this:
Religion lets people avoid personal responsibility by asking, and getting, God's forgiveness. Never mind whether the victims agree with God. I suppose that's a pretty good bargain – "Believe in me, and you're off the hook for your sins." But the flip side of the deal is that God also steals all the glory. Everything good is God's doing. Humans get all the blame, and God gets all the credit.


  1. Craig, I believe that much religious belief is merely disguised egotism. For many, their god is the being they'll never be, but if they wear his bling somehow they'll be connected to his awesomeness; also, they are mindful that their god can accomplish great things, which makes him (like the neighborhood bully) someone to keep happy. The more interesting case is an accomplished professional like Tebow: For him to give his god credit for his talent as publicly as he does smacks of major boundary issues with an imaginary friend. This should have been addressed in grade school.

  2. Jack - interesting insight. I've always viewed this from the point of view of people who have fought adversity and won, then given away the glory (as told in the previous blog I mention above). But Tebow is in a whole different category, isn't he? It's false modesty.

  3. Slightly off topic, Craig, but today I saw a blog on Andrew Sullivan's page about a teenage gay kid who killed himself after his Christian mother's unrelenting efforts to pray away the gay. It occurred to me that, Sullivan's protestations (he's Catholic) notwithstanding, ancient desert religions might not be compatible with modern humanist tendencies. In other words, there could be an insuperable tension in anyone who wants to be a kind human being and maintain his or her religion. Feel free to cut this if it's not apropos, but I would like to see stories about people who dealt with this dilemma and came through (like your female relatives, who all seem like very admirable people).

  4. Interesting take on Tebow. A man believes whatever he wants. What difference does it make to anyone else?

    I've often wondered about fighters giving God thanks for their victory. Why would God care who won a fight? But in retrospect I cannot fault a person for having their belief system especially since it is their beliefs that make them who they are.

  5. Ok, so if Tebow was an atheist, then I'd agree that he should feel pride in his accomplishments.

    But, he's a christian and his humility follows from his belief system, and, as a devout Christian, he should be thanking god. I would question his beliefs if he wasn't giving god credit.

    -Tim Elliot


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