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Topic: Religion vs. Atheism/Agnosticism in Football and other Sports

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Subject: Religion vs. Atheism/Agnosticism in Football and other Sports
Date Posted: 2/10/2011 5:20 PM ET
Member Since: 9/16/2007
Posts: 188
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They say that the number of Americans who identify as athiest, agnostic, or non affiliated is on the rise (http://www.gallup.com/poll/145409/Near-Record-High-Religion-Losing-Influence-America.aspx). I've been curious lately about Atheism and Agnosticism in the larger US culture, particularly sports and the subculture of football.

In another topic someone mentioned "Christian priviledge" in the U.S. (thanks Bonnie!) and it struck me that this can be seen particularly clearly in American football - everything from players pointing to "god" as a form of touchdown celebration to Tim Tebow writing Bible verses on his face paint. In college all the players at my school would have a "prayer circle" after the game, in which roughly half the players on the team participated. Christianity in particular jsut seems for prevalent in footbal culture. Does anyone have any theories on why football has such a high tolerance of prosteletizing Christians, compared to other sports in the US? As a sport, it doesn't really seem inherently "Christian" in any way ....

Also, I searched for athiests in sports and came upon Pat Tillman, who sadly was killed in Afghanistan. He was an former NFL player and an atheist, but it was not public knowledge until after his death. It seems that many atheists/agnostics in sports do not advertise their opinons on religion and god (Probably so they don't get a barage of hate mail).

Anyway, just curious on your thoughts!

Date Posted: 2/12/2011 2:14 PM ET
Member Since: 9/6/2009
Posts: 12
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What could possibly be more Christian than two teams trying to prevent each other from moving a ball down a field? I could almost picture Jesus playing in between sermons in Palestine. wink

I find the general enthusiasm that many Christians show for all sorts of worldly pursuits, sports included, to be fairly mystifying.  It is as though they have never sat down and read the New Testament at all. The NT condemns the pleasures of this world and labels it the realm of Satan, so it would seem to follow that believers would shun activities that are not focused on feeding and clothing the poor and all the other things that the Bible lays out for those who believe.

I'm not sure what kind of praise Christian athletes imagine that God would want from them for carrying a ball across a chalk line or dunking a ball through a hoop, when there are millions of suffering people out there they could be ministering to.

If someone tells me that they believe that all those who die without accepting the Gospel are going to hell, and I watch them pursue the riches and pleasures of this life and throw a few hundred dollars a year into the collection plate on occasion, I'm pretty sure they are not deadly serious about following the teachings of Jesus.  Of course, we have to factor in that to a lot of people, Christianity is more about what a person believes as opposed to what they do.  American Christianity seems a lot like American everything else, full of pomp and bravado and yet lacking in the virtues that so many pay lip service to.

As for atheist athletes not trumpeting their positions for all so hear, I would say that it probably stems from two reasons. First, coming out as a atheist in general isn't a great move for lots of folks, especially when atheists have been vilified as evil and immoral people from the pulpits of this country for centuries. Second, many atheists are "live and let live" kind of people, and they don't feel the need to inform everyone around them in that kind of setting that they don't believe in gods.

Did you know that polls show that people in the U.S. would vote for a homosexual for President over an athiest? Since there has been centuries of indoctrination that those who don't believe in God must be evil, I suppose it should be of little surprise.

Date Posted: 2/22/2011 6:45 PM ET
Member Since: 9/16/2007
Posts: 188
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Did you know that polls show that people in the U.S. would vote for a homosexual for President over an athiest? Since there has been centuries of indoctrination that those who don't believe in God must be evil, I suppose it should be of little surprise.

*Laughing* Yes! I have heard that statistic (I think Bill Maher mentioned it in Religulous). It's funny - even in ancient Greece (on which so much of our education and culture is based) homosexuals were accepted and some of the lifestyle choices publicly applauded, but they could still justify sentencing Socrates to death because he "corrupted the youth" with his radical ideas, and, oh yes, becuase he didn't believe in the Greek gods.



Last Edited on: 2/22/11 6:46 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/24/2011 2:10 AM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2006
Posts: 11,063
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I myself shy away from sports by I get so sick of entertainment awards shows acceptance speeches it never fails we thank God for whatever award we are accepting. Somehow I find it hard to believe God had much to do with the winning of that award, I have a hard time especially during the music awards I'm sure God had nothing to do with alot of songs that have to be bleeped out during performance and Video;s that are sometimes quite inappropriate ,I think there fans managers and so forth are probably more than likely the ones needing thanked.