Tim Tebow’s Relationship With His God

  • 0

There is nothing quite like Tim Tebow.

He is one of the most decorated NCAA Football players of all time. He worked for years as a Missionary spreading the Gospel in Southeast Asia. He is arguably the worst passing quarterback in the NFL. He is by far the most talked about sports personality.

Quite a combination. Much of the talk of Tim Tebow relates to his very obvious religious beliefs. I say they are obvious because Tebow kneels in prayer during the game. He points to the sky all the time. He invokes the name of his God every time he has a chance to do so. Tebow’s antics inspired an entire internet meme called #Tebowing. People would kneel as if in prayer at the most awkward times and places and snap a picture. This is aside from the very clever #occupytebow movement which is not relevant to this blog post.

The point is that Tebow takes his religion very seriously. Whenever athletes thank God and praise God for their accomplishments it can be irksome to everyone. Religious people of the same religion, religious people of other religions and atheists can all find ways to be offended.

Does God really want the Home team to beat the Away team? Does God really give special powers to some teams and not to other teams? Does a player’s religious conviction really have an impact on a game?

I think the answer to all those questions is no. See: Whose Fault is a Dropped Game-Wininng Touchdown? for my feelings on this one.

In fact, please read that post because you’ll see that I actually agree with Tim Tebow on this issue.

Tebow was asked about invoking God as part of his athletic accomplishments and he didn’t take the bait. He answered that he doesn’t give God the credit or the blame. He is merely using his platform as a way of teaching people about his religion. He emphatically denied that his religion gives him an edge or that he can play better because of God. He focused on the opportunity to use his fame and success to glorify the name of his God.

He also mentions that football does not define him. He is defined by his morality and good acts. He is defined by his character. So his religion is not a cause. It is merely a basis for his life. It is not part of his game on the field.

I think that is a great answer. Great job by Tebow.

What is interesting to me is that Tebow invokes the name of his God, Jesus, and that is somewhat acceptable within society. Imagine a Muslim player praising Allah or a Jewish person praising God (not Jesus). I don’t think they would be as accepted.

Christian displays of religious fervor are far more tolerated than that of any other religion. It can make the rest of us feel uncomfortable. Tebow is doing it in a way that minimizes the discomfort for others but even his way has rankled many people. It would be wise for people to limit religion to religious activities and not pepper it throughout their public lives.

Watch Tebow’s interview. The religious stuff is near the end:

  • >It can make the rest of us feel uncomfortable.
    It can? How small do you have to be to feel discomfort at someone displaying their religion? (Jew, Muslim, Sikh or whatever)

  • Anonymous

    Does God really want the Home team to beat the Away team? Does God really give special powers to some teams and not to other teams? Does a player’s religious conviction really have an impact on a game?

    I hope he’s asking God to help him play the best he can and to keep him and his teammates uninjured, rather than asking God to “make” his team win. Does it have an impact? Probably not, except for perhaps some internal psychic impact in some people.

  • Anonymous

    First of all, thank you for taking the time to post this Rabbi. Great topic!

    Is there any difference between the way Tim Tebow publicly expresses his religious convictions (Christian) and Sandy Koufax (Jewish) expressing his? Sandy refused to play in game one of the World Series, due to Yom Kippur in 1965? I’m sure a lot of fans would have rather he pitched the game and thanked G-d for every strikeout.

    I would actually say today’s society is less tolerable of Christianity, more so than any other religion. It has become taboo in most respects to publicly share or express Christian beliefs. To say, Merry Xmas to anyone is now a federal offense. In today’s America, I would argue, we find find ourselves at the other end of the spectrum. A place where it’s acceptable to openly criticize Christianity and it is in no way regarded as off limits.

    If a Muslim athlete refuses to take part in the National Anthem prior to sporting events, it is not acceptable to question the motives. I have much more concern over this than I do with TT thanking Jesus for blessing him with uncommon athletic ability.

    As a Jew myself, I understand that this country was founded on Christian beliefs and theology. I’m fine with that. This country gave my people a place to go when there was nowhere else to go. Thankfully the founding fathers (I’m sure Christian in belief) were wonderful enough to create a country where all are accepted and viewed as equals. Perhaps we ought to acknowledge this kindness & accept thier beliefs, without question or biased. Hasnt that played a big role in what has made this country great? I thank G-d this is a country of G-d fearing men & women, Christian or otherwise, that came to the rescue of our people in a time of need. These people have stood by us ever since. And they have done so in a lot of primarily because their Christian beliefs.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’m pro-Christian. If they refuse to believe man came from monkeys or wish to believe Jesus was born on December 25th and died for thier sins… Fine by me. Feel free have to praise Jesus all you want with every touchdown Timmy T!!!

    If anything, Tebow’s a great role model for the youth and we need that right now. He walks the walk and talks the talk… That’s a rare and beautiful quality in this world.

    G-d bless Tebow 🙂

    • Generally, it’s a problem with the left, not the overall society. 

      • Correlation does not equal causation. The right is all religious so why would they object? Not a very convincing argument…

        • Rabbi, please, a little common sense & wisdom  and less with the intellectualism. I’m not saying every liberal is anti-christian. I am saying when there is anti-christian sentiment, or offense is taken by anything as subtle as a christmas tree, it tends to be greater from the left. Just like the left tends to be the ones objecting to Judaism in Israel. In any country, leftism tends to rid itself of the shackles of its religion. It’s a competing value system. There is a wonderful book by Eliezer Berkowitz  where in one chapter he discusses the left ridding itself of the “Christian ethos” of sexuality of the 60s. (just as an example that came into my head). 

          You want to say the right is all religious? Fine. So then I will say, the left is all secular. Fine? Hence the rift.

          • All I am saying is that obviously critics of public displays of religion are not going to be from the right because they are all religious! Why would they be offended?

            And I am religious and not on the right. So what does that make me?

            Find me a secular on the right…

          • Anonymous

            R’ E Fink – All I am saying is that obviously critics of public displays of religion are not going to be from the right because they are all religious!

            Are you kidding? If someone put up a public Muslim religious display, you can bet there will be plenty of criticism from the right!

        • It doesn’t matter Rabbi.

          Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Is it true that the Talmud calls Jesus a son of a whore and states that he is in hell boiling alive in a vat of human excrement? Is it true that according to the talmud it is acceptable to have intercourse with a 4 year old girl because the virginity will grow back? I ask you this rabbi because you make repeated reference to “his God” which implies that you worship a different God, one whose true identity and nature is pretty obvious given the filth contained in “your” talmud. 

  • Do you want real answers? Ok. Here we go.

    >>Is it true that the Talmud calls Jesus a son of a whore and states that he is in hell boiling alive in a vat of human excrement?
    Unclear. The Talmud does speak of a certain apostate who was the son of a whore, and who might be boiling alive in excrement, but even Jewish authorities don’t agree about who it was. The passage may refer to Jesus, but there are serious problems with the claim. Its really ambiguous. See here: http://talmud.faithweb.com/articles/jesusnarr.html

    >>Is it true that according to the talmud it is acceptable to have intercourse with a 4 year old girl because the virginity will grow back?

    No, that’s not what the Talmud says. See here for the actual passage, and the intended meaning. http://www.angelfire.com/mt/talmud/three.html

    Any other questions?