On “On Tebow”

Today’s open missive written to the wide, wide world is actually a reaction to someone else’s blog post.  You can read the original here.  Go ahead.  Go read.  I’ll wait.  OK, now that you’ve carefully and thoughtfully read that other post you can either decide to read this or you can just decide you don’t give a hoot about either post and go on with your life.  Either way, going on with life is a good thing just as reading is so whatever your decision, I stand behind you.  If in doubt, Magic 8-ball can help.

The article I pointed you to is from my friend Grant.  He’s a devout Christian and as a result he disagrees with me about a lot of things that he thinks are really important and that I think are just nice, fun(?) things to do on Sunday.  No matter in the end though since I love a debate more than … well, just about anything else.  I will say that on many levels I think that by responding it’s just possible that we may discover that as contentious as the religious debate is in this country we’re not really all THAT far apart on most things.  Issues of salvation aside, we’re all children either of God or of the heartless but infinitely orderly universe.  Perhaps the two aren’t all that different?

Grant begins with a disclaimer and it’s a very tempting one when writing about religion.  Grant, like many writers on this topic, doesn’t want to offend anyone else.  Talking about religion is one of the supreme conversational no-no’s and that’s always bothered me immensely.  Come on.  Let’s put it out there where everyone can see it.  Discuss, debate, you might learn something.

Getting some housekeeping out of the way, I’m with Grant in that last night’s Broncos v Steelers game was a grand one.  Exciting, big personalities, etc though I am forced to point out that Denver didn’t exactly claw its way back from adversity.  They were up big time and just about blew the game in the second half.  So this particular game wasn’t so much a Cinderella story as it was a near replay of the Tortoise and the Hare.  The guy pulled it out but not before taking a bit of a nap.  Oh, and as to the hype, I’m not sure anyone else was really following him either so Grant shouldn’t feel bad about catching the Tebow train after it was well underway with a good head of steam.  We’re Americans, it’s what we do.

The heart of Grant’s post is to answer the question: “Did God help Tebow win?”  As an Agnostic, I don’t really think I’m in a position to make a value judgment on the validity of that question.  I can, however, (much to my insane and giddy glee) make a logical assessment of the validity of Grant’s arguments.  His first response here is pretty typical and unassailable: (to paraphrase generously) “God is infinite and therefore can do any damn thing he damn well pleases.”  No argument from me.  Christianity defined its God in a manner that can’t really be refuted.  By definition God’s existence can never be disproven since his definition also includes the ability to hide himself from outside scrutiny.  So to this point I merely shrug and say, “ok, sure.”

Grant’s second argument seems to say simply that God did not intervene directly but granted Tebow the skill, talent, dedication, whatever to make this happen on his own.  This bit makes me ponder a bit more than the previous since this doesn’t actually REQUIRE a benevolent creator be involved.  Grant even admits that an atheist could also have been successful so it almost begs the question of why bring the creator into it at all?  It would seem that a faithless man can work hard and wring benevolence out of the universe even without God?

Grant closes with his third point about Tebow’s ending prayer.  Again, as a non-religious person this totally fails to offend me.    Do whatever it takes to make you feel inspired, grateful, whatever.  I will say that those showboating wide-receivers who praise God for every single catch do tend to get on my nerves.  Do what ya gotta do, but keep it classy.

Personally, the idea of God’s interference with… well, anything on a local level, is just insulting.  It’s insulting to God.  If God exists, he’s been sitting back and watching for the past 15 billion years with absolutely no interference necessary of any kind.  Why do I say this?  If God exists, he’s also absolutely perfect.  If he wants Tebow to win the Super Bowl then he doesn’t have to do anything.  Tebow would have been destined to win the big game from the absolute first instant that God put pen to paper.  Everything, the entire history of the universe, the path of every single molecule, the outcome of every game was mapped out with absolute certainty on the EXACT moment of creation.  God, if he exists, isn’t some celestial plate-spinner dashing from plate to plate keeping things going just the way he wants but rather an immaculately perfect clock-maker who wound up the cosmos billions of years ago and went off to smoke a really good cigar but hasn’t touched the damn thing since.  Anything less… just wouldn’t be very God-like.


Filed under non-fiction, personal, religion

8 responses to “On “On Tebow”

  1. Great read. Funny the way it is, I’m currently getting ready to post a religious/money themed entry as well as continuing to finalize my draft on the trending Tebow. I like your take on this though. The idea of ask and ye shall receive does seem a bit…pretentious.

  2. Oblitus Només

    Well, Rob, I have only a few responses to some of what you’ve said here.

    So far as I can tell from the little I have read of your page, you seem to me to be someone who would not quite identify with the radical atheists, but neither with the radical Christians. Or, to say it in layman’s terms, you appear to me (and, to be sure, I don’t mean this in a provocative way, I am just thinking out loud) to be straddling the fence as far as religion goes, at least in a sense. In reality there is no straddling the fence, though I’m sure you’ve heard that before. The reason that there is no middle ground is that by definition if you do not believe in God, then you don’t believe in Him. If you don’t obey God’s law, then by definition you are disobeying it. Make sense? So in reality there is no non-religious person. Either you are a theist or an atheist and each is a religion.

    Next, though, I wanted to address your argument that, essentially, God (if He exists) created the universe, wrote the future, and planned everybody’s destinies all at the same time because if He is truly all powerful then He would not need to do otherwise. The less stated thing being that God does not take an active part in the happenings of the world. Well this strays rather close to the idea of predestination. Now I will not try to address predestination fully at the moment, because it would take too long, but I will address the aspect of it that you have brought up. If we assume that God is real, and that the Bible is therefore true, then we can progress from there. So if the Bible is the Word of God, and describes Him correctly, then there is no doubt that He is indeed directly involved in the workings of the world, and the lives of His people. There are countless instances throughout the Bible of God speaking to people, sending angels to help or hinder people, fighting against people, fighting for people, creating spontaneous hailstorms and other miracles and coming to earth in the form of a man to die for His creation. If you accept that the Bible is the work of God through men, then there is no way around the fact that God does indeed actively take part in the doing of men. He is not a passive watcher in the development of time (and on that note, just to say, the world is, I believe, less than ten-thousand years old, not several billion 😉 ). So then you may ask, “If He does not need to then why would He do it. Well that question is answered easily by the well known verse John 3:16 (which, by the way, I hear Tebow had on his face during a game recently. Please excuse my lack of the correct game terms, not really a football guy), “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believed in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” God does not have to intervene in the world by any means, but He chooses to because He loves His creation, and because He promised us that He would intervene on His children’s behalf, and He does not lie.

    So there are my comments, hope they were not too long. Tell me what you think.

  3. sirrahh

    From one Rob to another,

    Well said! The whole Tebow thing is ridiculous, so maybe now it will go away for a while.

    Thanks for reading some of my stuff. It’s always much appreciated.




    • As to the age of the earth.. It is older than the time man has been upon it certainly, and who is to say it may not have been used before us for similar things. Only this time is our time to prove or not who and what we will be.

      And to address the original contention….
      Since God is a God of Good (“No man is good but my Father which is in heaven.” as quoted by Jesus Christ in the New Testament), it would beg the question of why he would write everything in the universe at the beginning, including all the bad stuff, and then go off to smoke a good cigar or whatever it is God might do when he wants to relax.
      Under those circumstances, it is easier to accept that he has given us free will, to do whatever we choose to do, good or bad, which choices and attitudes will determine our placement in the next round. “For there must needs be opposition in all things, but woe unto them by whom it comes.”

      Now did he Know which of us would do good and bad? Probably, but we have to prove it to ourselves. It’ll save all that arguing over fairness later on.
      After all, no matter how brilliant a person is, if they won’t use their brilliance to help people, what good are they? And some will use their brilliance to hurt people.
      So great responsibility will only go to those who prove that they can be trusted to not be abusive with what they are given.

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