How the New England Patriots Saved the World

Lord knows, I love me some football.

I love the gridiron, I thrill to the long bomb, my pulse pounds with every touchdown, and despite my beliefs (or lack thereof) I’ve said more than my share of Hail Marys.

But even I, who pray at the Church of the Pigskin devoutly every Sunday, never saw the game in the light of those who worship football’s latest idol, Tim Tebow.

You know the image by now: Denver Broncos quarterback Tebow, before, during, and after every game, down on one knee, black stripe under each eye stenciled with the numbers 3:16, praying to his God before one and all.

And so what? What’s wrong with that? We are each of us endowed by our creator, and all that. Why shouldn’t he believe what he wants to believe, and pray to whom he wishes to pray, you may ask. And you’d be perfectly right to ask just that.

Except that Tebow, and his fans, don’t just believe in God. No. They believe God is *influencing the outcome of the game.* Get down on your knee and the Holy Fix is in, Tebow Time will come on God’s command, and all he will do, all he ever does, is win.

This week, a poll found 42% of Americans believe that God is behind Tebow’s success on the football field. Nearly half of all of us. Drink that in for just a moment. If you don’t believe it, the person next to you does.

God is purportedly the creator of the entire universe, which contains billions of galaxies and (potentially) a number of habitable worlds too numerous to count. But let’s leave that aside. He created our world, with its billions of human inhabitants, all races, all cultures, every man, woman, and child. And we’re not all of us sitting comfortably in air conditioned and heated domed stadiums, eating hot dogs and drinking a frosty beverage. People are starving to death in the streets. People are slaughtered wholesale for what they believe, the land where they live, the precious stones under the ground, the color of their skin. Babies are stillborn. Women are systematically raped and mutilated. Children die of cancer, or are born with birth defects, or AIDS.

Now, none of this invalidates the existence of God. He could still have created this world, where each person has the freedom to choose their own path, as long as they know that in the end, when at last they reach their destiny, they will answer for those choices before him, and be punished or rewarded as they deserve.

But what Tebow and the 42 percenters would have us accept is not that world, but a world in which God allows all of the above to go on with one hand, but with the other he helps Tim Tebow win a game. If you believe these are God’s priorities, you believe in a world wholly beyond reason. The God of that world is a monster, and that world is HELL.

Tim Tebow cannot be right.

For the sake of us all, and all our sanity and well being, Tebow must be wrong. And so it was that I watched my beloved game in such joy as I can’t begin to describe, as the New England Patriots racked up point after rapturous point, garnering unto themselves a victory, not for them…well, not ONLY for them…but for us all.

The world is a better place this morning, because outcomes are decided not by an invisible hand, but by the hands and feet and powerful forms of those men on the field. And we can all rest easy knowing that Tebow Time, if and when it comes, will come solely at the command of Tim Tebow himself.

My guess? Next season.


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