An Atheist Who Supports Tim Tebow January 10, 2012

An Atheist Who Supports Tim Tebow

Well, this is different: One man says he’s an atheist who supports Tim Tebow:

Unlike so many athletes, Tebow will not let you down. He will not be caught in a bizarre incident at a night club at 3:00 in the morning. He will not father illegitimate kids, test positive for drugs, or defile his skin with ridiculous tattoos.

Funny thing is, he COULD do all these things, then simply ask for forgiveness. His ticket to heaven would remain valid. Sin, forgive, sin, forgive, repeat. Doesn’t sound like a recipe for morality, but that’s another essay.

As it stands, Tebow’s life includes no such sin/repeat pattern, and there is comfort in this for his fans. His self control is simply staggering.

It goes on like that for a while. Tebow’s a good guy, his teammates love him, he helps people, etc.

Of course, none of those things are the reasons I (and many other atheists) criticize him.

My issue with Tebow is that he thinks he can break the rules of the game (or flaunt its loopholes) simply because he’s Christian.

He did it in college when he wrote Bible messages under his eye black:


Perhaps it wasn’t explicitly forbidden at the time, but would an atheist player have gotten away with the same thing had he written “There is” “No God” instead of Bible verses? I doubt it.

(The NCAA later banned eye black messages in what is known as “The Tebow Rule.”)

When Tebow entered the NFL, he broke the rule that said no messages could be written on uniforms:

Even though the penalty for breaking the rule started at $5,000, Tebow was never fined.

Would an atheist have received the same treatment? Doubtful.

I don’t care if Tebow’s a Christian — there are plenty of Christian athletes who are very open about their faith. My problem is that he thinks he’s somehow above the law because of it — and the people around him just reinforce that notion.

(***Edit***: I removed the name of the blogger in charge of the Atheists for Tebow website.)

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  • Jake

    Not to mention that he isn’t very good, but people treat him like he’s the next Joe Montana.

    I’m always reminded of the following quotation:

    “Can’t we silence these Christian athletes who thank Jesus whenever they win and never mention his name when they lose? You never hear them say, “Jesus made me drop the ball,” or, “The good lord tripped me up behind the line of scrimmage.””
    -George Carlin

    Tebow and Jesus get all the credit for every win and good play and take none of the blame for the losses and crappy plays. It must be nice.

  • Didn’t we all think that Tiger Woods was all squeaky-clean and would NEVER let us down?  Or that awesome football player who was also hilarious in “Naked Gun”?

  • Liz Heywood

    Check back with Tebow in year or 5. I wouldn’t put any money on his “faith” keeping him squeaky clean.

    & I want Tebow to explain exactly what the rules are: When he loses, hasn’t god heard him? Or does god disagree with Tebow’s plan and overrules him? Will Tebow still be doing his  public prayer-display years from now, if god keeps him in the game that long?

  • Nah

    For me it comes down to his association with Focus on the Family and certain events surrounding attempts to find his position on gay rights, such as when his publicist jumped in and prevented him from answering the question, and his (and the Broncos) refusal to do an It Gets Better video.

  • Anonymous

    That kind of attitude doesn’t just apply to sports, but also to everything else. Bad things are only god’s responsibility when he sent some disaster to punish people. Otherwise the fact that people are starving or that people die is just somehow part of his mysterious plan

  • Matt in Knoxville

     I don’t hate Tebow. He seems like a nice enough person, even though he obviously engages in some seriously obnoxious behavior, and I don’t mind if he is successful for that reason. However, he does in fact deserve mockery and ridicule for several reasons.  He is extremely public and vocal – not just in his private life, but on the football field – with an insane and irrational evangelical belief system that, among other things, holds that those of us who don’t share said belief system deserve eternal damnation. If he wants to be so vocal about these beliefs, and drag such divisive ideology into the realm of football, which is supposed to be one of the few places where people from all types of religious and social backgrounds can forget these types of differences for just a couple hours and find some common ground they might not otherwise have, he has that right, but he needs to expect some backlash. This is never addressed by the sports media, which instead prefers to portray an alternate reality where Tebow is some sort of courageous martyr and angry, bigoted people like me “hate him because of his faith.”  
    I feel perfectly justified in calling him out for his obnoxious displays of piety, constant on-field allusions to a disastrously irrational and immoral belief system, and the blatant double standard applied to him by his hordes of fans and the adoring media, which seems to insinuate at all times that Tebow is somehow superior to everyone around him because of his incessant evangelism.   

  • JJH

    Where this argument falls short is there are plenty of quarterbacks in the league who are both christian and upstanding citizens. Rodgers and Brees are the prime examples. Tebow is far from being the only good role model in football. The only difference is he is the only evangelical who brings it on the field in such an overt manner.

  • Sware

    Was thinking the same thing.  I remember Oprah propping up Tiger saying he was her son or America’s son or something like that.  Just because we don’t know an individuals skeletons doesn’t mean they are without them.

  • Sware

    Doesn’t the rest of his team deserve any credit?  Or perhaps you credit the failure of their opponents once in a while?  You would think he is playing these games solo the way everyone talks about him.  Funny I always thought football was a team sport.  

  • Rich Wilson

    They can ban messages on uniforms, but not team names like “The Redskins”?

    If I had a billion bucks, I’d ask for a team called “The Yellowskins”  or maybe “The Blackskins”.  Nice that only the first of these is spelled correctly according to my browser.

  • Anonymous

    That essay is stupid and misses the point and the comments are full of typical godbothering fare. A bunch of religionists who start their comment off by saying nice things like “oh it’s so nice of you to be understanding of Mr Tebow even though you differ in beliefs from him” and then end their comment with the typical “I hope you’ll see the light” or “Maybe Tebow is God’s message to you to open your eyes.”  It’s not even enough for them when we try to give them some respect, they still try to forcibly save our souls. I’d rather an evangelical loud mouth tell me straight out that they believe I’m going to hell instead of veiling their insults in niceties and back-handed compliments. 

    There are also only twelve comments over there, and it already got one “there’s no concrete evidence to disprove God and no concrete evidence to prove evolution” and also a “ZOMG! ATHEISM IS A RELIGION TOO!”  

    That person wasted 12.95 on registering the domain, if he even truly is an atheist, which I’m not sure I believe based on the “essay.”

  • Anonymous

    They beat the Steelers, and I hate the Steelers. 

  • Rich Orman

    “Above the law”?  Seriously?  Talk about hyperbole.  Tim Tebow, whatever faults you attribute to him, has not, in any way, shape or form shown that  “he thinks he’s somehow above the law.”    Writing on your eyeblack is not against the law, indeed it would most likely be unconstitutional for a governmental body in the USA to do so. Breaking some NFL rule on uniforms is not against the law.  “Above the law” would be killing something (say, former NFL player Ray Caruth), or beating up your partner (NFL players too numerous to name), or driving drunk (NFL players too numerous to name), or selling drugs (allegedly Sam Hurd, formerly of the Chicago Bears), or–well you get the point.  I have never seen an accusation that Tim Tebow has ever broke “the law” under any circumstances, much less demonstrated that he thinks he is immune from its enforcement.

    P.S.  In full disclosure, I am a true blue Broncos fan, and an atheist, and someone who is glad that Mr. Tebow wears the blue and orange.

  • Anonymous

    I think the Tebow ‘sindrom’ is more Christians in a desperation mode to validate God and their own immortality. Just like finding the face of Mary on a piece of toast. I wonder when Tebow’s sweaty superbowl jock strap will become a holy artifact.  Hopefully none of the steroids he is probably taking (compare pics!) will affect him in a Jim Jones sort of way.

  • Ryan Booker

    As an atheist and a (virtually) lifelong Broncos fan, I am truly weary of the Tebow religion “debate” from both sides. I couldn’t care less if he’s a Christian, it makes no difference to me and I don’t understand why it does to other atheists. I watch football because I want to be entertained; Tim Tebow and the Broncos entertain me and their religious preferences have no bearing on that.

    I am certainly tired of the relentless religious overtones that Christians cast on any discussion of Tebow. Its gets old since, as a Denver resident and Broncos fan, I hear about Tebow a lot. That being said, I’m also tired of the reverse from atheists. I respect Hemant a lot but he’s really grasping at straws with this “Tebow thinks he’s above the law” argument. Tebow put Bible verses on his eye black in college prior to it being banned. Whether or not an atheist would have gotten away with something similar is irrelevant when judging Tebow. Tebow doesn’t choose how NCAA rules are enforced. Once in the NFL, Tebow violated the uniform policy on, as far as I’m aware, a single occasion. He committed a minor breach of the rules, a breach committed dozens of times each season by dozens of players (and, occasionally, entire teams), and he should be fined for it. Claiming that a minor violation of the uniform policy, as a rookie no less, is indicative of some broad disregard for the rules is ludicrous. Once again, the fact that he wasn’t fined for it, while concerning to me as an atheist fan of the NFL, doesn’t somehow make his actions worse.

    Maybe I’m letting too much slide from Tebow but I just can’t bring myself to care about the 10 seconds a game that Tebow spends subjecting me to references to the Christian god. So he kneels in the end zone and on the sideline? Football is full of all manner of touchdown celebrations, dancing, etc. I was doing a little dancing of my own when the Broncos won on Sunday. Am I really supposed to be offended by a player kneeling? Likewise, the inanity of about half of the three hours of commentary I hear each game aggravates me far more than Tebow’s 10 seconds of post-game deity acknowledgment. He’s hardly any more “in your face” with his religion than are numerous other athletes or, frankly, American society as a whole. Do I wish he wouldn’t talk about religion while I’m enjoying some football? Absolutely. Does it make him some sort of monster? Of course not.

    I guess the conclusion to this rambling, marginally incoherent post is that I understand the frustration over the constant religious talk surrounding this guy but I don’t think it’s appropriate to be directing that frustration at Tebow. He’s not doing anything that hundreds of NFL players before him haven’t done. For whatever reason, however, fans/the media/random people on the street seem to care more this time. Silly? Sure. Tebow’s fault? I have a hard time seeing how.

  • Mtjahnke

    Football is a team game. The thing that I don’t like about Tebow and those like him is that he explicitly uses his religious beliefs to divide the team against itself. A good team player focuses on the whole team as one unit. Having a guy like Tebow on your team inherently sets up a situation where you have an in-group and an out-group. Not good for team morale in my opinion.

  • Anonymous

    It’s indeed rare for them to similarly blame god, but we can’t say never:

  • Anonymous

    Ah here’s the Tebow post I’ve been waiting for.

    So you’re problem with him is that he’s such a rebel? If he just stopped writing messages on his wristband (does he still do that?) then he’d be cool in your book?

  • MerryAtheist

    “the realm of football, which is supposed to be one of the few places
    where people from all types of religious and social backgrounds can
    forget these types of differences for just a couple hours and find some
    common ground they might not otherwise have”

    Really? That’s what football is about? And all this time I thought it was about athleticism, strategy, and brute force.

  • MerryAtheist

    I completely agree with Rich on this (except the part about being a Broncos fan). There’s a tendency among many atheists to blow the littlest things out of proportion, to seek to be offended, and this is clearly an example. It makes me kind of sad to think so many atheists are just like many Christians in this respect.

  • Drew M.

    Actually, it’s about money.

  • Momma J

    I’m pretty sure Tim Tebow puts plenty of blame on himself when his team loses.

  • Momma J

    This might be the worst article I’ve seen on this page. “My problem is that he thinks he’s somehow above the law because of it — and the people around him just reinforce that notion.” 
    First off, it’s a rule, not a law. Mr. Tebow isn’t going to jail if he writes a scripture reference on his wrist band. The thought of this is silly.  Second, there’s nothing about his behavior that proves he thinks he’s above the law. To be above the law, he would think that the rules don’t apply to him. Maybe he knows he’s going to be fined and does it anyway. As long as he accepts the consequences (fine or whatever other punishment) then I would say that he is still under the law.

    Stop trying to make a non-story into the next rallying point. I think his existence and the way he goes about living his life is starting to get under your logical, scientific, free thinking skin 🙂

  • Bob

    he is also a spokesman for focus on the family

  • Wintermute

    The only thing about Tebow that irritates me is that 90% of the conversation I see about him seems to be focused on whether or not his success is ‘divine intervention’ (that was literally the question in the headline on, I believe Fox News this morning). That kind of stupidity ought to be insulting to the truly faithful, and it certainly grinds my gears to imagine a god who intervenes in a football game but not when little kids are dying of cancer. If people were less douchey about it, I’d never think twice about the guy’s beliefs.

  • Scarlet A

    christians… oi…. 

  • I don’t see why he couldn’t just tattoo those bible verses on his skin (or hell, use a sharpie and write them under his jersey before the game). After all, no rules against tattoos, right?

    Note, that I am not a christian. Just pointing out that there are plenty of ways he could express his belief without breaking rules or being in people’s face about it.

  • Madnpc

    If you’re Christian(replace with any other belief) you can do whatever the hell you like.  It’s unbelievable what these people allow themselves to do and then turn around and justify it because they are forgiven. It’s the whole purpose of religion. Hold yourself up as righteous and point the finger at everyone else. Then when “I” do something morally or socially unacceptable  “I”  can confess, get saved, be reborn, whatever it takes…..just reset the meter.  

    Having said this, Tebow’s popularity is because he VALIDATES this same group of people. The same way attendance at a  stadium is ALWAYS correlated to the number of wins of a team. Everybody wants to be associated with a winner! Christians are just more disingenuous about it because they constantly repeat this behavior. Tebow’s a winner and he carries the banner for the righteous. Double-whammy!

    I’m an atheist as well and I like Tebow. It seems he truly walks the walk. I don’t agree with his over-the-top display of piousness but I think this is where he gets his strength.    Many people have done a lot worse things in the name of their god than this guy.  If I were to meet him and have a conversation with him about religion, my opinion would probably change. However, I don’t expect him to convert to my life values and I certainly am not interested in converting to his. It APPEARS he is a stand up human being and I respect that!

  • Fufufu

    what the fuck is wrong with tattoos? this guy is an idiot

  • Esteban

    I think the “above the law” reference was used as a figure of speech. Not that he behaves in unlawful ways and either gets away with it or believes he should.

  • Forbidden by the Bible.

  • Rich Wilson
  • “father illegitimate kids”

    What is wrong with all these people? Since when has not wanting to get married been a crime?  “Illegitimate” means unlawful – but being ‘born out of wedlock’ is a crime invented by theocracies. No atheist should use the word! I am shocked!

  • Piet Puk

    But why does he not blame his god? Or do you mean he thinks he is a god, and blames Himself?

  • Matt in Knoxville

    Really? Yes, it is in fact about brute force athleticism, strategy, money, and juvenile tribalism, but my point still stands. For those who follow sports or support a particular team, it is definitely an opportunity to socialize and interact, in a positive lighthearted manner, with people you might otherwise never want to encounter or talk to because of social, political, or religious differences that otherwise get in the way.  There is something valuable in that, and people like Tebow undermine that potentially positive side of sports when they refuse to ever shut up for just one second about their religious views in the context of the game itself.  For the same reason, it would be equally obnoxious for an atheist to constantly talk about atheism and reason during football press conferences and sideline interviews, even though I would absolutely agree with the substance of their statements.  Not that we are going to see that anytime soon… 

  • Anonymous

    After reading upteen articles on the guy, I have to wonder…..

    Why do we never see him tebowing after getting  sacked, making incomplete passes, or getting intercepted?  Is he just ungrateful for god’s plan?

  • Anonymous

    Something’s been bothering me about these posts since they began appearing. I don’t think it’s fair to compare the bible verses to “There is” “No God”. As inaccurate as the verses may be, they’re still a positive suggestion. Any insult or condemnation is indirect. A better example me be the words “Science” “Reason” (or any other thing viewed as a secular virtue) instead of “There is” “No God”. The original comparison would be fairer if Tebow’s eye black said “Islam is” “False”. I like to think the discussion would have never made it this far if that were the case.

  • T-Rex

    As a Gator alumn, I cheered for Tebow when he was running our offense. Also, you just didn’t hear or see him as much as you do now. Sure everyone knew he was a religious nut, but the media wasn’t saturated with Tebow like it is now and you have to admit he does have some serious leadership abilities and a will to win.  I can’t say that I cheer him for anymore, especially since I’m a Bears fan and he comes off as bathshit crazy religious guy now. I do tune in to watch him though, but more so to see if he fails and how he’ll react to those failures. As far as I can tell, he still thinks gawd helps him but doesn’t have anything to do with his failures. That’s just his own fault. *face palm.  Meh, he’s the best throwing fullback in the league. QB? Not so much. Defenses will figure him out soon enough and he’ll end up being utilized in offensive packages created just for him, but I don’t see him lasting much longer as a starting QB in the NFL. Once that happens, you won’t hear or see him nearly as much.

  • Why the hate on tattoos?

  • Personally I find it aggravating that he thinks he’s above the very law he so vehemently flaunts; the Lord’s law. First of all Matthew 6:6, and of course the 1st commandment; do not use the Lord’s name in vain. That’s vain as in vanity, as in being vain enough to think that God has personally blessed him when he wins. 

    I’m an atheist so I don’t take these rules seriously, but it’s the hypocrisy that irks me. And as a football fan, I’m annoyed by the attention when he’s just not that good/consistent. If he ends up becoming a consistent player, I’d have less issues with his constant coverage.

  • Gus Snarp

    I dislike Tebow for many reasons, and to some extent I’m ashamed of it. I don’t feel nearly as much of a visceral distaste for Bret Favre or Ben Rothlisberger, and perhaps I should. Bret is pretty clearly a sexist pig at the very least, and Ben may very well be a rapist, though I don’t know how strong the evidence is. But perhaps what bothers me about Tebow is less Tebow and more his fans. Admittedly I don’t like his showy and ostentatious propriety and religiosity, I don’t like his association with Focus on the Family, and I don’t like his belief that the highest good we can do for people in underdeveloped countries is circumcise their babies, but it’s his fans, who seem to think he’s the second coming that I dislike. Many seem to think he’s the greatest quarterback, no, the greatest athlete of all time and all because of his evangelical Christianity. I’m sorry, but there are plenty of great Christian athletes, great Muslim athletes, great Hindu athletes, great non-religious athletes, great Rastafarian athletes, I’ll stop now thought the list could go on forever. In any case, their gods don’t make them great athletes in exchange for their beliefs. They were born with the right genes, given the right motivation, placed in the right environment, and worked hard to become great. God had nothing to do with it and Tebow is not some example of the power of prayer or how God rewards his believers. As a former Floridian and a Gator fan, I have a lot of these people on my Facebook, and I can’t stand when they post about Tebow.

    Then there’s the racism. Not from Tebow, from his fans. What evidence do I have for this? College Football and the NFL have long had athletes talk about their faith and pray on the field in celebration or before a play. Most of the most visibly Christian football players, it seems to me, have been black. And none of them have been painted as heroes of Christianity. Then there’s his time as a backup/specialty QB at Florida. The Gators had an outstanding senior quarterback, who successfully led them to the National Championship, with Tebow as a third or fourth and short running option. Many Florida fans were crying out for Tebow to be the starter. While the starter was leading them to the national title. Because he had bible verses on his eye black, or because he was white and the starter was black? I know enough Florida football fans to have a pretty strong opinion on that, and you can guess what it is.

  • Gus Snarp

    Well, no NFL rules, there is the Biblical rule. But that hasn’t stopped a lot of other people from tattooing Bible verses on themselves, completely unaware of the irony.

  • walkamungus

    I’m a long-time Broncos fan, and since I was willing to contemplate the Broncos going after a post-prison *Michael Vick* back in the bad ol’ days of “aren’t we ever going to have a decent quarterback again?”, I don’t really think I can get all worked up about Tim Tebow. At least his attitude’s better than Brian Griese’s was. 

    Granted, I’m not living in Denver any more, so I’m not in the middle of the hysteria. But there are other evangelical athletes (rodeo is full of them, and you see lots of crosses on chaps), and other obnoxious athletes, and even though Tebow is obnoxious about his beliefs, at some point the media storm will blow over.The way he motivates himself on the field is probably so intertwined with his belief system that he wouldn’t be the same QB without it. I’m a realist about his chances of surviving in the NFL, but man, that was a pretty pass in OT on Sunday!

    Have a little sympathy. Bronco fans have been waiting for the Second Coming of John Elway for a long time… 

  • Gus Snarp


    Why do these people assume that just because he hasn’t been caught at shenanigans yet and he is a vocal evangelical, that he isn’t and won’t be doing anything inappropriate by whatever moral code one chooses to judge NFL players on? “He will not father illegitimate kids?” Are we really to assume he’s a virgin? Or that he’s just smart enough to always use two methods of birth control every time? Or maybe there will just be enough pressure for his girlfriends to just get secret abortions. Wait and see. Maybe he’s Biblically pure and will stay that way. Maybe not. But I do wonder what Catholics think of him. I imagine they’re not aware that all that missionary work in the Philippines involved converting heathen Catholics to “true” Christianity.

  • Gus Snarp

    You weren’t paying attention to the same media I was, and I wasn’t following all that closely, but I heard plenty of stories about his religiosity, plenty of calls for him to replace Chris Leak as the starting QB. I think he’s a phenomenal athlete and fun to watch, but he’s not that great and the media obsession with him grates on me too. And yeah, if I’d drafted him, I’d still use him as a specialty back, design trick plays around him, and maybe start him at fullback.

  • Gus Snarp


    An atheist who thinks it’s a horrible sin when a football player fathers a child out of wedlock? Something smells fishy to me.

  • Gus Snarp

    Does the Bible say anything about steroids, human growth hormone, or whatever the performance enhancer du jour is in the NFL? Of course he won’t test positive, the NFL doesn’t test, because it would wipe out the entire league.

  • Rich Wilson

    Brett Favre?

  • Gus Snarp

    Brett Favre?

  • Gus Snarp

    Oh, was this supposed to be a reply to my other comment? Is this because I misspelled his name, or are you not aware of his sexual harassment problem?

  • Rich Wilson

    That was me missing your other comment because it’s early.  Sorry!

  • Gus Snarp

    Ahhhh, you’re saying that Brett Favre once had a squeaky clean image too. Gotcha.

  • Cody Darkstalker

    This is silly. Hardcore Christians get caught in scandals or doing terrible things all the time! They are people, just like atheists, and make the same mistakes. The only real difference is that they don’t try and make things better, they just apologize to their fake god and go on with things. 

  • Anonymous

    Have to disagree with you here, Sharkeye.  Simply stating “There is no god” is not an insult any more than a christian telling me my mortal soul is in jeopardy if I don’t accept his/her flavor of mythology.  It’s simply a statement of opinion that is just as valid as “There is a god.”  Being offended by that remark is a choice on the part of the christian.

  • Anonymous

    As a UGA alum, atheist, and Denver resident….believe me, I’m so over the Tebow story.  I think he’s a great athlete, but terrible passer of the football.  So, I’m confident he will be out of the NFL soon enough.  However, I do worry about all the harm he has and will cause.  Both with people thinking it’s acceptable to wear Jean Shorts (yes, Gainesville, FL, home of UF, I’m looking at you), as well as that whole “it’s okay to believe in a god thing.

    I actually have a catholic, UGA friend who likes Tebow.  How do I explain to her that a) he went to Florida, and thus should be shunned, and b) he thinks she’s going to hell?

    But seriously, I don’t like Tebow, and I hate the University of Florida.

  • I don’t care about these ” sins,” and I’m disappointed that anyone calling himself an atheist would even use the term sin. 
    “He will not be caught in a bizarre incident at a night club at 3:00
    in the morning. He will not father illegitimate kids, test positive for
    drugs, or defile his skin with ridiculous tattoos.”I know plenty of perfectly decent and responsible people who have done all of these no-nos.  The one about fathering illegitimate kids assumes that all women want to be married-  since an astounding percentage of Americans are born to unmarried women, I have to assume that’s an invalid assumption.    More to the point…does he eat endangered species?   What about his fossil fuel use and trash management habits?

  • MarieG

    LOVE your response Gus!  I am a Colorado native and Bronco season ticket holder and your post is exactly how I feel.  

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Are we really to assume he’s a virgin?
    Assume? He said that he was, in July 2009.  Google it.

  • Demonhype

    Exactly.  What is meant is “against the rules of the organization he is a part of”.  If an atheist player kept flouting rules, they’d fine him without a qualm and if it kept happening they’d kick his ass out.  They’d probably do that with someone of a non-Christian religion too.  But when a Christian does it it’s okay, and many Christians (not just Tebow) think that their faith gives them a special exemption to break not only rules but actual laws (like the Non-Establishment Clause being continuously  broken in public schools, for example) and that both rules and laws are only really meant to be applied to non-Christians and are simply suggestions for people of  The True Faith.

    And if an atheist or non-Christian got fined or suspended or something for blatantly flouting the rules and feeling their own message or views make them exempt from those rules, no one would have sympathy or see them as a martyr.  Atheists would be thinking “well, there is a rule that you don’t put messages on your uniform and, provided that rule is equally applied across the board, that’s fair”.  And theists would be saying “well, he had it coming for breaking the rules, what more do you expect from a damn atheist, they have no morals and here’s the proof!”  But when a Christian like Tebow does it, it’s seen as heroism and if anyone has the audacity to point out his blatant disregard of the rules (much less actually fine him or apply any other disciplinary measure to him), he becomes a heroic martyr, and anyone who refuses to ignore this is either a hater or an evil atheist who fears Tebow for his Truth or some shit like that.  If an atheist flouts the rules, it’s evidence of his godless lack of morals, if a Christian flouts the rules it is evidence of his superior morality.  WTF.

    Massive double standard, and a big part of that is because of the insulating nature of religion.  Religious beliefs are sacrosanct and it is taboo to criticize them even when the practices are outright evil or damaging to others or to society, and it is seen as a worse thing to notice these problems or voice criticism.  And when someone goes around parroting piety to everyone whether they want to hear it or not, they get a measure of this insulation from criticism or reproach–kind of a sweet and tempting deal for anyone, and especially for people devoid of ethics and/or talent, since any critiques will be held as Satanically-inspired attacks of the Evil Atheist Conspiracy.  They should read Matthew 6:5-8–I believe even their own holy book has something to say about the spiritual value of elephant-parade-level expressions of piety and faith.  It’s not so much a show of faith as it is just a show for other people.

  • Demonhype

    “Above the law” obviously means the rules.  But the fact is, if an atheist did that even once, they’d have the book thrown at them and the overall attitude would be “atheists are godless monsters lacking morals and this is evidence–see how he disobeys the rules to push his views?”  When a Christian does it, he’s a heroic martyr.

    The fact is, whether he sees himself as above the rules (which, unfortunately, many Christians do) or is willing to be fined to push his religious beliefs on others, he has only to gain.  If he is left alone (that is, given special exemption because of his beliefs) then the Christians will gloat over their superior status and the fact that the rules only apply to non-Christians and accuse any disgruntled unbelievers (or believers who aren’t comfortable with Christian elephant parades) of  being hateful or jealous or satanic or of somehow persecuting him by pointing out that he is ignoring the rules, etc.  If he is fined or even suspended, he is a martyr for Christianity, being persecuted every bit as horribly as someone being eaten by lions in the roman circus.  If he gets his ass kicked out, he is the ultimate martyr and can make an entire career just on that sob story.  When you’re a Christian, no matter what you do you are seen as a martyred hero  (unless it’s outright murder, in which case you’re “Not a True Christian”  and are forcibly relegated to atheism or paganism by default, of course.)

  • Demonhype

    Geez, I hate football but even I wonder if this isn’t an insult to the game?  Whatever happened to all those people discussing the recent football game and the players, analyzing strategies and using incomprehensible terms?  I had no idea what they were talking about, but at least it sounded like there was some thinking going on and maybe there was some value in the sport (even if I couldn’t see it).  Now all that has been dumbed down to “what kind of miracle do you think God worked for Tebow’s success in that last game”????

  • Demonhype

    His own holy book says that obnoxious public spectacles of faith are not for God but for man and that one who makes such a spectacle is not doing it for God but for him own self-aggrandizement, which is one of the few things in that vile tome that I can agree with.  I can buy “maybe he gets his strength from his faith” but you’ll have a hard time convincing me that anyone draws strength by putting on a Christian-themed elephant parade and that it has nothing to do with putting on a show of faith for others, to titillate those who agree with him and flip off those who don’t.  From what I’ve read on this site alone, it sounds like there are some other players who are quite faithful and claim to draw strength from faith but don’t much appreciate the whole “look at me, see how Christian I am” show Tebow puts on.  Just like you might love your wife dearly, but that doesn’t mean you dry-hump her in the middle of Wal-Mart or screw her on your front lawn.

  • Demonhype

    Exactly.  When a Christian puts bible verses up like that, the subtext–which is so well-known that it can be invoked by a simple biblical reference–is that anyone who disagrees with this is going to writhe eternally in a fiery pit of torment.  That is not a positive suggestion.

    And, with that in mind, “There is no god” is a positive suggestion, because it is saying that you don’t have to be afraid of your own brain thinking forbidden thoughts or of a mild atheist slogan on a billboard or of your own arousal at seeing someone attractive* or any number of unavoidable characteristics of human nature and experience that religion says will buy you a ticket to hell, particularly if anything in your environment causes you to think outside the carefully defined Jesus-box.

    *Like that “Hellfire” song in Disney’s Hunchback.  Here’s a guy who has religion so ingrained in his mind that he sees a pretty girl, finds her arousing, and is terrified of his own boner because it’s a sign he is unclean and will go to hell.  On some level he seems to realize that forcing a girl to marry him or  be burned alive is wrong (God have mercy on her, God have mercy on me), but his terror at the wrath of his imaginary god is greater than any rationality or capacity for empathy he might have.  I don’t see that kind of Abraham and Issac mentality as a positive.

  • LOL I have theorized that this whole Tebow experiment will fizzle and he will be “black-balled” into retirement. But, then he might open up a mega-church. :/

  • I’m wondering the same thing. Everytime someone from his zombie fan club praises him, they always say that’s he’s not a “tattooed thug” as if tattoos make you automatically evil or criminal in nature -___-

  • Me too. I usually don’t like to use the “No True Scotsman” train of thought, but this dude does not sound like any atheist I know…

  • coffinpsalms

    Long time reader, first time commenter.  I agree with your point of view wholeheartedly.  Also this may be a bit tangental, but the comment “…defile his skin with ridiculous tattoos” is not only personally offensive to me, but sounds like something a christian would say.

  • Anonymous


  • Gus Snarp

    Sorry, I don’t really care enough about Tebow to Google whatever idiotic statement’s he’s made. So change the word “assume” to “believe” and my question stands. 

  • Gus Snarp

    A UGA alum picking on Gainesville for jean shorts? Pot, meet Kettle! 😉

  • Anonymous

    Gus, visit Athens, GA.  Report back.

  • Justin

    I am the guy who did the Web site, and I assure that I am a lifelong atheist. If you were to look at my iPhone right now, you would see several Hitchens’ podcasts, as well as Sam Harris. I just finished “The Greatest Show on Earth” by Richard Dawkins. Remember, I did not write those reply comments. I agree that the replies are predictable and goofy. 

    Incidentally, I only spent $3.95 because I have other work-related sites, and the web company was offering a deal. Incidentally, I actually consider myself an “anti-theist” because not only do I NOT believe in religion, I believe it is largely a force for evil. 

    The web provides a way to share opinions, and that was my only intent. It’s too bad you found it “stupid,” but then again you did not list any reasons why you believed it to be stupid. This may be the “friendly atheist” site, but you might want to go over to the “angry atheist” site. Take care and be well. 

  • Justin

    I am the guy who did the Web site, and I suppose I would take out the tattoo reference. I find tattoos hideously ugly, but that’s only because I’m 42 years old. And I did not know I was in the “zombie fan club.”   

  • Justin

    Yes, folks. I am an atheist, and I wrote the essay. I think a WHOLE LOT of atheists would agree that maintaining a family unit — which usually means marriage — is a good idea. Many athletes have SEVERAL kids by different partners out of wedlock (illegitimate if you will) and that is NOT a good idea. Why? Not because of religious reasons, but because the kid turns out better with two present parents. That’s not a particularly controversial sentiment. 

  • Justin Case

    I never used the word “horrible.” I said “not let you down.”  

  • Justin Case

    I find tattoos hideously ugly, and so do a lot of atheists. I should have left out the tattoos part, I guess. It’s funny, however, that people are so quick to think that no true atheist would mention tattoos. One would and one did. I wrote the essay. 

  • cool story bro

  • Not really. Marriage is NOT a pre-requisite for a good family. My parents have been married since the 80s and they hate each other. Their refusal to just get a divorce and move on has ruined our “family”. So don’t say that kids turn out better in two parent households. IT DEPENDS ON THE PARENTS

  • Anonymous

    I’m sure these points have been covered.

    “He will not father illegitimate kids, test positive for drugs, or defile his skin with ridiculous tattoos.”Children born outside of your Mrs. Lovejoy, pearl clutching vision of the family are not illegitimate,  Testing positive for drugs does not make you a bad person.  Getting a tattoo is not defiling your skin.I have a hard time believing this person is an atheist. Their vision of right and wrong seems a little too absolute.  Unless he belongs to one of the minority of religious sects with guidelines for sin, but no deity.

  • Seriously? This is ridiculous. No, he does not think that he is a God. He gives credit to God when He wins. He believes that it is God who gives Him the ability to win games. He does not believe that God directly comes in and directly intervenes on His behalf to do the job for him. Rather he believes that God has given him the ability, talent and opportunity to a) play football in the NFL and b) To win the game.

    How do you know who he blames after a loss unless you are REALLY following him closely. Unless the game is a playoff game, rarely are the losing interviews played on main stream t.v. Maybe he blames no one. rather he credits the other team for just performing better. If he did this he could still give thanks to God for giving him the ability, talent and opportunity to play and not “blame God” as you are so wishing he would do. 

  • I think you simply take issue because he is someone who for whatever a reason has a platform to voice his beliefs. Please do not attack the man for sharing what he believes. He’s not going around to school kids and trying to convert them. He’s not knocking on people’s doors trying to convert them. He’s on your t.v. He gets air-time because people want to hear from him.

    Try not acting like he is horrible. If someone interviewed you on a near daily basis I’m pretty sure your beliefs would come out too. I wouldn’t be sitting on my coach saying how horrible you are. If I didn’t agree with you or if you ever became annoying I would…..simply change the channel. It’s not hard. 

    Again, I know I would share what’s on my mind if I was interviewed. You would too, and so does Tim Tebow. That’s what an interview is for right?

  • Uhm….yes Christian make mistakes as well. But I don’t think Tebow sharing what he believes is a scandal. To my knowledge I’ve never been in a scandal either. I’m not under a public microscope either. I’m just saying, no not everyone gets caught in scandals. You even thinking that makes me sad that our world has gotten this bad that this is your perception 🙁

  • These posts seem to be getting worse and even less factual. No you’re just grasping at the wind trying to find something that sticks. Racsim? Because I cheer for a certain football player that is the same race as my that makes a person racist?  So any black person that cheers for another black person is racist. A white person cheering for a white person is racist, etc etc. 

    Wow! That’s intriguing. What do you base this on? I live in Kansas and am Native american. So a) there are no pro teams in my state to cheer for b) There are not a ton of native americans in pro sports. So if I cheer for what does that make me? Maybe I cheer for him because I want to see a good kid succeed. Maybe I have hope that someone who plays on Sunday that kids look up to won’t screw up: rape, kill, or sexual harass someone. Maybe I cheer for him because after he was drafted, the pundits just talked negatively about him. They talked about his foot speed or his throwing mechanics. Maybe I just like the guy, because he’s nice!


  • Matt in Knoxville

    Oh, well that makes sense then. That Piet Puk was unfairly making Tebow’s beliefs look ridiculous. The idea that a magical supernatural man in the sky specifically created Tim Tebow’s ability to win games and deliberately endowed him with the body, talent, and good fortune to play professional football is infinitely more reasonable than the idea that a  magical supernatural sky man directly intervenes on Tebow’s behalf during the game itself. That would just be plain silly.   

  • It’s amazing; the sports media seem to make him a victim like he is the only NFL players who is Christian and the only player who takes the game seriously.  I’m sorry but his faith does not make you special.

  • Hmm….maybe I didn’t communicate my point very well. 

    Tim Tebow thinks that God gave him the ability, determination, work ethic, etc so that he might become a football player. No one mentioned “good fortune” Tim Tebow could have probably been a great athletic trainer. He would have probably made a great special ops soldier too. There are many things that he could have been. Right now he is playing football. He is thankful for his position. 

    Maybe you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving? Obviously who or what you would be thankful to/for would be different than what he is thankful to/for. But why does everyone have to bash him for  giving thanks to who he thanks is responsible?

    What I think is interesting is how many people claim their atheism is founded on “their thinking for themselves” or their education yet, to make an educated choice one MUST know both sides. I think many people are making their choices based off what they were told about religion or church or God when they were children. 

    Most of the questions and objections that atheists bring up against the existence of a God are the same questions that many Christians have asked too. So what separates us?

    Nothing in my religion is about a supernatural man as the term itself is a inordinately large oxymoron.

  • Anything Oprah says is good I tend to turn and run away from quickly. While being a Christian, I can understand some of where atheists are coming from. I have many friends who atheists, which is why I frequent this board. One thing that does not make sense is universalism of religions. Oprah would say that all religions are right because there is a small piece of God inside of us all.

    Study any religion for more than 20 seconds and you will see that they are diametrically opposed to one another.

  • I still don’t think Christians think they are “above the law” If that’s true then they need to come back to their Bible. The ONLY time when the laws are to be  not obeyed is if they are in direct opposition to what the Bible says. 

    We’re also taught to not be a stumbling block to others’ faith too. At this point, I think Tebow might be bordering this line. As long as the law of the land is within Biblical law, then they both  apply.

  • The Bible never says a public display of faith is not allowed. It says to the effect that you are not to be praying in public as that should be more of a private, intimate conversation. Nowhere, does it say you can’t prove or show respect or show thankfulness in public. This is all Tebow is doing. 

    This is like the 6th time I’ve posted this and yet no one seems to understand the difference between taking a knee and giving thanks vs prostrating oneself and going to God in prayer. Then again, why should I think any different. It would be wrong of me to expect this level of understanding. So let me help. He is not “praying” as the Bible mentions for us believers not to do. He is simply pausing and saying, ‘Hey that was pretty cool. Thanks God. I don’t deserve that, but thanks.” This is ALL he is doing. 

  • Anonymous

    I agree. It’s not an insult. But it directly opposes a belief. The bible verses, as far as I can tell, only oppose beliefs indirectly. That’s my issue. I stand by it being an unfair comparison.

  • Matt in Knoxville

    Sorry, I can’t respond to everything here, as there are way too many unjustified assertions and nebulous, undefined terms.  And if you want I will even concede that your god is not a “supernatural man” if that makes you feel better. You can define it any way you want – it still doesn’t mean that there is any legitimate reason to believe in its existence. However, I will try to answer the last few points:

    I assure you that I know more about your religion’s scripture, history, and theology than almost all of its followers. I was raised as a Christian in the middle of the bible belt and studied religion and christian theology extensively in college.  I think that you will find that most outspoken atheists are actually either former believers or people who have devoted much effort towards honestly learning the subject matter. As for “what separates us,” it is usually a matter of intellectual honesty. Those of us who don’t share your faith and identify as atheists often believe it is   a greater virtue to follow the evidence where it leads and not to pretend to know things that no human being could possibly know, even if it takes you away from a comfortable delusion that you want to be true or that you were raised to believe.   

  • Anonymous

    Generally we wouldn’t mention tattoos in the context of moralizing.  You were presenting things that you believed were bad, that a role model shouldn’t do.

    If you were talking aesthetics it would be one thing, but you didn’t mention the fact that he’d never wear crocs, or have a mohawk. 

    This is ignoring the faulty logic that Christians do not get tattoos. Your opinion (and it is your right to have it) is so full of holes as to be almost incoherent.

  • What I think is interesting is how many people claim their atheism is founded on “their thinking for themselves” or their education yet, to make an educated choice one MUST know both sides.

    Both sides? There are more than just two sides! The options aren’t Christianity and atheism. The options are theism and atheism. Theism includes many different religions and many different gods and goddesses, not just your particular deity.

    I think many people are making their choices based off what they were told about religion or church or God when they were children.

    So have you investigated Sikhism? Hinduism? Jainism? Zoroastrianism? Have you read their holy books? Have you considered what their religious leaders have to say? Or are you just making your choices based on what you were told as a child? Most Christians feel perfectly comfortable dismissing those religions out of hand. They assume that the biblical deity is real because that’s what they were told when they were growing up.

  • What I think is interesting is how many people claim their atheism is founded on “their thinking for themselves” or their education yet, to make an educated choice one MUST know both sides.

    Both sides? There are more than just two sides! The options aren’t Christianity and atheism. The options are theism and atheism. Theism includes many different religions and many different gods and goddesses, not just your particular deity.

    I think many people are making their choices based off what they were told about religion or church or God when they were children.

    So have you investigated Sikhism? Hinduism? Jainism? Zoroastrianism? Have you read their holy books? Have you considered what their religious leaders have to say? Or are you just making your choices based on what you were told as a child? Most Christians feel perfectly comfortable dismissing those religions out of hand. They assume that the biblical deity is real because that’s what they were told when they were growing up.

  • Sorry for the double comment. I tried to get rid of it, but it’s still showing up. Hemant, if you see this, feel free to delete.

  • TheArcane

    For one, i don’t think you can really claim to know what Tebow is saying to God in these moments since you’re not in his head.  Secondly, your distinction is non-existent.  He IS prostrating himself and making a display out of it.  You can pray without anyone around you having to be exposed to it.  To me, it’s almost embarrassing,  as if someone had just taken a shit right in front of me.   These pious stances are really obnoxious. 

  • TheBlackCat

    “As long as the law of the land is within Biblical law, then they both  apply.”

    This is EXACTLY what we mean when we say Christians think they are “above the law”.  You do not have the right to ignore civil law when you think it contradicts the Bible.

  • TheBlackCat

    I have to agree with you there.  The only good thing to come out of UF is Gatorade.

  • I don’t care if Tebow’s a Christian — there are plenty of Christian athletes who are very open about their faith.

    And I am annoyed that so many(even the atheists?)  should interpret his antics as demonstrating his faith. I mean, his visiting the poor and sick and so forth might arguably be taken as a demonstration of his faith. But the showiness on the field? Like Demonhike and Mike Weber point out, it’s hypocritical even by the standards he supposedly upholds.

  • Scott

    Thank you Ryan. You were spot on with that post

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