Athletes Stop Thanking God After Winning

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Focus on the game, not your faith.

I want to expose a travesty going on in professional sports. No, I don’t mean players taking a knee during the national anthem. A more prolific issue is players thanking God or Jesus after winning a game. You watch post-game interviews for any sport and at least one player will give a shout out for the win to God.

Why? Does God really care about the results of a sporting match? Instead of caring about genocide, poverty, environmental destruction, or the host of problems facing the globe He has decided to focus on a sporting match? That seems like a bad set of priorities. Also, Jesus did not seem that interested in sporting matches when he spoke. To my knowledge, he did not mention any sport at all or preference for a team.

And does that mean that God hates the other team and player? Rarely do you hear a losing player thank God for humbling them by losing. Although piety does include being humbled, it seems like losing a sporting match would be an excellent way to help you avoid the sin of Pride. Is it a matter of faith? How does God decide who to favor in a sporting match? Number of atheists? Number of prayers? Since most professional sports have more analytics and numbers than a Calculus class I would love to know what metrics are being used to determine what team should win.

And how does God help you win? By controlling weather conditions, influencing where referees look to avoid penalities, or making sure your body avoids injuries? There is very little say about what the “help” is that a player provides. Some would argue that religion gives individuals strength through faith, which is necessary for the discipline required to be a serious athlete. But faith should give strength for everything and does not automatically determine you will be a professional athlete. Many people pray for strength and never even make to college sports. Dare I say, millions pray for strength and are completely out of shape.

Tom Krattenmaker, who has written on Christian athletes remarks that these athletes are promoting a particular type of evangelical Christianity that has an us vs. them mentality. Its good vs evil, winner-take-all. Therefore, the team that has won clearly is favored by God. Krattenmaker has argued a unique problem is that the same players that praise God for winning are usually silent about issues like racial discrimination, which you would think a Christian would be fighting against.

Even if you believe in God you can’t know what His plans are. It could easily be Satan helping someone win to make you overconfident before a fall. Instead of praising your religion, why not just talk about the game. I am sure your teammates would appreciate it.

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