From guest blogger, John.
After almost every football game, you hear the players say something along the lines of, “I just want to thank God for helping me and my team to win the game today.” By most definitions, God is an omnipotent, omniscient, perfectly good being. Does God really care about something as inconsequential as a sporting event? The sports culture revolves around the idea that winning is good, while losing is bad. Therefore, since God does good towards those who do good, the team who has done the most good should win. Many feel God will bless the righteous with victories and reward players like Russell Wilson, a very faithful football player, with a health and successful career. Sometimes however, the good guy doesn’t win. The Patriots are one of the most hated teams in the NFL. They are known for lying and cheating, both considered, by most accounts, “bad” things. God then should punish them, yet they have been one of the most successful teams of the 21st century. On the other hand, Tim Tebow is never afraid to show his faith. After every touchdown, he gets down on his knee and prays. He has done a ton for his community and his religious faith. By most accounts, Tebow is the epitome of a “good” player, yet he is considered one of the worst players to start at quarterback. So either God doesn’t care about football/sports in general, or God doesn’t exist.
You may argue, God has bigger concerns to worry about, such as children starving in Africa. As an omnipotent and omniscient god, should he not have the power to influence both situations? Maybe then he wishes for us to have the free will to push ourselves harder to win. What then is the point of praying before a game, or thanking God after a touchdown? It comes down to the players believing God is rewarding them for being good, while the people watching at home want to believe they contributed to their team winning, with their prayers.