A new survey by the Public Religion Research Institute finds that a significant number of Americans believe that the outcome of sports contests is determined by God and that God makes sure that believing athletes do better and get injured less.
“In an era where professional sports are driven by dollars and statistics,” said institute CEO Robert P. Jones, “significant numbers of Americans see a divine hand at play.”
Asked if they believe God plays a role in who wins, 27% of Americans said yes. Poll results varied among regions and religions: 36% said yes in the South, 28% in the Midwest, 20% in the Northeast and 15% in the West.
Among nonwhite Christians and white evangelicals, 40% and 38% said yes, respectively; 29% of Catholics and 19% of white mainline Protestants also responded that God plays a role.
I’d love to see a poll of the athletes themselves on those questions. I bet more athletes believe in divine intervention in the games than fans do.