Why Does Tim Tebow Get to Send Religious Messages in the NFL?

You remember Tim Tebow.

He’s the former University of Florida football player who tried to convert you with his eyes:

tebow

phil413

Once he graduated, the NCAA ended up banning eye-billboards.

Now, Tebow is a professional football player for the Denver Broncos. But since the NFL already bans eye-black messages, he has to figure out a different way to send his Christian bat-signal… and it looks like he found it!

As blogger Larry Brown writes:

You didn’t think something as lame as the NFL dress code could keep Tim Tebow from spreading his faith on game days, did you? Of course not.

Is he breaking the rules? Looks like it:

… NFL and NCAA rules forbid players from marking their uniforms…

The rule covers the helmet, jersey, pants, shoes, tape, wristbands, and headbands. No writing on any part of the body. Before each game uniform reps — former NFL players — prowl the sidelines looking for violators. When the teams go back into the locker room before the game starts, they are given a list of players who are in violation of the rule.

If they come out for the kickoff without removing the writing, they will be fined. According to Johnny Rembert, the uniform rep in Jacksonville and a 10-year NFL veteran, fines start at $5,000.

As far as I can tell, Tebow has been issued no fine. Yet.

(Incidentally, Kenny Britt of the Tennessee Titans was fined $5,000 because the towel attached to his uniform said “#10 VY” — a tribute to Vince Young. Britt accepted the fine and removed the towel for the second half of the game.)

Why is the NFL letting Tebow’s violation slide? Who knows.

I would bet you, though, they would immediately fine a player who wrote on his wristband: “There is no god.”

Why is there a double-standard when it comes to openly Christian athletes?

(via Believe It or Not)

  • http://andrewfinden.com/findothinks/ Andrew

    Why is the NFL letting Tebow’s violation slide? Who knows.

    I would bet you, though, they would immediately fine a player who wrote on his wristband: “There is no god.”

    Why is there a double-standard when it comes to openly Christian athletes?

    Wait.. first you say you don’t know why they let it happen, then you just assume that an atheistic slogan would be immediately fined, and then, apparently on that basis declare there to be a double-standard?

  • Venture Free

    Wait.. first you say you don’t know why they let it happen, then you just assume that an atheistic slogan would be immediately fined, and then, apparently on that basis declare there to be a double-standard?

    Perhaps you missed this part of the post:

    (Incidentally, Kenny Britt of the Tennessee Titans was fined $5,000 because the towel attached to his uniform said “#10 VY” — a tribute to Vince Young. Britt accepted the fine and removed the towel for the second half of the game.)

    It’s on that basis that he is declaring a double standard. It wasn’t an atheistic slogan, of course, but it certainly wasn’t a Christian slogan either. Britt was fined quickly enough that he was able to remove it for the second half of the game. Tebow, on the other hand, was never fined at all.

  • http://www.atheistrev.com vjack

    For the same reason there is a double-standard any time Christianity is involved: Christian privilege. And once again, we will be seen as the enemy simply for suggesting the the policy be fairly applied.

  • http://quichemoraine.com Mike Haubrich

    I am sure that they are afraid of Fox News, since Fox Sports is one of their major sources of income. Can you imagine the outrage, the outrage, I say, should Sean Hannity find out that another Christian is being denied his right to proselytize?

  • runawayuniverse

    I could be wrong, but I think players writing things on their wristbands ( especially QB’s, because that is where many of them write down their plays ) doesn’t violate the NFL dress code, so he might be able to circumvent the rules on this one.

    But since what he has written there isn’t football related, maybe they’ll ask him to knock off writing out personal messages for future games?

  • Hamilton Jacobi

    All we need is one other athlete to write “Allahu Akbar” on his chinstrap, and the rule will be enforced.

  • David

    The man has been hit in the head to often. He can not remember his locker sorry Luke combination.

  • tim

    You don’t know if there is a double standard or not. Has anyone actually talked to the NFL or are you all just jumping to conclusions?

    Personally – I think the rule is silly and may have more to do with appeasing advertisers than anything else.

  • http://everydayatheist.wordpress.com Everyday Atheist

    I’ll add this to my list of counterexamples for the next time someone asks why atheists have to be so “in your face.” Along with the twits buying endzone seats so they can unfurl their John 3:16 banners at every field goal or extra point.

  • Simon

    From my point of view, these are all unnecessary restrictions. To quote Thomas Jefferson, if somebody wants to have bible verses (or whatever) on their own body it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg-as long as everybody else has the same privilege of course. IMO this rule should be scrapped entirely.

  • Claudia

    I don’t think you can declare a “double standard” in terms of active discrimination against atheists. The existence of fines for other messages would indicate at the most the existence of positive discrimination in favor of Christians.

    I say “at the most” because on the basis of this information it’s not possible to know whether Tebow is getting special treatment or not. For that I would need to know how strictly this rule is enforced and how many documented cases of violation go without fines. If it turns out that enforcement is very strict and every documented case results in fines except for this one, I’d be suspicious, especially if the incident is repeated with similar results.

    On the basis of what we know now it seems premature to cry special treatment. In any event, count me as sort of uninterested. This is a minor rule in a massive corporation. I can’t say I’d be happy that they enforce different rules for different religions, but given that it’s on barely visible writing on uniforms instead of, say, employment, I can’t get really riled up about it.

  • http://knowledgeisnotveryfar.blogspot.com/ Jake

    This has got to be one of the dumbest things to get riled up about. Throwing a fit over this is just going to bring more attention to it than anything else. Just ignore it and most people will probably never even know, or care, about it.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    I looked up Luke 2:10-11 and can conclude that Tebow is afraid to play, the big Jesse. He’s using his faith an a crutch to bolster his courage for the game.

    Is there another way to interpret this message in this context?

  • http://www.aperfectfool.com Codswallop

    I don’t think you can declare a “double standard” in terms of active discrimination against atheists. The existence of fines for other messages would indicate at the most the existence of positive discrimination in favor of Christians.

    Seriously? Did you actually read this article?

    (Incidentally, Kenny Britt of the Tennessee Titans was fined $5,000 because the towel attached to his uniform said “#10 VY” — a tribute to Vince Young. Britt accepted the fine and removed the towel for the second half of the game.)

    That is the definition of a double standard. Unless of course someone from the NFL sees this post (Hemant’s, not mine) and says, “Dang! They caught us. I guess we’ll have to fine Tebow too! Sorry, Jesus.”

    Which would still be a double standard.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000586562927 Donna Hamel (muggle)

    Okay, I really don’t get why everyone’s saying a double standard hasn’t been shown when the dude who wrote the thing about Vince Whoever (some other football player, I guess?) did get fined. Double standard right there. While we have no example of someone writing there is no god, we do have a fine example of Christian privilege. Why are we afraid to admit that? (I’m getting glader and glader all the time that I’m no football fan and those of you who are have my empathy; I kind of dread when my grandson actually starts getting wise enough to ask to watch games because he is interested in the sport.)

    That said, it’s a good thing you included the close-up because at the first picture I was going what? I don’t see anything.

  • Claudia

    @hoverfrog uhm, how about “Merry Christmas”? It’s a recent photo, and the verse talks about the birth of Jesus, so me thinks that this would be the easiest interpretation.

  • bobisimo

    Simon, regarding the Jefferson quotes — it doesn’t really apply here. The NFL (and players’ association) is a “club”, and they have a dress code. They don’t want players doing that kind of stuff, even if only for the simple fact that it would open the players up to additional advertising. To everyone else, the NFL will likely hand out a fine or request that he stop. They usually do it mid-/late-week. It may have slipped the notice of or otherwise been ignored by the refs, but I’m sure the NFL will catch up with him later this week.

  • Claudia

    Sorry but one example of a Christian message not being fined and one example of a non-Christian message (but not a religious message) being fined does not a double standard make. You cannot make a tendency with two points. At the most it might be smoke, but not fire.

    I’m certainly open to having this double standard demonstrated, but I find the evidence lacking as it stands. I also don’t care much, but that’s besides the point.

    In any event, the fine is $5000, which your average NFL player can find under the sofa cushions. Also I’m absolutely certain that if and when Tebow gets his fine, he’ll get offered 100 times as much from the über-Christians to keep “taking a stand for Christ”.

  • Anonymous

    All this guy is doing is perpetuating a reputation of a creepy religious fanatic.
    http://deadspin.com/5719307/26-seconds-of-tim-tebow-charming-the-pants-off-everyone
    Check the comments.

  • http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.religioustattoos.net/Images/Crucifixes/crucifix_29.jpg&imgrefurl=http://tattootrendy.blogspot.com/2009_08_01_archive.html&h=499&w=375&sz= sc0tt

    No balls to tattoo his face.

  • http://shadowgm.diaryland.com Bob

    Beyond any double-standard in evidence, it’s another example of spamming the Jesus button. (For you non-gamers out there, ‘spamming’ is either repetitive firing of a weapon, or ‘button mashing’ – executing simple attacks without style or grace or thought.)

    As the controversy about Tebow’s mom thanking Jesus for her choosing not to abort little Timmy (and then Sarah and Bristol Palin being featured on a magazine cover crowing about how they ‘chose life’) … if Tebow’s prowess is wholly due to the blessings of Christ Jesus, then how do you explain other, talented players? (Does anyone know Tebow’s record? Is he undefeated? If not, is his loss because he forgot his magic eyepaint or wristband?)

    Ultimately, it’s a horrible practice to allow PLAYERS to bear proselytizing messages on their gear, because it injects religion into a blatantly non-religious event. “Oh, Lord, give me the power to make this field goal.”

    Bull. Okay, so the Lord God hears your prayer and *bam*, you lay down the best kick or pass in NFL history.

    What did God get out of the deal? About as many seconds of thanks as you’d spend saying, “I’M GOIN’ TO DISNEYLAND!”?!?!?

  • MIDVALCRE

    Has anyone actually seen some games lately? Refs missing a foul or miscalling a play is as about a 50/50 proposition. I’m not too concerned about Tebow. I’d wait a while and see if the NFL reviews his case and bags him. If they don’t after a few cases, esp. blatant ones, repost.

  • http://onestdv.blogspot.com OneSTDV

    I agree with Simon. Who cares?

    This isn’t giving money to faith-based charities or Islamic type religious laws. SO it really sholudn’t matter to atheists.

    It really just seems like Hemant wants to complain about any religious aspect of society.

    As for Tebow, he seems like a genuinely good guy, despite his fervent religiosity.

  • Jamssx

    In many ways I’m not that worried about it since an “unbeliever” is not really going to be bothered to go and look the quote up. Yes he should be fined but as people mentioned its really pocket change for him. What gets me more annoyed is the other double standard. If we quote a verse that happens to be negative in someway we are “taking it out of context” yet these single quotes are just as out of context.

  • sven

    David Says:
    December 28th, 2010 at 7:40 am

    The man has been hit in the head to often. He can not remember his locker sorry Luke combination.

    I lol’d!

    OT: Who cares?

  • walkamungus

    Forget the damn Bible citation. This is what matters:

    “Tebow finished 16-of-29 passing for 308 yards with a touchdown and added 27 rushing yards and a score on the ground. He bounced back from a first-quarter interception to post the most passing yards by a rookie since John Elway threw for 345 yards against Baltimore in 1983.”

    And the Broncos won, I might add, a rare bright spot in an otherwise fairly dim season.

  • Kevin S.

    It’s entirely possible it was just missed. Ben Roethlisberger was ordered to stop writing PFJ (Play For Jesus) on his shoes a couple years back. Out of curiosity, has anybody tried to bring this to the NFL’s attention, or was it just assumed they had looked the other way?

  • aerie

    Regardless of the code or what it says, it looks janky; like something a HS kid would do.

    The Christianistas need to think real hard before they start spewing their self-righteous moral indignation.

    If an atheist kid wrote a “no gods” or a Dawkins quote like that; they’d stop mid-game, demand a technical foul, resignation of the coaching staff all while making threatening phonecalls to the kid’s mom. They are only capable of reacting from primitive emotions. We know it & they know it, but lack the integrity to admit it.

  • lolnoobs

    Posts like this provide evidence of how stupid evangelic atheists are and how they lack the critical processes to even form a coherent argument.

    Unless the league explicitly CONDONES christian versus on wristbands there is no double standard. Else lex parsimoniae, which undereducated posers like you love to refer to as Occam’s razor would suggest that the league simply did not notice the writing on the inside of player’s wristband. In other words, an oversight.

    It’s simple logic, which seems to escape you in your hypersensitivity. You seem to fail comprehend the basic definition of “double standard.” For there to be a “double standard” there would have to be different policies towards Christians and atheist messages on uniforms. Read the rules noobs… there are no separate policies.

    What you’re talking about is SELECTIVE ENFORCEMENT. But you provided no evidence of any such systemic selective enforcement. In fact the history of the NFL with Big Ben and others shows that the league has been consistent with Christian messages as with any other writing on the uniform. They are not permitted when they are identified.

    For what it’s worth I’m an agnostic. But diehard evangelical atheists are akin to racist Zionist Jews or die hard Christians… definitely on the low end of the IQ distribution spectrum with a stick up your asses about perceived slights.

  • Badger3k

    About all I could get was a phone number for the NFL public relations office (from yahoo answers, so caveat emptor – I haven’t tried it – a quick search will yield it. I didn’t want to post it in case it wasn’t correct. It seems to be virtually impossible to contact the commissioners office, or anyone else.

  • Patrick

    I was just starting to admire the guy (he’s pretty good for a rookie), until this childishness. At least we had the Buffalo Bill guy a few weeks back who dropped a would-have-been game-winning pass, then tweeted his disappointment at Jesus for letting him down. That was great!

  • http://www.mattandrews.net Mattand

    It’s kind of hard to believe that the NFL isn’t aware of this, given the fact that Tebow flogs his faith harder than a 13 year old boy watching late night Cinemax for the first time.

    Mike Haubrich a few posts up made a good point about people being afraid of Fox News. They fine Tebow for this and Hannity and all the other “journalists” start crying persecution. From the NFL’s POV, it’s publicity they can do without.

    I think the point about a Muslim or atheist saying being shut down ASAP is spot on, but it seems like Christians have a stranglehold on pro sports.

    Slightly OT: as happy as I am about the Eagles current success, I shake my head every time their FG kicker David Akers praises God when he’s successful.

    You would think God is too busy letting kids die from cancer to help ol’ Dave kick field goals. Or maybe that’s why; God cares more about Akers’ foot than he does sick children.

    Happy New Year!!!!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/ChristopherTK ChristopherTK

    Tim Tebow < Pat Tillman.

    Yes, Tim Tebow is less then Pat Tillman even with his stupid armband "statement".

  • Mikko

    lolnoobs Says a lot of balderdash

  • http://www.banalleakage.com martymankins

    Personally, it’s a silly trend sending message to people like this. Are you playing football or preaching about Jesus? I think it takes away the focus from the game. He’s worried about sending the message and people are watching for a message.

  • http://knowledgeisnotveryfar.blogspot.com/ Jake

    martymankins Says:
    “Personally, it’s a silly trend sending message to people like this. Are you playing football or preaching about Jesus? I think it takes away the focus from the game. He’s worried about sending the message and people are watching for a message.”

    How is that “preaching about Jesus”? Its a stupid verse scribbled on his wrist! And how does it take away from the game? Is he stopping in the middle of the game to recite the verse to the crowd? For crying out loud they had to blow up the picture of his arm just to be able to even read the stupid thing. I doubt there is any way anyone watching the game in real time would ever even know something was there.

    You guys are blowing this thing way out of proportion. I doubt most people would have ever heard about this were it not for atheists getting their collective panties in a twist.

  • JJ

    Well as dumbass as his last paragraph was and despite being a ‘diehard atheist’ I have to agree with the initial assessment of lolnoobs. I wouldn’t say there is enough here to be convinced the NFL is giving special privilege here. That said there certainly can be implicit double standards as well as explicit ones.

    In any event I don’t see why they should monitor such things anyways (at least to that degree), if someone wants to literally wear their hearts on their sleeves then so be it in my opinion.

  • Claudia

    In a world where Michael Vick is allowed to play football, I think getting worked up about someone like Tim Tebow is a little silly.

    @lolnoobs, I agree with the general argumentation of your comment, but damned if you don’t remind me of this.

  • AxeGrrl

    Simon wrote:

    From my point of view, these are all unnecessary restrictions. To quote Thomas Jefferson, if somebody wants to have bible verses (or whatever) on their own body it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg-as long as everybody else has the same privilege of course. IMO this rule should be scrapped entirely.

    That sums up my feelings as well.

    As long as the rule is truly applied equally, then I don’t give a rat’s patootie what athletes scribble on their bodies or uniforms.

    Our (meaning atheists’ and believers’) scrutiny would be better aimed at the dubious phenomenon of athletes being ‘revered’ in the first place.

  • http://www.coreymondello.com Corey Mondello

    I bet he has something written into his contract that waives the “rule”. Plus, he makes so much money, maybe they put the 5 grand fine into his pay, well actually, took it out of his pay, prior too, because he state he would be doing it. Its like BP or some other slime ball corporation that makes someone money, they get fined like 20 grand for dumping toxic waste in water ways headed for human consumption. Its all in the two class system that has always run humanity, Religion and Politics = Royalty, Hitler, Constantine, GW Bush, etc…

  • ash

    Claudia;

    There aren’t many commentators that I’d trust enough to click on random linkages for, but that was well worth it :)

  • burritodawg

    It’s sad how some of you are so offended by 11 characters written on wristband with a Sharpie. Are you the same Sensitive Sallys that get offended by a nativity scene or by someone saying “Merry Christmas” to you?

    Grow up and find something worth complaining about.

  • http://shadowgm.diaryland.com Bob

    It may not seem like a big thing, but I’d rather have this conversation now than after the evangelicals filtering into government (or did y’all miss last year’s ‘Resolution on the Importance of Christmas & Christianity’?).

    There is an increasing show of ‘Christianity’ in the public square, and to dismiss objections as atheists getting their panties in a bunch, or Hemant being the Whiny Atheist is to miss the point entirely.

    To use a football metaphor, the opposing team is advancing the ball. Are you gonna just sit there and say, ‘no big deal’?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000586562927 Donna Hamel (muggle)

    Well said, Bob. Exactly.

    It’s a football game, for cripe’s sake. It’s got nothing to do with religion or politics. I think it more than reasonable for the NFL (which don’t forget is their employer and employers often do get to instill a dress code or restrict speech in the work place) to ban all these slogans off uniforms in the interest of keeping the sport about the sport and not individual players getting to use the game itself to push their religion and/or politics.

    Wait until the post-game interview to give credit to god instead of yourself for training hard and applying yourself to a sport you love. It’s sad that your self-esteem is that low but hey, if that’s the way you feel why not just say it in the post-game interview? Far more effective than buybull verses scribbled on your freaking face or armband anyhow.

    Mikko, I found that particular troll totally unbelievable. I’m doubting he’s even agnostic. It’s like he foamed at the mouth then threw that in because he realized he’d better not sound like a rabid Christian.

  • http://ugatheists.com Randall

    Should have posted this picture of St. Timothy. Go Dawgs.

    http://www.outdoorsportsaddict.com/football/tim-tebow-crying-picture/

  • http://brophyfootball.blogspot.com brophy

    at least the NFL is consistent…

    Troy Polomalu regularly sports an embroidered cross

    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2714/4175936939_0d58875523_o.png

  • http://friendlyhumanist.net Timothy Mills

    What principle do you think is at work here? The restrictions that some atheists (including, it would seem, Hemant) are arguing for here seem to me to be excessive and irrelevant. This is not a government endorsement of religion; it is not (as per the Jefferson quote) actually harming anyone financially or physically.

    True, it is an expression of a general societal preference for Christian over non-Christian sentiments. But is it therefore unfair? Is it something that ought not to be allowed? Is it, in fact, any different in kind from the various atheist billboards that have gone up recently?

    I wonder if some people have missed the connection between “liberal” and “liberty”.

    By all means, point out how silly it is for Tebow to express his religious convictions this way. Make fun of him. But take away his ability to express himself in this ridiculous way? How is that anything but actual suppression of his free speech – something that can legitimately be called persecution?

  • frizzlefrazzle

    @ Timothy Mills.

    Did you read this post? The NFL has a dress code. He’s breaking it. I’m sure that’s difficult for you to understand.

    Go Dawgs!

  • Blacksheep

    Hover,
    Luke 2:10 – 11 are about the birth of Christ – my guess is that he probably chose these particular verses for the Christmas season.
    (it says “Don’t be afraid” because the shepherds were terrified by the power of the angel).

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    Thanks but I still think he’s using these verses as a crutch.

  • Blacksheep

    If something helps or empowers, why is that a crutch? If that’s true, I also use food, friends, sleep, music, and water as crutches!

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    Food, water, and sleep are real and provide discernible benefits. As social animals we gain from social interaction with friends although it is possible to use friendships as a crutch or indeed food as a comfort. Indeed we are totally dependent on food, water and sleep.

    I see religion as a crutch because it is described by adherents as such. They are the ones who claim to be weak and worthless and who claim to get their moral strength from their faith. They are the ones who must constantly thank their deity for all the good that happens in their lives. They are the ones who cannot blame their god when bad things happen in their lives even as they heap praise for the good. They are the ones who substitute faith for life’s purpose rather than seek purpose in their own lives.

    Does that not sound like a crutch to you?

  • Blacksheep

    Without getting caught uo in words I would agree – adherents do see faith as a crutch, but not in a negative way at all. It’s a crutch for comfort, strength, and peace. Faith provides very real comfort for millions of believers, myself included. As far as weak or worthless, that’s a one sided way of looking at it. I would say that we feel completely NOT weak and worthless because of our faith – and that we get moral strength from our faith because faith is the seat of morality. We believe that we are getting moral strength from the creator of morality. And on the contrary, we see faith as the very essence of lifes purpose, along with the other habits that go along with it like love and justice. I know MANY more faithful people who have deep satisfaction in what they believe their life’s purpose is (and that includes preachers, surfers, artists, you name it) than non believers (who I know, many of them close friends). We see faith as a condition in which one’s life purpose becomes clearer and more satisfying. If our faith is a myth, there’s something powerful going on, because it sure is a good crutch!

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    So not only are you describing how you use religion as a crutch but now you’re trying to say that this is a good thing. As it doesn’t say in the bible: God helps those who help themselves.

    When will you people grow up and lose your imaginary friends? It surely can’t be healthy for an adult.

  • Blacksheep

    You used the word crutch first, and I said “without getting caught up in words…” From your response it’s clear that you didn’t consider what I wrote at all! We both know what I mean by “crutch” and we both know that you want it have a negative meaning. We’re not conversing about a word, hopefully.

    I still maintain that in this context, a “crutch” is a good thing. A crutch assists those who need help. I guess you haven’t looked at the state of the world we live in – but believe me – lots of people need help.

    The healthiest thing for an adult is to align their beliefs with the true nature of the universe. I at least believe that that’s what you and I are both trying to do, so in that way we’re no different.
    “Growing up”, to us, is accepting that there is a higher power. We believe that only children think they are the center of the universe.

    And from what I’ve seen, (and I could make lists), faith is extremely healthy for adults. (spend time with a group of people who look to a higher power for strength and then spend time with a group of people who use psychotherapy for peace of mind – the contrast is stark).

    Imaginary? Not to us. To us it’s quite real, (with some doubts mixed in), and no more imaginary than the love I feel for my friends and loved ones.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    Blacksheep

    A crutch assists those who need help. I guess you haven’t looked at the state of the world we live in – but believe me – lots of people need help.

    Instead of help they have prayers though.

    The healthiest thing for an adult is to align their beliefs with the true nature of the universe.

    We agree. So when presented with something that shakes your faith do you alter your faith accordingly or do you hold on tighter to that rickety crutch?

    “Growing up”, to us, is accepting that there is a higher power. We believe that only children think they are the center of the universe.

    Sigh. Oh yes because Christians love to advertise their humility don’t they?

    And from what I’ve seen, (and I could make lists), faith is extremely healthy for adults.

    Do you have any evidence for this assertion? I don’t but my assumption would be that mental health and religiosity have no clear correlation despite the rather obvious religious aspects of some schizophrenics.

    Imaginary? Not to us.

    I think that’s rather the point. Have you any evidence that God is real or is it entirely about faith? What is the difference between your faith in the existence of a deity and imagining the existence of your deity?

    no more imaginary than the love I feel for my friends and loved ones.

    Presumably your friends and loved ones exist. Your love is reciprocated or at least evident.

  • Blacksheep

    Hover,

    I don’t know how to do the copy / box thing that would make this easier, (I’ll figure it out)…

    2. You use the word “prayers” as a dirty word – People use prayers because they actually do help, to bring about strength, joy, and peace. So the prayers are not “instead of help,” the prayers do help.
    I’m presuming that Tebow has the verse on his sleeve because it actually helps him.

    3. Nothing has ever shaken my faith enough to choose against it. My faith has been severely shaken in secularism, from my own and others experiences. So to your point, I have altered my beliefs based on what has shaken me. I agree that we should alter our beliefs based on experience, etc. (And it’s not a rickety crutch at all – it feels very un-rickety!)

    4. Christians are human beings and as such act like idiots sometimes just like we all do. One of the tenets of our belief is that we need God because we are so fallible.

    5. My assertation that faith is healthy for adults is based only in personal experience. I encounter so many people who experience life with genuine joy and energy on a daily basis whose faith is an active part of their lives. And I encounter so many people who are negative, unhappy, and tired who believe that faith is silly.

    6. You’re right, I guess that is the point. (And the one we’ll maybe never agree on). My evidence for God is entirely based on a feeling of “knowing” that God is real, as strongly as “knowing” that I love someone (Whether they reciprocate or not). My evidence is also based on a lifetime of observation of radical change and healing that has come from faith, and also from what can best be described as a “bouancy of spirit” that I experience in direct proportion to my closeness to God (Through prayer, etc.).
    And I also believe that we have a deep sense of “knowing” that is just as powerful as hard evidence.

    I could be completely wrong – I suppose all of those feelings could be a chemical response to an intricate web of experiences, rewards, memories, group support, etc. But if that’s the case, the trigger for all of those good things is my Christian faith – so for that reason it’s my path.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    Blacksheep

    I don’t know how to do the copy / box thing that would make this easier

    Copy (CTRL + C) and paste (CTRL + V) the text you want then highlight it and press the b-quote button on the comment toolbar.

    You use the word “prayers” as a dirty word – People use prayers because they actually do help, to bring about strength, joy, and peace.

    No they don’t. Every study into the efficacy of prayers has show that they do nothing more than sitting quietly for a few minutes and relaxing.

    Nothing has ever shaken my faith enough to choose against it.

    I’m sorry to hear that. It is my opinion that we should treat everything sceptically. Even the things you think are good. That way we can get closer to the truth of things. When we stop questioning we may as well give up.

    Christians are human beings and as such act like idiots sometimes just like we all do. One of the tenets of our belief is that we need God because we are so fallible.

    I agree that we human beings can sometimes act like idiots. I disagree that we need gods to fix this. It is surely in our best interests to fix our own problems and correct our own mistakes.

    My assertation that faith is healthy for adults is based only in personal experience. I encounter so many people who experience life with genuine joy and energy on a daily basis whose faith is an active part of their lives. And I encounter so many people who are negative, unhappy, and tired who believe that faith is silly.

    As interesting as your anecdote is I counter it with my own that says the same thing in reverse. Anecdotes are not evidence.

    I also believe that we have a deep sense of “knowing” that is just as powerful as hard evidence.

    There you would be wrong. Reality doesn’t change simply because people believe different things.

    I could be completely wrong – I suppose all of those feelings could be a chemical response to an intricate web of experiences, rewards, memories, group support, etc. But if that’s the case, the trigger for all of those good things is my Christian faith – so for that reason it’s my path.

    Yet the reason for your Christian faith is, in itself, a chemical response to an intricate web of experiences, rewards, memories, group support, etc. ;)

  • Blacksheep

    Hover,

    (Thanks for the box respose instructions).

    1. On whether or not prayers work, we’ll not agree on that one. We’ll each have our studies that counter each other.

    2. You don’t know me, but I’m with you – I treat everything skeptically and I will never stop questioning. Doubts are always part of my faith – just not nearly enough to cancel it out.

    3. I don’t think we “need Gods to fix it” – I think God is real so it’s the only real way to fix it.

    4. I have no doubt that we each have our own anecdotes – I do trust my experiences.

    5. We simply disagree – or we’re looking at this point differently. I’m not trying to change reality, I’m trying to align with it.

    6. There we disagree again – I’m willing to accept that my faith just might be that – but not enough to follow a different path. This is based on everything I see, feel, and experience.

    I’m sure we will meet again!

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    Blacksheep

    1. On whether or not prayers work, we’ll not agree on that one. We’ll each have our studies that counter each other.

    Excellent. I’m confident that real evidence will win out.

    I treat everything skeptically and I will never stop questioning. Doubts are always part of my faith – just not nearly enough to cancel it out.

    So you treat everything sceptically except your faith.

    I don’t think we “need Gods to fix it” – I think God is real so it’s the only real way to fix it.

    How does God fix anything? Honestly it is like saying that you need Gandalf to fix your life. We don’t live in some Greek play where the gods come down at the end to fix the problems that the players have made. You live in the real world, well I do anyway.

    I have no doubt that we each have our own anecdotes – I do trust my experiences.

    Another thing that you don’t treat sceptically then. Look into how reliable personal testimony is, how easy it is to fool your senses, how you can be tricked by a few simple methods. In a way it is fine to trust your experiences but you should be aware that they are viewed through a distorted lens.

    We simply disagree – or we’re looking at this point differently. I’m not trying to change reality, I’m trying to align with it.

    Yeah with a ‘deep sense of “knowing” that is just as powerful as hard evidence’. Do you know what is just as powerful as hard evidence? Hard evidence. If it isn’t evidence then you can’t use it as evidence. It doesn’t matter how powerful your faith is, it isn’t evidence that what you believe is real.

    There we disagree again – I’m willing to accept that my faith just might be that – but not enough to follow a different path. This is based on everything I see, feel, and experience.

    Again you are simply reiterating how sceptically you treat “everything”. If you want to look at your faith sceptically then examine the evidence for it objectively and critically. Use logic to follow through on the implications of what your stated beliefs are. Ask the difficult questions and really explore what it is that Christianity means for you.

    If your faith is as real as you believe it can only be made stronger by questioning it. If your faith is false in some aspect then it is surely best to fix that fault by testing it.

  • Blacksheep

    Hover,

    1. I’m confident that it will too.

    2.Now your’re just being a ball buster – I said, “…doubts are always part of my faith…” We’re not playing a word game, we’re having a discussion.

    3. God fixes things because he exists – unlike Gandalf. You refuse to accept that I believe that God is real – if I didn’t believe that we wouldn’t be debating. I believe that I do live in the real world.

    4. Not a distorted lens at all. It’s plain and obvious to me when people are joyful and content vs people who are unhappy. I’m not referring to personal testimony or to casual observation, but to engaged, deep, life experiences – to messed up lives vs fulfilled lives.

    5. I know that a sense of knowing is not as powerful as “hard evidence” – and you know that there will never be the kind of “hard evidence” that you are looking for to prove the existance of God. I can’t prove to you that I love my family. I can only tell you how I feel about them, what I do for them. how they make me feel. But I believe that it is a reality that I love them.

    6. I guess you don’t believe me when I say I treat everything skeptically. My faith is richer and deeper for having treated it skeptically over the years. Like you said, one’s senses can be tricked – by a few simple methods – and if that’s true it works both ways (or not at all).

    I plan to keep questioning my faith. I feel that conversations like this are opportunities to do that. Neither of us would be wasting time on a website if we didn’t get something out of it! I like to think I’m honest with myself in the long run. I think that having open dialogue is a good way to foster that – partly because one is forced to put one’s beliefs into words, and also because I now have your opinion to consider alongside others and my own.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    Blacksheep

    God fixes things because he exists – unlike Gandalf.

    If he exists then prove it.

    You refuse to accept that I believe that God is real

    I believe that you believe. I also believe that you are wrong.

    4. Not a distorted lens at all. It’s plain and obvious to me when people are joyful and content vs people who are unhappy. I’m not referring to personal testimony or to casual observation, but to engaged, deep, life experiences – to messed up lives vs fulfilled lives.

    Your “engaged, deep, life experiences” are personal testimony. By all means cite sociology or psychology studies or papers or meta studies where the weight of evidence is formally assessed. “In my experience” is just that, it isn’t evidence.

    5. I know that a sense of knowing is not as powerful as “hard evidence”

    Good because you said it was just as good. I’m pleased that you have thought about it.

    you know that there will never be the kind of “hard evidence” that you are looking for to prove the existance of God.

    That may be the case but I blame the lack of a reasonable definition of “god” for that. Define “god” and we can start to explore evidence for this hypothesis.

    I can’t prove to you that I love my family.

    Not that I’m interested in such proof but you can surely demonstrate that your love for your family is real by citing what you have done for them and with them.

    I can only tell you how I feel about them, what I do for them.

    Evidence that your actions reflect your emotions. Good enough for me. Of course it is possible to monitor your brain while you are discussing your family and see which parts of your brain are active. If the emotional centres “light up” then we can see more evidence.

    6. I guess you don’t believe me when I say I treat everything skeptically.

    :-) I did until you demonstrated that you don’t by claiming that your faith was unassailable.

    I plan to keep questioning my faith. I feel that conversations like this are opportunities to do that.

    Good for you.

  • Blacksheep

    Hover,
    Sorry for the delayed response, travel and snow shoveling.

    1. I don’t need to prove it, I’m convinced enough to follow this path. besides, I have nothing to lose especially since I see so many tangible benifits in my life. And maybe heaven awaits!

    2. I know you think I’m wrong – that’s pretty clear!

    3. Sorry, no time to do homework for you. :) You’re smart enough to know that we could both produce opposing studies to “prove” our points of view, and it wouldn’t change anything.

    4. I’m glad you are pleased. (I also think you know what I meant) I do believe that we have a deep sense of knowing that is powerful. For example I’m having this conversation with you because I have a “deep sense of knowing” that you are a divinely created being. If I thought your words were just the result of random atoms smashing together I really wouldn’t need to listen or acknowledge because ultimately it would be meaningless, because there would be nothing really at stake.

    5. I’m talking about the God of the Bible. And we both know that the evidence for the existence of that God begins and ends with faith. What is evidence for me would not pass as evidence for you. For me, the solar system, our planet, the complexity of life, the origin of life, (for me it is more reasonable to believe in a divine creator than in random accident), the idea of right and wrong that is planted in our hearts, human discontent that is satisfied by closeness to God through prayer and reading the Bible. I believe that we live in a broken world – and the Bible is the only book that says, “Yes, it’s broken, and this is why, and here’s the solution.”

    This is a different kind of path, and a different kind of knowing. As it says in my religon,
    “We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

    6. I can equally cite what I have done for God and what God has done for me.

    7, I agree, it would be interesting to see which parts of the brain “light up” during particular activities.

    8. I have always maintained that I have doubt mixed with my faith. From our discussion it seams that your faith is unassailable.

    9. “Good for you” is kind of condescending, no?

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    Blacksheep

    1. I don’t need to prove it, I’m convinced enough to follow this path. besides, I have nothing to lose especially since I see so many tangible benifits in my life. And maybe heaven awaits!

    Are you hinting at Pascal’s Wager?

    4. I’m glad you are pleased. (I also think you know what I meant) I do believe that we have a deep sense of knowing that is powerful.

    Intuition is no substitute for evidence.

    For example I’m having this conversation with you because I have a “deep sense of knowing” that you are a divinely created being.

    I’m not. If I were then I’d wonder what sort of creator could “design” human beings with so many flaws.

    If I thought your words were just the result of random atoms smashing together I really wouldn’t need to listen or acknowledge because ultimately it would be meaningless, because there would be nothing really at stake.

    Why would you think that? You are drawing a false dichotomy between a divinely created human and a random and meaningless event resulting in life. If you thought about it I’m sure you’d see plenty of other options in between.

    5. I’m talking about the God of the Bible. And we both know that the evidence for the existence of that God begins and ends with faith.

    Thank you. Faith is not evidence. It is belief despite of or instead of evidence.

    What is evidence for me would not pass as evidence for you.

    Then I can only suggest that you review what evidence is.

    7, I agree, it would be interesting to see which parts of the brain “light up” during particular activities.

    There are plenty of studies and paper in neuroscience that you can look into.

    8. I have always maintained that I have doubt mixed with my faith. From our discussion it seams that your faith is unassailable.

    I don’t have any faith.

    9. “Good for you” is kind of condescending, no?

    Only if you choose to take it in that way.

  • Blacksheep

    Hover,

    Not pascals wager, just the truth of my statement. (“Maybe heaven awaits”) no bet, just a key part of my faith,

    Never said it was a substitute. I said it was powerful.

    I can’t answer that. Maybe our imperfections are part of our journey – also, the Bible teaches that mankind is in a fallen, imperfect state.

    Things in between, yes, but when it comes to our existence aren’t we here either on purpose (created) or by chance?

    The first definition of “evidence” in Webster’s is “an outward sign: Indication.” That definition perfectly fits my use of the word. I didn’t say that faith was my evidence, I cited several things that are evidence for me.

    It would be interesting, but I would expect brain activity to occur and “light up” in both mine and your views of the world.

    May I say that you have a position which is unassailable?

    I suppose you’re right about the condescending bit.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    Blacksheep

    Not pascals wager, just the truth of my statement. (“Maybe heaven awaits”) no bet, just a key part of my faith,

    It was “I have nothing to lose especially since I see so many tangible benefits in my life. Maybe heaven awaits” that is similar to “there is nothing to lose and everything to gain by believing in God”. Pascal’s Wager. Still, if it gives you comfort then who am I to judge. It simply isn’t a compelling argument for me.

    I can’t answer that. Maybe our imperfections are part of our journey

    We’re human beings. Our ancestors were “good enough” to survive and produce offspring to the point where we were born. How you can consider that a mark of a creator is beyond me.

    Things in between, yes, but when it comes to our existence aren’t we here either on purpose (created) or by chance?

    No. Where is the random chance in evolution? Where is the random chance in gravity? Where is the random chance in relativity?

    I didn’t say that faith was my evidence, I cited several things that are evidence for me.

    “Evidence for you” is anecdote.

    It would be interesting, but I would expect brain activity to occur and “light up” in both mine and your views of the world.

    Of course because reality doesn’t care what your deeply held beliefs are. Nor mine for that matter.

    May I say that you have a position which is unassailable?

    Well I don’t believe that is true. Provide evidence that can be confirmed and tested and my “position” must change. I think in some ways “knowing” that there is a god to comfort and guide you is a very nice thought but unfortunately I happen to think it is wrong. I also happen to think that going through life as if something were true when it is false can be very dangerous. It can hurt the believer and others around them. It can damage society and set back our progress. For me I would rather face a uncomfortable truth than an comfortable lie.

  • Blacksheep

    Hover,

    Not sure why you’re trying to label my comment as Pascals wager, whether it is or isn’t doesn’t change its authenticity for me.

    I didn’t say that imperfections were the mark of a creator, you said that imperfections were a sign that there is no creator. I said “I can’t answer that, maybe…”

    I’m confused about the random comments – and curious about your position. It sounds like you’re saying that while you don’t believe in a creator, you do believe that things (Laws of physics, etc) came about not be random chance?

    So you don’t like the definition of “evidence” that I cited? I know there are other definitions, but that’s the first one listed and I believe it is an accurate definition for the way I am using it.

    I think our brains learn – for example if one teenager told another that he “loved” her, her brain might “lght up” in a pleasurable way. If it turned out that he was lying, her brain would “light up” less the next time, and so on. I agree that our brains can be fooled, but hopefully we learn from experience to seperate what works from what doesn’t.

    I may be unique in this position, but for me Christianity is an “uncomfortable truth.” I don’t believe it because I like all of it, I believe it because I think it’s true – and I love it because I think it’s true. I would find it much more comfortable if all religion were false, for many reasons. To me, it is atheism that is the “comfortable lie.”

    In that way, we’re the same – we both believe what we think is true, regardless of how comfortable it is.

    I’m not sure if I agree that going through life believing something were true when it is false is “very dangerous” – life is pretty short, and if there are no eternal consequences, (A part of Christianity, by the way, that to me would qualify as “uncomfortable”) how “dangerous” can it be? Great progress has been made by believers and non believers, and both believers and non believers have been “hurt” throughout history – and hurt others around them.

  • ACN

    I’m not sure if I agree that going through life believing something were true when it is false is “very dangerous” – life is pretty short, and if there are no eternal consequences, (A part of Christianity, by the way, that to me would qualify as “uncomfortable”) how “dangerous” can it be? Great progress has been made by believers and non believers, and both believers and non believers have been “hurt” throughout history – and hurt others around them.

    I’m pretty sure that it can be. You typically don’t see people strap bombs to themselves and detonate them amongst civilians unless they have some preposterously suspect views on the number of virgins they will be encountering in the afterlife. The christians who ran the inquisition would have had no justification for their actions if they couldn’t point to their belief in the scriptures like John 15:6 (if a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”) or just about anything from Deuteronomy (the psychopathy of 17:2-7 comes specifically to mind). Or how about our more modern mass murderers, the leaders like Mao and Stalin, people who crafted an ideology that claimed to be based in rationality, but no more than cults of personality built around their leaders that were as irrational and as any religion has ever been.

    It isn’t about being a “believer” or “non-believer” in broad terms, there have been some very pleasant and extremely unpleasant folks in both of those camps. The various laws of large numbers virtually guarantee this. What is important is how we form our beliefs and to question whether or not the beliefs that we hold to be true, map to reality in some sort of testable way.

    How we form our beliefs, is extremely important. There is no evidence of any sort of afterlife (and many of them seem logically untenable to boot), and as such we appear to get only one chance at being alive, and I’d like to hold as many rational and true beliefs as I possibly can to avoid being taken advantage of.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    Blacksheep

    I’m confused about the random comments – and curious about your position. It sounds like you’re saying that while you don’t believe in a creator, you do believe that things (Laws of physics, etc) came about not be random chance?

    I understand. You’ve no doubt been told that either gods created the laws governing the universe or they are completely random. This is false. While some chaotic factors are unavoidable order also exists is nature. Take evolution as a fine example. In layman’s terms and at a high level evolution is made up of two big ideas:
    1) Descent with modifications. The offspring of an organism may differ from the parent. One of the reasons for this among many is random mutation. This is not the only cause.
    2) Natural selection. Organisms produce more offspring than can survive. Those that do survive to reproduce are selected for survival. Something of a tautology but there you have it.

    A typical creationist characterisation of evolution is that it is entirely random. Only one contributing element could be said to be random and that isn’t even necessary.

    So you don’t like the definition of “evidence” that I cited? I know there are other definitions, but that’s the first one listed and I believe it is an accurate definition for the way I am using it.

    OK why not follow that train of thought for a bit? If you experience something and believe it to be true then it is evidence for you? Have you ever seen a card trick? Has an uncle made a coin appear from behind your ear? (all uncles can do magic) Have you ever experienced deja vu? Did you once believe in Santa Claus? Has a horoscope ever been accurate for you? Have you ever been shown to be wrong or learnt that something that you believed was false?

    Is magic real? Is foresight real? Is Santa real? Is the future held in the stars? The “evidence” says so. It must be true. Right?

    hopefully we learn from experience to seperate what works from what doesn’t.

    Indeed but only if we recognise when we are in error.

    To me, it is atheism that is the “comfortable lie.”

    That is interesting given that atheism is only defined by what it isn’t.

    In that way, we’re the same – we both believe what we think is true, regardless of how comfortable it is.

    Sorry but no. I believe what the evidence suggests. Whether it is comforting or not is irrelevant.

    I’m not sure if I agree that going through life believing something were true when it is false is “very dangerous” – life is pretty short, and if there are no eternal consequences, (A part of Christianity, by the way, that to me would qualify as “uncomfortable”) how “dangerous” can it be?

    How dangerous indeed? Take a look at a few of Hemant’s reports on children abused or killed by sincere Christian belief. Take a look at how learning and science is impeded by sincere Christian belief. Not just Christian of course. All kinds of sincere belief can hold back or harm people.

    Great progress has been made by believers and non believers, and both believers and non believers have been “hurt” throughout history – and hurt others around them.

    Indeed. No doubt you have already heard the words of Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg: “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

  • Blacksheep

    Still confused – and interested – in your first point about order in the universe. It means that I don’t accurately understand your position.

    The evidence part we will have to disagree on. For me, a combination of what I observe, experience, and learn from over the years is “evidence” (not proof, but evidence).

    Recognizing when we arein error is a given – I agree wholeheartedly.

    Atheism is described by what isn’t, I understand. but our particular dialogue, and the main debates on this site, are generally dealing with whether or not there is a God.

    You’re just stating the “comfortable lie” thing in a different way now. (You brought up the term initially to describe faith). From our dialogue you know that it is also irrelevent to me whether it is comfortable or not.

    How religion and Christianity have helped or harmed us as humans would be an endless debate that I don’t believe would get us anywhere. I suspect we could both pull out facts and figures for weeks.

    I have not heard Weinburg’s quote until now, but it is incorrect. I would change the word “religion” to simply “ideology” and then I would agree. Otherwise we would be leaving out some of the worst evils (done by good people) on record.


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