Last year a respected research institute found that 50% of sports fans believe supernatural forces are at work in sporting events. That includes 19% who believes that God determines the outcome, 26% who pray for their team to win, and 25% who believe their team has been cursed. More recently it’s been reported that 25% of Americans believe that God will determine who wins the Super Bowl. (See this.)
Now the obvious response is to be indignant and say that’s ridiculous. God doesn’t care about such trivialities as who wins a football game. But wait a minute. If God cares about the fall of a sparrow, why wouldn’t he care about the fall of a wide receiver? If God’s providence extends to all of reality, why wouldn’t that include football games?
So what do you think about this? Apply actual theology in answering this question one way or the other.
From Public Religion Research Institute, Half of American Fans See Supernatural Forces at Play in Sports:
Amid the 2014 NFL playoffs, half (50 percent) of American sports fans see supernatural forces at play in the games they are watching—they either pray for God to help their team, believe their team has been cursed, or believe God plays a role in determining the outcome of sporting events, a new survey finds.
The January PRRI Religion and Politics Tracking Survey, conducted by Public Religion Research Institute, finds that one-quarter (25 percent) of sports fans in the United States believe their team has been cursed at some point, while more than one-quarter (26 percent) say they have prayed to God to help their team and 19 percent say God plays a role in determining who wins and who loses. Half of American sports fans connect the supernatural to sports by embracing at least one of these beliefs or practices.
“As Americans tune in to the Super Bowl this year, fully half of fans—as many as 70 million Americans—believe there may be a twelfth man on the field influencing the outcome,” said Dr. Robert P. Jones, PRRI CEO. “Significant numbers of American sports fans believe in invoking assistance from God on behalf of their favorite team, or believe the divine may be playing out its own purpose in the game.”