The Superbowl is this weekend, time for the obligatory polls about whether or not God gets involved in the outcome of sporting events. One-quarter of Americans believe that he does. About a half believe that God rewards faithful athletes with health and success.
Certainly, the easy answer is that of course God doesn’t care about a sporting event because He has much more important things to do. But if God attends to the fall of a sparrow, why wouldn’t He attend to the fall of a pigskin?
The real problem is that all this assumes a theology of glory (God’s favor = success). But what would a Lutheran approach to this question be like?
The answer to where is God in the Superbowl would have to be in vocation. Athletes on both sides should do their best with their God-given talents. Furthermore, they should love and serve their neighbors when they play. Their neighbors would be their teammates, the viewing public, their opponents. So they shouldn’t cheat, make cheap hits that needlessly harm their opponents, etc. And they should know that God is just as likely to break them with trials and tribulations, if that is what they need so as to depend on Hi.
Other than that, things just have to play out. Can anything else be said on this topic?
Does God have his eye on the gridiron? Will he cheer for either the Atlanta Falcons or the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl on Feb. 5?
One-quarter (25 percent) of all Americans believe he does and he will, according to a new survey released today (Jan. 30) by the Public Religion Research Institute.
That’s slightly less than the number — 28 percent — who believe the Almighty had “a major role” in placing Donald Trump in the White House, the same study shows. Another 13 percent say God played a “minor role” — a backup quarterback, if you will — in the results of the 2016 presidential election. . . .
But the study found something different when it asked about the role God plays in the career of faithful athletes — people like tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams, who are Jehovah’s Witnesses, or Olympic champion Simone Biles, a Catholic, or Seattle Seahawks quarterback and evangelical Christian Russell Wilson, who once said he and girlfriend Ciara, the singer, were dating “Jesus’ way” — abstaining from premarital sex.
Asked whether God rewards them with “good health and success,” almost half of respondents — 49 percent — agreed. Another 47 percent disagreed.