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Does God Care Who Wins the Super Bowl?

Atheist billboard: "Hail Mary' Only Works in Football. Enjoy the Game!"

by
Paula Bolyard

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February 2, 2014 - 7:35 am
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American-Atheists-Super-Bowl-billboard

A group called American Atheists is sponsoring a digital billboard near MetLife Stadium targeted at Super Bowl attendees. Six times each hour through Super Bowl Sunday the billboard will proclaim, “A ‘Hail Mary’ Only Works in Football. Enjoy the Game!”

“Prayer is superstition, plain and simple,” says American Atheists President David Silverman.

It trivializes the dedication of the players and takes away from their achievements. A third of football fans pray in hopes of helping their team. These are adults we’re talking about—people with children, people with careers, people who vote. It’s 2014; it’s time to stop believing that prayer works. Give credit where credit is due and celebrate what this is really about—coming together to cheer on hard-working athletes doing what they do best.

On Fox News’ The Five on Friday, Greg Gutfeld seemed to agree.  ”If prayer actually works in a game no one would ever lose,” Gutfeld said. He added, “I don’t believe God designed the world on who’s the best pray-er.”

On the surface, Gutfeld and the atheists have a point. Several years ago when my son was playing football for a Christian school, the teams would huddle together before the games for a short prayer. As the team’s captain, Ryan was often called upon to lead the prayer, along with the captain of the opposing team. He admitted at one point that it didn’t seem right for both teams to pray to win and he thought it was especially awkward to pray for a win in the presence of the other team. They were, after all, asking God to bestow his favor upon one Christian team and not the other. How would God ever choose? Would he pick the team with the “best” Christians? The most fervent pray-ers? Or does God not bother with such trivial things as the outcomes of football games?

In the end, my son decided that he would pray for all the players to do their best and that God would protect them. He also prayed that he and the other boys would demonstrate Christ-like attitudes on the field and that they would honor God in the way they played the game.  He would leave the outcome up to God and then play to win.

So does God care who wins the Super Bowl or the curling competition at the Winter Olympics or your family’s Monopoly game? Two of God’s attributes, his omniscience and his sovereignty, as described in the Bible, help to explain God’s view of matters that may seem trivial upon first glance.

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Top Rated Comments   
God doesn't follow football, he's waiting for the start of the MLB season.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (18)
All Comments   (18)
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I think God did care about this game. He bided his time until the moment was just right, then he SMOTE the team that got rid of his favorite player, Tim Tebow.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
God used to follow college ball, but stopped when Bear Bryant died.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Jesus said to love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, so it really isn't Christian to pray to win.

Play to win, however, is something you should do. If you don't respect yourself, your enemy won't respect the God about whom you are witnessing.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Joshua 5:13 When Joshua was near the town of Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and demanded, “Are you friend or foe?” “Neither one,” he replied. “I am the commander of the LORD’s army.”

I think this is akin to how God would answer. Whose side is He on? Neither, He's God. It's our job to be on his side.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
God only cares about curling, as any sensible deity or human would!
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Looks like God decided that the Broncos wouldn't even get off the bus.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nope, the Saints aren't playing.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Every good liberal knows God hates football because everyone who plays it dies of a concussion.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
I used to worry about praying for myself, as if God and his power were some finite pool of holy goodness, and any wasted on me wouldn't be available for someone else. What if the moment he turns his attention to me, his attention is drawn from someone more needy and deserving than me?

It's part of the finite nature of man to see God in that way. Clearly, the creator of the universe has infinite power, and can observe every element of the universe simultaneously.

I think it's selfish for someone to pray for a team to win a game, but it doesn't harm anything or anyone else.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
I thought it was a stupid billboard made by people who don't know football. Hail Mary plays don't really work I football. IMO, prayer has a much better chance of working in your life than a Hail Mary has of working out in the game.

But, long ago when I was an athlete, I used to pray before I competed, but I realized early on that it was unfair of me to ask God to let me win. I was asking God to play favorites. Why was I more worthy to win than any other athlete in the race? That was selfish. Instead, I started simply asking God to help me find my own inner strength to compete well and to the best of my ability that day and to come away from each race safely along with every other athlete. I thought that was fair. If I did my very best and did not win, then at least I knew whoever did win had earned the victory against me and I had nothing to be ashamed of in my own effort and could be satisfied. I felt God could at least walk with me that far.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
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