NFL Pro-Bowler is an atheist. So what?

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Houston Texans running back Arian Foster celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals during the third quarter of their NFL AFC wildcard playoff football game in Houston, Texas on January 5, 2013. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Tim Sharp 
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-TURNER-COLUMN, originally transmitted on August 11, 2015.

Houston Texans running back Arian Foster celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals during the third quarter of their NFL AFC wildcard playoff football game in Houston, Texas on January 5, 2013. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Tim Sharp *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-TURNER-COLUMN, originally transmitted on August 11, 2015.

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(RNS) When NFL player Arian Foster came out as a nonbeliever, fans and football professionals responded with a general shrug. Does this mean pro football is moving away from its Christian roots? Yes and no.

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  • Richard Rush

    The next thing you know, David Barton will be claiming that football is a Christian sport in the USA which he claims is a Christian nation.

  • Larry

    Of course Christians are going to claim football is suddenly “their sport” now. Appropriating things in an untoward manner is a nasty habit of them.

    Christian proselytizing and religious based coercion has been rather pervasive in college football in public universities as of late. What used to be private belief now seems to require browbeating and forcing people into religious activities.
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2015/08/18/new-report-highlights-troubling-blend-of-christianity-and-college-football-at-public-universities/

  • Jimmy Mac

    ” … overwhelmingly Christian world of professional football and the college football system that feeds it.”

    I’ll bite: what in hades is “Christian” about pounding the bejeepers out of each other over a little ball?

  • Many athletes are Christian or claim to be. If not Christian, many believe in God and look to God to protect them in their careers. Athletes are of course vulnerable to injuries. Often career ending injuries. So many pray before they take the field or participate in their particular sporting event. Athletes look to God often because they need Him. We all, like the athletes, need Him. They are more aware of their need because of the risk they take everyday. But we are all vulnerable to sickness or accident or adversity everyday. Man is arrogant and often doesn’t know how much he really needs the Lord. In the same way Jesus taught that: “the poor are rich in faith”. The poor look to God everyday for their daily needs. Most of us do not do that. We are unaware of our need and vulnerability as people to adversity. We need to trust Him more with our lives. Receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Repent from apathy towards God. Follow Him as He leads, and know His Peace. God Bless

  • Dominic

    Being an atheist for a football star clears any impediment for them to murder, rape, or solicit drugs and prostitutes. Are ya ready for FOOTBALL!

  • Prayer Has Never Worked

    Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
    Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise. Prayer makes you fat.
    Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
    Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
    Prayer messes up your knees and your neck and your back.
    Prayer reveals how foolish you are to the world.
    Prayer makes you think doilies are exciting.
    Prayer makes you secretively flatulent and embarrassed about it.
    Prayer makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
    Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just google him to find out.
    Prayer makes you hoard cats.
    Prayer dulls your senses.
    Prayer has been shown to have no discernible effect towards what was prayed for.
    Prayer wastes time.

  • Prayer Has Never Worked

    That’s why the majority of people in our jails for those crimes are Christians…look it up.

  • ben in oakland

    Speaking of non-athlete Christians:

    There’s Josh Duggar, already a bit damned because of his over interest in his sisters.

    It turns out his name was found on the hacked Ashley Madison list, with his given address being that of his grandmother in Fayetteville. Not too much doubt that it’s ol’ Josh.

    I wonder what Mrs. josh now thinks of her fine Christian man. Maybe they can blame the gays,.

  • Dominic

    One can be a Christian and sin in terrible ways. This everyone knows. Atheists very well could be above reproach morally, again, not a news flash. It all comes down to personal choice and a set of values. A true Christian, especially one in the public eye, needs to discipline themselves according to the laws of God….especially if their natural tendency is contradictory to Him. Living hypocritically is more of an outrage than a sinful act.
    Unfairly are atheists assumed to live amoral lives…as my sarcastic statement above alludes to. Perhaps some do, but I don’t believe that their atheism is the cause of it…they would be just as amoral if they were Christians.
    For the Christian, the duty to give good example is very important , for their sins can be used to muddy the very word “Christian”. This is not always easy to manage.
    The word “atheist” cannot be anymore muddied than it is to believers, since there is no documented standard of behavior that they profess.

  • Travis

    Take a look a creation. The trees, the mountains, the wide variety of size, shape and colors of the fish in our oceans. Take time to watch a sunset. Notice how nature is in perfect sync. It takes more faith to be an atheist than a Christian. To think that all of that beauty of creation happened by accident is laughable. There is a God that loves his creation, including the ones reading this. He also gives his angels direction over a believer’s life. Not to sound insensitive, but Arian Foster could use an angel or two. He stays injured. Coincidence? I’m not the judge, just something to ponder.

  • Larry

    No it doesn’t. You have to be a Catholic priest for guilt free permission to do those things.

    The best part is, as a priest the entire church covers up for you and buries your acts from law enforcement in order for statutes of limitations to expire.

  • So you are saying that Christians are so ignorant that they would rather just say, “God did it” than wonder why we have such things. Wow, you gave a really crappy endorsement for your religious belief.

    “but Arian Foster could use an angel or two. He stays injured. Coincidence?”

    So your God is a vain, petty deity who demands adulation under penalty of pain and torment. Again, a really crappy endorsement of your faith.

  • Richard Rush

    Here are just a few examples of God’s creation that he supposedly loves:

    • Horrible birth defects
    • Tornadoes
    • Mosquitoes
    • Cancer
    • Earthquakes
    • Lions eating zebras
    • Multiple Sclerosis
    • Tsunamis
    • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
    • Vitiligo
    • Bedbugs
    • God himself is history’s most prolific abortionist
    • Prior to modern medical science: Large numbers of women dying during childbirth, no antibiotics, no anesthesia, and no pain remedies.

    If God was not able to do better than this, then he’s not a god. Or maybe God finds these things to be entertaining.

  • Greg1

    Prayer is the only way live.

  • Ben

    Wrong Greg. There are many ways live. Ask any band that has toured recently.

    Seriously, prayer is not required, and it doesn’t cause god to do anything. Feel free to cite a clear example we can all check that contradicts that.

  • Ben

    “The word “atheist” cannot be anymore muddied than it is to believers, since there is no documented standard of behavior that they profess.”

    Dominic, you are actually starting to get a grasp of what atheism is and is not. Keep up your studying. If you get it right, you’ll lose your religion!

  • Joe S.

    Well, about the same as pounding the bejeepers out of each other over Jerusalem and a host of other “holy” grounds. I am surprised there isn’t a football team named the Crusaders.

  • Joe S.

    Atheism: Removing the religious push to murder, torture, rape, and enslave anyone not like them for thousands of years.

  • Joe S.

    Angels must not have been a Tebow fan.

    I can look at trees, mountains, sunsets, etc. and marvel at all their wonder without thinking a majestic sky fairy created them all. We’ve discovered what causes them. No need to make up reasons anymore.

  • Joe S.

    Also, for something that was created “just for us humans”, why does 99.9% of the universe designed to kill us?

  • Anne_TX

    Perhaps this will inspire more non-theists to come out of the closet. Bravo!

  • Anne_TX

    No, Prayer Has Never Worked, that’s where everybody finds Jesus. I am pretty sure Jesus is a convicted felon.

  • @TheGodless

    It wouldn’t normally be that big of a deal, but when you consider how intermingled Christianity has become with the NFL and how much pressure is put on all of the players when they are trying to make the team and how the more religious coaches could use a lack of participation in religious activities as a reason to say that a player is not being a team player and how nearly every player is some denomination of Christian and how stigmatized and marginalized atheists are in general, it’s a pretty big deal for a star football player to let everyone know that he doesn’t have any imaginary friends.

  • @TheGodless

    Wow! Cliche much? Your claim about it taking more faith to disbelieve an unproven claim than to accept it is about the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard. You are saying that it takes more faith to not believe that snakes can talk or that a genocidal, baby killing, fetus drowning, slavery endorsing, petulant, and bigoted deity is somehow worthy of worshipping even if he did exist! Are you serious? Do you realize that by your cliched and infantile reason for believing can be used to argue for all of the so called deities existing? By your reasoning, the Flying Spaghetti Monster exists. In fact, you could punch in any kind of creator you want. Also, you aren’t dealing with the fact that your deity also created cancer, parasites, and the whole system of life needing to feed on other life to survive. If you’ve actually read your Bible, you would know that your deity also creates evil.

  • Dominic

    No, Ben. My faith is actually enriched by the atheist comments here. I’m constantly surprised how people can claim there is no God, when all my readings point to His existence. Atheist suppositions seem to always be snide and mocking of faith… to me, they reek of vanity and self aggrandizement. There is a plethora of proof for God, and atheism only rests on denial, not proof.

  • Ben

    No, Anne_TX, that’s just what many say. Really, no one has found Jesus since his carcass rotted away millenia ago. He wasn’t the offspring of some supreme being, just a maybe charismatic guy for whom the stories grew and kinda got outahand after he died.

  • Ben

    Dominic, that isn’t becoming enriched. You are just entrenched in your delusion. Good luck in finding your way out of it.

    As for your “readings”, what is your evidence for your particular god? Anything really recent we can look at, that other religions can’t claim was done by their big guy in the sky instead?

  • Ben

    Right on.

  • JLM

    Unfortunately, I think the opposite is true. Less and less people seem to believe in God as time goes by, including those who write almost every article you read on CNN or ESPN these days. The media and atheist scholars are spreading their word, and many atheists are even going out of their way to make documentaries that are supposedly teaching “secrets of the bible.” Social rights, including those which go completely against the laws of God which Jesus informed everyone of, seem to have become far more popular than Christianity, and it’s not surprising as we get closer and closer to the day of judgment. It’s sad for many, but those who believe in Jesus won’t have to worry.

  • JLM

    Finally, a person on the internet who is making sense. Glad to see that.

    If others would actually read the scriptures they would understand what is going on, instead of blaming God for the destruction. Everyone will eventually know and understand though. Unfortunately, for so many it’ll be too late because they had no faith. There will be a day when they will wish they had believed.

  • dmj76

    Why would you say that? What is your evidence?

  • dmj76

    Travis

    What about the billions of unsaved who will be tortured in hell forever? How does love fit into that?

  • Dominic

    Ben, the 4 Gospels still stand as historical proof of the earthly life of Jesus. I’ve never come across any 1st Century writings that contest them. So, what is it? An imaginative story that enveloped an empire, changing history up to this day? Doesn’t seem logical. All later conspiracy theories fall flat, also. Atheism can’t dismiss these truths, so it is denied. Denied with no basis for denial. Enlightened? Just the opposite.

  • George Nixon Shuler

    Interesting. And yet Christians rape and murder all the time, so, you can’t say religion even a particular one prevents people from doing it. Moreover, since most ahteists don’t rape and murder but do not do so out of respect for their fellow creatures, that would mean they were morally superior to christians who don’t do it only because they were afraind of eternal punishment, mm-hmm? -George Nixon Shuler, Junction City KS

  • George Nixon Shuler

    Interesting. I’m reminded of an old Tom Waits song where he goes “…you know there’s no devil, it’s just God when he’s drunk…” Definitely some worship a drunk daddy god. BTW, I’m a Christian myself, just not a right-wing blowhard like a lot who misrepresent our faith. -George Nixon Shuler, Junction City KS

  • Ben

    Fail on that, Dominic. The gospels aren’t “recent”, and they are a mishmash of contradictory stories.

    In addition, many other, even older religions, can make similar claims like yours does, and your beliefs are mainly morphed from those earlier non-Christian ones. That includes the virgin birth and sacrifice by death parts. Nothing special there about your own beliefs.

    Again, what recent evidence can you present for your beliefs? Emphasis on recent. I see no reason to believe in a god that can’t even communicate in our modern connected world.

    The rest of your post is a logic fail that demands that you investigate Russell’s Teapot. I suggest that you google it.

    Start asking tough questions like that and looking for the answers. You’re well on your way to being delusion free if you can do that with rigor.

  • Ben

    Start worrying JLM. There’s no Jesus coming to save you. That whole tale is just a ripoff from older myths.

    If your god story can’t stand up to honest academic and media scrutiny and other investigation, and it appears that it can’t, then you really, honestly, need to re-examine your faith.

  • Dominic

    Ben, done all the investigating needed. Man wishing God away does not make it happen. There are no viable arguments today or yesterday that can eliminate God’s existence. And GOD no longer needs to prove Himself. But you’re free to chase after every “proof” that men come up with to dismiss Him. Dog chasing tail.

  • Dominic

    That is the choice they made in life, not God’s fault.

  • Ben

    Dominic, stop insulting. I conclude from your comments of avoidance that you have no recent evidence for your beliefs to offer. Thanks for confirming what I suspected.

    Your religion is a sham.

  • Ben

    False, Dominic. Your claim is that god is the creator of everything. If some among us are so flawed as to make poor decisions, then your god is to blame for that. Even the broken free will defense won’t help your case there.

    Your religion is a sham.

  • Ben

    Sorry, Anne_TX. I misread your post. Yes, funny that, Jesus the jailed criminal :-). Must have been a pretty bad guy, for all that jail time in so many prisons.

  • Dominic

    Actually, your argument is a sham. God cannot create anything that is bad, nor can He sin. You just hate religion, most likely because it doesn’t meet your criteria for reality. And you are who?
    Your words will be lost to the ages like grains of sand, while that sand dune of Faith will endure forever. Move on to an argument you can win.

  • Dominic

    Why would God consider your demands as anything but laughable? You’ve never seen the edge of the universe but you believe its there. Or are you demanding science to show you pictures of it? Silly, silly, silly.

  • Of course God is not a Tebow fan. Nobody likes a suckup.

  • Ben

    Dominic, no, my argument stands. Redefining god yourself as you just tried to do doesn’t help your case. According to your stories and claims, your “god” made everything, including even the terrible maladies that torment and kill so many innocent people, even children.

    There is no argument for your god of the Christian stories that you can win, until you start realize that your god stories are a complete scam and you change your tune. Reality does not jive at all with your sinister beliefs.

  • Ben

    Dominic, please retract your above post, which is a pure strawman argument (google that term if you don’t already understand it). I clearly made no statements about the edge of the universe.

    Are you aware of the beliefs that precede the Christian ones, that your religion ripped off several of its stories from? Look them up. Your entire religion is a sham, and is not even original.

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  • Giantslor

    You seem to believe the myth that football players are disproportionately criminal. In fact, NFL players commit crimes at a lower rate than all males in the NFL age range.