Why I am an atheist – James Willamor »« Tune in Sunday morning

There is no god

A mighty battle to settle the question once and for all was fought on the playing fields of America today, and a mere mortal, Tom Brady, kicked Jesus’ champion’s ass all over the field 45-10. I think the matter is finally over.

This is what happens when you vaingloriously give your deity responsibility for carrying a stupid little football game: his impotence might be exposed.

Think this is silly? 54% of Republicans believe god is helping Tebow on the field. Jamie Kilstein sets ‘em straight.


  1. Cuttlefish says

    You forget; Jesus may be a Tebow fan, but Elway made a pact with Satan long ago. You clearly have un-accounted-for variables in this test.

  2. Erp says

    It could just prove that God doesn’t like overt displays of piety as stated in Matthew 6.

    More seriously, it is not surprising that the Broncos would prove inferior to the Patriots.

  3. Brownian says

    Someone had te bow down to the Patriots.

    That honest-to-the-god-that-doesn’t-exist hurt. You caused real pain, NEB.

  4. frankb says

    Right after the end of the game, Tebow was wandering around the field. It looked like he was looking for Brady. Brady got collared for an interview leaving Tebow to trot off the field. How the mighty have fallen.

  5. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yeah, praying and talking about praying, or careful preparation and knowledge of the opponents weaknesses, and how to take advantage of them with the talent you have. I’ll take the latter, as the Pats keep showing on a regular basis, it works.

  6. Midnight Rambler says

    Tebow – 9/26, 136 yards, 5 sacks
    Brady – 26/34, 363 yards, 0 sacks

    As a Massachusetts Yankee born and bred, let me just say: bwahahahahahahaha

  7. says

    Yeah, that game went all to hell after the Focus On The Family ad.
    Lots of kids parroting John 3:16. Gah. They made a show of making it multi-racial, and I’m sure they congratulated themselves on how inclusive they were.
    And maybe I don’t have to listen to sportscasters telling me I have to respect his faith for a while.

  8. McCthulhu's new upbeat 2012 nym. says

    The only deities involved today were Schadenfreude, Irony, and the demigod John Lennon…instant karma got T-bonehead and knocked him off his feet…five times in fact.

  9. Randide, ou l'Optimisme says

    I made a beeline for the TV to make sure I didn’t have to hear a single word Tebow had to say after the game. Besides, I knew there was zero chance that he would have handled himself properly, the way Buffalo Bills receiver Stevie Johnson did back in November.

    If you forgot, or missed it, after dropping a game-winning pass, Johnson tweeted:


    At least Stevie stayed consistent.

  10. stubby says

    That Focus on the Family ad really chapped my hide. They must be so proud of how well they’ve brainwashed those kids.

  11. scifi1 says


    Priceless. That had me in tears. Thx for the link – we don’t get Fallon here in Oz.


    ..and don’t forget those 136 yards…. as in “that’s 3:16 all fucked up!!!!!”

    Let’s ‘adapt’ John 1:36 (what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, right?)…

    (John 1:36) “And looking upon Brady as he walked, Tebow saith, Behold the Lamb of God!”

  12. jakc says

    Reggie White only won one super bowl (lost the other to the Broncos). Funny how people find signs. Ben Roethlisberger & Andy Dalton are good Christian quarterbacks, but they lost last week.

  13. willv says

    @SallyStrange Thank you. I never watch Kimmel because I don’t give a shit about 95% of his guests but I love his musical bits. And especially that he got it right.

    @randide Bwahahaha! This, plus his “why so serious” t-shirt stunt make me wonder how seriously Stevie takes any of this. Good for him.

    Also reminds me of this: http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/tebow/1374394

  14. Randide, ou l'Optimisme says

    @jakc, Are you sure that you really want to throw Ben Roethlisberger out as an example of a “good Christian?”

  15. flyv65 says

    I saw the Focus on the Family ad, and felt dirty:I guess they use kids because no-one else believe that crap, right?

  16. SallyStrange (Bigger on the Inside), Spawn of Cthulhu says

    That’s Fallon, not Kimmel, willv, but you’re welcome nonetheless!

  17. bastionofsass says

    This is what happens when you vaingloriously give your deity responsibility for carrying a stupid little football game: his impotence might be exposed.

    No, no, no! This doesn’t show that Tebow’s God is powerless, only that, at least for Broncos fans, He works in very strange and mysterious ways.

    It’s now obvious to all that since the beginning of time, God’s eternal and unwavering plan has been to have the Pats beat the Broncos in the playoffs.

  18. says

    Everyone goes on about whether Jesus really gives a bless about a stupid football game, but to me the weirdest thing about this is that no one seems to address the elephant in the living room which is that all those Patriots’ fans pray also. If God were listening to Tebow that would imply that one uptight football star with a trivial agenda is somehow is more beloved of God than the rest of us. Of course the Bible is full of people singled out for special privileges by the almighty, but every time I suggested to my Christian friends that maybe I was just one of those losers God didn’t love as much, they got angry at me. Go figure. At least I have something in common with Tebow–God’s answers to my prayers was indistinguishable from natural processes.

  19. Randomfactor says

    I wanna know what team Cthulhu is backing. They can’t be beaten–until they get eaten, of course.

  20. Midnight Rambler says

    Christine, didn’t you know, all those people in New England are eeeeevil atheists. I hear they even allow queers to marry! (mostly) So obviously, it wasn’t any kind of prayers that helped the Patriots. It was clearly because God saw that Tebow was getting a little too prideful and needed to have a setback, in order to be sufficiently humble when God elevates him to the Superbowl championship next year.

    (I mean really, it’s not that hard to fake this kind of shit)

  21. says

    Always seems insulting to the person when their ability is attributed in any way to divine intervention. All those years of working hard, dedicating their life to honing their craft, and then “God did it”. Why is it that God helps those who skill themselves up? Shouldn’t God’s omnipotent be displayed in people who have never touched a football in his life? Let’s see a devout unathletic person who has never touched a ball in his life get out there and throw down a few for God. Now that would be miraculous!

  22. nunuvyurbiznez says

    I saw the Focus on the Family ad, and felt dirty:I guess they use kids because no-one else believe that crap, right?

    Yeah, because atheists have NEVER used kids to proselytize atheism. Nope. Not once.

    *recalls the videos PZ has shared featuring kids promoting atheism*

    Oh, wait…

  23. Tyrant of Skepsis says

    You all just don’t want to get it, do you? Tebow is a modern day Job. God has given the Patriots extra strength in order to test his faith.

  24. says


    Ok I’ll bite. Which were the videos promoting atheism and which were the ones featuring kids using reason or doing science, or demonstrating critical thinking?

    Atheists by definition cannot proselytise, we have no creed to impart. All we do is ask that children are taught how to think critically and assess claims based on their supporting evidence. If we do that, the atheism takes care of itself.

  25. says

    Maybe it’s a lifetime’s exposure to Carry On films’ double entendres, but that blow-by-blow recap seemed more than a little homoerotic to me. “Hernandez is a beast and I love playing with him and everything.”

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  26. thinice says

    “This is what happens when you vaingloriously give your deity responsibility for carrying a stupid little football game: his impotence might be exposed.”

    That’s EXACTLY what Jesus said in the SNL skit!

  27. Sili says

    So this is Current TV?

    I guess that’ll just be taken as more proof that Gore is of the Devil.

  28. janine says

    Is the big sky daddy going to send the she-bears after us for mocking his favorite quarterback?

  29. davidrichardson says

    I’m afraid one measly little American football game counts as nothing against the master (Rick Perry’s) famous prayer for rain in Texas … followed by the longest drought for years!

  30. anuran says

    If a Muslim player thanked Allah after every big play or a Satanist said “Hail Satan!” the Christians would give birth to a porcupine, breech presentation.

  31. says

    A Tebow-related sports score spoiler on an atheist website? Tebow’s God works in mysterious ways!

    I’d have thought that the one place on the internet I could visit, and safely avoid sports score spoilers, would be Pharyngula. So there I was, watching this game after I taped it last night, seeing the Pats 42-7 up in the third quarter, and then a quick visit here ruins everything for me!

    In my mind, this was shaping up for a fourth-quarter Jesus-addled Tebowfest miracle comeback, proving once and for all that there is a God. But nooo, once again Pharyngula inflicts fatal damage on someone’s irrational belief in miracles, by stubbornly insisting on overloading its readers with PZ’s devotion to factual truth. Imagine my disillusionment to learn that Tebow would not be the hero of a messianic storyline worthy of its own Bible chapter. It’s almost enough to make one lose one’s faith in, ummm, something or other.

    Okay God – you have one more chance to prove your existence. Make everyone STFU about Tebow until next NFL season, and you’ll cure the world of all this pesky atheism!

  32. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

    @ CapeTownJunk

    Hoesit ‘k sê? (Finally, a Zef contingent to teh horde.)

  33. Duckbilled Platypus says

    Let’s suppose for one moment that there is a god helping people win games, provided that they’re really really devout supporters of said god.

    Doesn’t that actually suggest that this god person supports cheating in games? Because I’m pretty sure there is no rule that says you may apply Divine Intervention at any time to influence the outcome.

  34. Lou Jost says

    I am glad this brought-to-us-by-the-NFL theology lesson is over with. But in Tebow’s defense, I have to admit that at least he appears to walk the walk. Seems like a genuinely decent, though deluded, individual. Read this.


    Skip the part about the robot arm (though of course, it raises the question why god would inflict pain on him, and why he would go to scientists rather than church to fix it). His pre- and post-game behaviors are described near the end of the article.

  35. pjabardo says

    The thing that I can’t stand about all this crap o jesus helping some people in sports is that shouldn’t this be considered worse than doping? I mean one team is enjoying divine intervention! How more unfair could it get? I think that anyone who claims that god helped him in a sport competition should be automatically disqualified. People should be praying for a clean match not a biased circus.

  36. says

    So, God does not play dice, he gambles on Football games.

    Build em up, then when they are riding high bet on the other side and knock em down. Oldest trick in the book.

    That aside i’m with Platypus, the use of religious intervention is really cheating. Well, that is unless everyone realises that God wouldn’t give a toss about their stupid game even if he did exist.

  37. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, liar and scoundrel says


    Let’s see a devout unathletic person who has never touched a ball in his life get out there and throw down a few for God. Now that would be miraculous!

    If my husband’s 4’11” tall, 87 year old grandmama (who has really bad arthritis in her left knee) gets recruited by Green Bay, then I might have to reconsider this whole atheism thing.

    Lou Jost:

    Seems like a genuinely decent, though deluded, individual.

    Fuck that. That asshole is the fucking poster boy for the rabidly anti-choice movement.

    I have zero respect for him.

  38. says

    This was fun, but I am still not forgiving Shuster for his suggest that Chelsea Clinton was being pimped out by the Clinton campaign. Even if you grant that it was a colloquialism that was easy to misinterpret, it still was dumb to suggest the Chelsea shouldn’t be campaigning for her mom.

  39. petermountain says

    Tebow’s god (Yahweh) is an old testament sky deity. Denver is situated literally in the sky (approximately 5500 feet above sea level) and so it’s a no brainer as to why they’ve done so well. The Patriots, on the other hand, hail from Foxborough Mass which is just a stones throw from Arkham. The elder god that rules this area is Cthulhu. And as the writings of H.P. Lovecraft bear out, Cthulhu ist uber alles ~ especially if you’re crazy enough to play the game in his back yard.

  40. says

    What’s this “football” thing that people keep talking about? Must be some peculiar religious observance that I’m unfamiliar with. (I’ll try to keep it that way.)

  41. raven says

    The xians are so desperate for heroes that they will make them up. Their leaders are all ageing vaguely humanoid toads straight out of horror stories.

    The Tebows are anti-Catholic bigots.

    A lot of their missionary work was converting Fake Xians to their particular brand of True Xianity.

    SocraticGadfly: #Tebow – an anti-Catholic?socraticgadfly.blogspot.com/2011/12/tebow-anti-catholic.htmlCached

    19 Dec 2011 – #Tebow – an anti-Catholic?

    Frankly, I was glad for the New England Patriots’ takedown of Tim Tebow and his Denver Broncos yesterday. And …

  42. Serendipitydawg (Physicists are such a pain sometimes) says

    Being British, I have no real idea who Tebow is, but he can at least switch from John 3:16 to Matthew 27:46.

  43. Larry says

    The only miracle that occurred yesterday happened 900 miles west at Candlestick Park in the final play of the NO/SF game.

    Go Niners! St. Joe of Montana is on your side.

  44. Denephew Ogvorbis, OM says

    What’s this “football” thing that people keep talking about?

    Also referred to as “American HandEgg.” And it is more of a religion amongst some religious folk than religion is a religion.

  45. raven says

    Lou Jost:

    Seems like a genuinely decent, though deluded, individual.

    No he isn’t.

    The Tebows among other things are anticatholic bigots.

    Their missionary activities were in the Philipines. A country that is 95% Catholic. They are True xians out to convert the Fake xians.

  46. sqlrob says

    And as the writings of H.P. Lovecraft bear out, Cthulhu ist uber alles

    Know how I know you haven’t read HPL? :-P

    Cthulhu is just a priest. Which should give you an idea of the power and maleficence of the gods.

  47. rogerfirth says

    Did you notice that when the players were leaving the field at the end of the game that Tebow was surrounded by a crowd of photographers and reporters, while Brady, the QB who kicked his and Jesus’ asses up and down that field, was pretty much all alone?

    The interview I saw with Brady was the typical “we played hard” after-game interview. I never saw anything from the Tebow crowd. I just hope it was akin to “Why did Jesus let you down, Tim?” or “I had indecent thoughts about one of the Patriots’ cheerleaders early in the second quarter and Jesus sent me a message.”

  48. georow says

    Tongue in cheekiness aside, the problem with concluding that a Tebow fail = no god is that it validates the opposite conclusion. If TT has a great season next year, it justifies even more yammering about divine intervention. Better to just let it pass (no pun intended). Tebow is just a guy who plays football. I don’t care for his faith and I don’t like his constant public posturing. I do, however, respect the fact that he has put his money where his mouth is, at least in terms of providing some support and comfort to ill and hospital bound people. To paraphrase Jayne, he’s done good — doesn’t mean I like him any better. Wish he and his family would leave the Filipinos alone, though. Fundamentalist missionaries have a pretty dismal record in helping the less developed world. The more important concern is not whether or not this game disproves god’s existence, it’s what’s going to happen to the Broncos? As a fan, I hope Tebow either learns to read defenses, or is suitable trade bait for a better quarterback. (I hear Payton Manning may be available?) Oh, and if there is a god, then I’d like to let him know that what we really need is a defensive tackle.

  49. DLC says

    Hm… an 8-8 team who should have been 4 for 12 loses to the powerhouse New England Patriots. Seems about right. Unless god had the pats -14 ?

    What if some footballer or other had gone on TV and said “There is no god, our team wins or loses based on our own skill and the occasional lucky break” ?

  50. says

    SallyStrange @ 17, thanks for the link.

    Jimmy Fallon is a genius. If Jesus loves anyone, it’s gotta be Jimmy Fallon. He hit that last note perfectly.

  51. Hercules Grytpype-Thynne says

    What if some footballer or other had gone on TV and said “There is no god, our team wins or loses based on our own skill and the occasional lucky break” ?

    Well, except for the “there is no god” part, this is pretty close:

    Look at the attention I get: It’s because I throw a football. But that’s what society values. That’s not what God values. He didn’t invent the game. We did. I have some eye-hand coordination, and I can throw the ball. I don’t think that matters to God.

    That was Tom Brady back in 2008.

  52. Aquaria says

    What if some footballer or other had gone on TV and said “There is no god, our team wins or loses based on our own skill and the occasional lucky break” ?

    He’d probably find himself shellacked in the next game he played in.

    In the name of christard “love” of course.

  53. dianne says

    The absurdly literal minded portion of my brain (aka most of it) insists that all this in isolation proves is that Jesus didn’t care enough for Tebow to intervene. Maybe he’s really a fan of Brady’s.

  54. nunuvyurbiznez says


    There was this one (or a video by the same girl):


    And one of a much younger girl who could barely say “atheism.” Probably came out more like “afeeism.”

    You don’t think atheists can proselytize? Then you’re pretty ignorant of the word’s definition:

    verb \ˈprä-s(ə-)lə-ˌtīz\
    Definition of PROSELYTIZE
    intransitive verb
    1 : to induce someone to convert to one’s faith
    2 : to recruit someone to join one’s party, institution, or cause

    Second definition (emphasis mine) says nothing about faith, religion, Christianity, God, etc. Proselytizing can include any and all things secular, which atheism, by definition, is.

  55. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    to recruit someone to join one’s party, institution, or cause

    Still fail. There is no party, institution, or cause. Just the idea that deities are imaginary. End of story. Atheists don’t recruit. They simply mock believers.

  56. Hercules Grytpype-Thynne says


    Does that video show a child being used to promote atheism? Because that was the question. Maybe I’m wrong, but what I see here is just someone young speaking her own mind.

  57. bcskeptic says

    Nice to see some real intelligence coming out of the T.V. in the U.S. Gives one hope that the fucking loonies of the world aren’t going to take over.

  58. Gregory Greenwood says

    Isn’t it intersting that theists so often seem to suffer from selective amnesia? Neuroscientists should really look into it.

    They make predictions about types like Tebow winning (or being the critical player contributing to a team winning) this or that sporting fixture because of ‘divine intervention’, and yet when the annointed player in question fails to live up to their billing, and team Chosen Ones get absolutely crushed, none of the theists seem to remember the lesson.

    Some complain that it is all somehow the fault of teh ghey/the godless baby-eaters/muslims/feminists/socialists/ the-reviled-minority-of-the-week, but they soon forget their reversal and go right back to making their ludicrous claims of a supposedly omnipotent diety’s overwhelming interest in a game when millions are suffering and dying worldwide.

    Of course, should their prediction transpire to come to pass (due to blind luck or simply betting on the objectively stronger side and calling it god’s will), then you never hear the end of it.

    It seems that god is always on the winning side – at least after the fact…

  59. knut7777 says

    It takes a great effort to root for the Pats, but this game was a sweet lesson to all the god-botherers.

  60. petejohn says

    I enjoyed watching that ass kicking. I’ve grown rather tired of the non-stop Tebow worship that has passed for analysis amongst many ESPN/Fox Sports/sports media types. Anyone who actually paid attention to the games, not the Tebowmania, would have noticed that Tebow is an extremely raw QB (and that’s putting that mildly) who happens to be a pretty smart player, a good runner, and a member of a team with an exceptional defense. Most of the games the Broncos won this year were really more of a result of strong defense, the Broncos not turning it over (which I’ll happily credit Tebow, given that he’s the QB), and Matt Prater being an outstanding kicker.

    If this were a reasonable world we’d be talking about the unique offense the Broncos were trying to use (which they were only using b/c Tebow hasn’t the skills to run a conventional offense) and the outstanding play of Von Miller, Elvis Dumervil, and other members of the defense. But no… what we heard instead week after week was how Tebow’s leadership and presence (sporting equivalent of woo-woo and homeopathy) and clutch ability (a concept that makes no logical sense) was driving the Broncos to the mountaintop. Trent Dilfer, a mediocre, journeyman QB-turned analyst, even once said “something bigger is going on here” after one luck-aided Broncos comeback.

    I wish Tebow the best. I really do. He seems like a mostly good person whose faults (pro-lifer, missionary, belief that God guides his hands) were faults inherited from growing up home-schooled by his wackaloon, fundy-parents. What I truly cannot bear anymore is hearing about how this mediocre, developing QB is actually a star because of intangible qualities that are immeasurable, unquantifiable, illogical, and more than likely illusory. All these worshipers ought to be embarrassed and I’m glad to see them get knocked down a peg or two, even if only for a few minutes.

  61. ladude says

    Perhaps I’m a little too tough on him, but I think Tewbow is a “religiously” arrogant individual. Sure he does some nice things for disabled folks, but so do many other sports stars. If you want to watch the game, you are likely to have to put up with seeing him prance around the field praying and pointing skyward everytime he does something “spectacular”. The implication being if you want to be a wonderful guy like him you have to follow jeebus. By comparison, there was recently a very outstanding cyclist who won more tours de France than any one else in the plus 100 years of the event. This fellow is said to be either agnostic or atheistic, yet not once when he won a stage or Tour did he say, “Hey,relax. I’m an atheist,there probably is no god so stop worrying and enjoy life a little.” If he had, the christians would have screamed and yelled that they were being disrespected.

  62. says

    He seems like a mostly good person whose faults (pro-lifer, missionary, belief that God guides his hands) were faults inherited from growing up home-schooled by his wackaloon, fundy-parents.

    Really? To me he seems like someone who has a Savior complex due to said parenting.

  63. What a Maroon says

    Right after the end of the game, Tebow was wandering around the field. It looked like he was looking for Brady.

    Oh, yeah, he was looking for his daddy.

    This game belies the thread title–there is a god, and his name is Tom.

    All joking aside, as a Pats fan I’m stuck with rooting for whoever’s wearing the laundry. If Tebow were a Pat, I’d be rooting for him despite swallowing hard and sticking my fingers in my ears every time he mentioned his lord and savior (kind of like I did with Curt Schilling a few years back). On the other hand, Tom Brady seems to be one of the few jocks who’s genuinely likable; at the very least he doesn’t come across as a sanctimonious jerk.

    (BTW, apropos of the Tebows’ anti-Catholicism, a large segment of the Pats fandom is Catholic–especially Irish, Italian, and Portuguese.)

  64. jolo5309 says

    I billed this as a classic game between Jesus (with his Tim Tebow avatar) and Satan (ably played by Bill Bellichek). So if the Broncos win, therefore Jesus, but if the Patriots win, Satan exists, therefore Jesus…

  65. jonerickson says

    Tim Tebow dies, is met at the proverbial gates by St. Peter, who escorts him in. Heaven turns out to be a magnificent football field.

    Tebow sees a familiar-looking fellow across the field tossing perfect passes. He can’t believe his eyes, and turns to St. Peter: “Is that Tom Brady? But I didn’t know Tom was …

    “No, no,” St. Peter interrupts. “That’s just God. He likes to think He’s Tom Brady.”

  66. Rip Steakface says

    The unfortunate thing about the redneck and godbotherer love of American football is that football is otherwise a surprisingly thoughtful and interesting sport. Yes, there’s a big focus on macho bullshit and a number of not-particularly-intelligent people play and love it, but the best players are the smart ones.

    Football, I’d say, is far more strategic than any of the more popular sports in America, and probably more strategic than association football. It takes smarts to analyze your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, your own strengths and weaknesses, and then choose the plays and players that will lead your way to winning the game. Yes, far too many people take it entirely too seriously, but for something to do on a Sunday afternoon with friends, you can’t do much better.

  67. marksletten says

    54% of Republicans believe god is helping Tebow on the field.

    I guess it wasn’t worth mentioning that over 38% of self-identified Democrats in the survey ALSO believe that God is helping Tebow…