Just Another Religion?

We gather together each Sunday
With people who share our beliefs
We’ve been waiting all week for this one day
And we’re all gonna cheer for the Chiefs.

Or the Lions, or Packers, or Ravens
Or the Titans, or Jaguars, or Jets
And we turn to statistical mavens
Who advise us on placing our bets

When the oddsmakers, wonks, and diviners
Say our team earns more flags than first downs
We’ll ignore them, and root for the Niners
Or the Eagles, the Dolphins, or Browns

Our allegiance to team never varies
As we cover our faces with paints
Though the Cardinals throw their Hail Marys
We poor sinners will stick with our Saints

See, Sunday’s the day for our Steelers
As for church—really, nobody cares—
They say Jesus is first among healers
But it’s not like he plays for the Bears.

Ok, the inspiration for this one did not come from football. Rather, it came from the handful of vocal critics of Atheism Plus, and from some religious commenters on the news stories about the DNC removal of and replacement of the “God” language in the Dem’s party platform. In both cases, people were clearly trying to get the goat of (some, or all, depending on the issue) atheists, by telling us that “atheism (or A+) is just another religion”.

One wonders what definition these people have of “religion”. From their usage of the term, they seem to have broadened the definition to “any group of people who agree with one another about something they feel strongly about.”

In which case, of course, atheists (let alone any particular subset of atheists) can’t hold a devotional candle to organized sport. Football (or football, or football, or football), basketball, baseball… You can come out as an atheist, but tell your family you don’t really care about the Yankees, or Man U, or the All Blacks, and you are disowned. And the rivalries! And the people who have to comment on posts like this that they don’t watch sports, and think it’s an absurd waste of time, energy, and money. And there are rituals, and traditions, and silly hats and weird colored clothing. But the gods on the field (pitch, diamond, court, whatever) are clearly metaphorical.

If getting together with people you agree with about something is religious (and I am not saying I agree with that definition, but am simply granting it for the time being), atheism still is hell and gone from being a religion. And frankly, religions themselves have got some catching up to do.


  1. Rodney Nelson says

    But baseball is still being played. I’m not ready for football until after the World Series (as long as the Yankees aren’t playing, ’cause then I’ll watch some football).

  2. Anonymous Atheist says

    Upon reading this, I thought about if there were sports commentators at church services… :)
    “Let’s see some more hustle in that communion line! Grandma Wilson’s really dragging the team down this week.”
    “Brother Jeffrey is on fire with the spirit tonight, I’ve never heard such ‘tongues’ before!”

  3. octopod says

    #3 makes me want a “like” button. Also to listen to that one Peter Schickele routine with the sport commentator and the first movement of Beethoven’s 5th.

  4. Die Anyway says

    Almost good, but you left out the Bucaneers. Surely something fun would rhyme with that… fears, cheers.

    And if they served hot dogs, peanuts and beer during church service I might go back. ;-)

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