As everybody knows, the Super Bowl game is this Sunday. And lo and behold, just days before the big game, I came across a recent survey by the Public Religion Research Institute that touches on faith and sports. For instance, according to the survey results, approximately 3 in 10 Americans believe God plays a role in the outcome of sports events, and 53% believe God rewards athletes who have faith in Him with health and success. So I wonder whose side the Lord will cause the results to tip in the favor of for this Super Bowl game.
Being a Christian, I do believe there are benefits to individuals who have genuine faith in God. Generally, it’s because people with genuine faith in God believe that through Him they can do extraordinary things or the humanly impossible, they act on that faith, and God blesses them for doing so. I’m not sure how this plays itself out in the outcome of sports events, however, especially considering it is likely that there are athletes on both teams who have genuine faith in God.
Another thing the survey addressed is that of athletes publicly expressing their faith in God during or after sporting events. According to the survey results, 50% of Americans approve of athletes publicly expressing their faith during or after sports events, 4% disapprove, and 45% say it does not matter.
This varies among various groups. White evangelical Protestants (77%) and minority Christians (60%) are more likely than white mainline Protestants (47%) and Catholics (46%) to approve of the athletes’ public expressions of faith, according to the survey. Republicans (67%) are more likely than Democrats (45%) and Independents (43%) to approve. Those in the South (60%) are more likely than those in the Midwest (50%), West (44%) or Northeast (39%) to say they approve.
Personally, I believe Christians—including athletes—should give thanks to God to acknowledge what they regard as His goodness to them. As for public expressions to God by athletes, nearly everything else is either acceptable or tolerated during sports events, so why not the acknowledging of God with thanksgiving? But as to whether or not God will be doing anything about this coming Super Bowl game, I can’t call that one.