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Dear Patrick Mahomes, No, God Didn’t Challenge Your Team to Make It Better

patrick mahomes

Yesterday, the Kansas City Chiefs played the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl. Led by superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City won the game in overtime. Afterward, Mahomes said:

It (winning the game) means a ton. Just the adversity we dealt with this year and to come through. The guys never faltered. I give God the glory. He challenged us to make us better. I am proud of my guys. They did awesome. Legendary.

After beating the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game, Mahomes stated:

God put a lot of adversity in our way this year.

Before last year’s Super Bowl, Mahomes was asked about his faith. Here’s what he had to say:

My Christian faith plays a role in everything that I do. I mean, I always ask God to lead me in the right direction and let me be who I am for His name.

I have no doubt that Mahomes is a sincere Christian; that he really believes that the Christian God (Jesus) is the power behind his winning ways. Such beliefs are common among professional athletes. However, if the Chiefs were 3-14 this year, would Mahomes say the same thing? If Mahomes had torn his ACL or Achilles tendon and was sidelined for a year, would he still praise God for his perfect ways? It seems that God only gets all the praise, honor, and glory when teams and players win. In defeat, blame is laid at the feet of players, coaches, team owners, or groundskeepers. God never gets praise, honor, and glory for defeats. Why is that?

touchdown for jesus

If God was behind the Chiefs’ win, doesn’t it necessarily follow that he was also behind the 49ers’ defeat?

Think about all the violence, suffering, and death in the world. Think about the carnage in Ukraine, Gaza, Yemen, Syria, and other countries roiled with military conflict. Think about global warming, dramatic species decline, and other existential threats. So many things Jesus could do something about, yet he does nothing. He hides himself from his prized creation — the human race — only to appear when Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs need to score and win a game. He is the God of the trivial, the insignificant. What an awesome, God, right?

Teams win games because of athletic prowess, roster construction, competent coaching, and luck — lots of the ball bouncing in the right direction at the right moment. Mahomes is certainly free to praise God for his superior physical skills and the coaching expertise of Andy Reid and his staff, but I hope he will forgive me when I roll my eyes and laugh when he does. Does anyone really believe Patrick Mahomes wouldn’t be a future Hall of Fame quarterback without his faith? Of course not.

I give credit to whom credit is due. God was nowhere to be found on Sunday. All I saw was grown-ass men beating the shit out of each other, hoping to win — in the grander scheme of things — a meaningless game, a fancy trophy, a sparkling ring, and their name written in football history. I love sports, but I haven’t lost sight of the fact that when measured according to the pressing, dire issues faced by all living things, sporting events are little more than brief distractions as we trudge along the road of life.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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    I guarantee that there are more than a dozen San Francisco players, who are every bit as earnest in their faith, as Patrick is, so it must mean that he believes that he is much more special to his God then these players are. This is the height of arrogance that is so common Christians. do they ever step back and look at the implication of what they are saying,

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    Athletes can be so incredibly superstitious! I raise my hand here – sometimes I will want to wear a certain pair of socks in a race because the last race when I wore them turned out well. Conversely, I may avoid a certain pair of socks because the last race turned out terribly. In reality, so many factors affect performance. Training, whether you’re healthy, the weather, luck, that chili you ate last night (oops, bad idea), etc.

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    It’s actually quite understandable that athletes are religious (and/or superstitious). You can’t really train for a perfect athletic performance, you can really only practice for situations that might come up and hope that your training kicks in. “Conscious thought avails you not!” If the athlete believes that no less than the creator and sustainer of the universe is on his side it can mitigate the self doubt that can psychologically ruin a performance.
    This reminds me of ancient poets like the Greek Homer, who would petition the Muses’ help in reciting the epic poem. As an owner of a human brain, it’s uncanny utility can indeed seem somewhat mysterious. Be it Muses, gods, devils, or magic feathers they all can work as a psychological tool, and of course they can be completely imaginary.

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