A Secular Writer Puzzles over Tebow

I thought this piece from Chuck Klosterman was really fascinating. He is puzzling over how to understand Tebow, his faith, and how it appears that God is rewarding Tebow with unlikely victories. Here’s his conclusion:

The crux here, the issue driving this whole “Tebow Thing,” is the matter of faith. It’s the ongoing choice between embracing a warm feeling that makes no sense or a cold pragmatism that’s probably true. And with Tebow, that illogical warm feeling keeps working out. It pays off. The upside to secular thinking is that — in theory — your skepticism will prove correct. Your rightness might be emotionally unsatisfying, but it confirms a stable understanding of the universe. Sports fans who love statistics fall into this camp. People who reject cognitive dissonance build this camp and find the firewood. But Tebow wrecks all that, because he makes blind faith a viable option. His faith in God, his followers’ faith in him — it all defies modernity. This is why people care so much. He is making people wonder if they should try to believe things they don’t actually believe.

I don’t think that Tebow’s defiance of the odds in football games is what’s the most remarkable thing about him. What’s remarkable is that he behaves like a regenerate person in the midst of a professional culture that revels in debauchery. Having said that, it is wrong to interpret Tebow’s victories on the field as the reward for his behavior. That could all change at any moment. Tebow’s real moment to shine and to confound his critics will probably come when the victories end (2 Thessalonians 1:4-5).

Read the rest here.

(HT: Justin Taylor)

5 Responses to A Secular Writer Puzzles over Tebow

  1. Nate Claiborne December 8, 2011 at 4:00 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this!

    I’m actually a big fan of Klosterman, if you haven’t read much of his other writings on pop culture, you might want to check him out. You might especially find his essay long review of the first Left Behind book rather interesting. I’ve got a link to it here:

    http://nathanielclaiborne.com/a-decade-of-curious-people-and-dangerous-ideas/

  2. Derek December 8, 2011 at 6:00 pm #

    Long before Tebow came along, I heard a former quarterback say that being a quarterback is the ultimate confidence game. That you can have a guy with all the tools, skills and natural ability fail if he lacks confidence, and vice versa. It strikes me that Christianity is a confidence game too – it does require a child like faith… though not in one’s self, but rather in God. Tebow lives those realities in a way that many of us don’t or can’t.

  3. Tim Webb December 9, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    Dr. Burk, I have to disagree. The most fascinating thing about him is how he keeps his team winning week to week when he doesn’t have the traditional NFL quarterback skillset. I don’t think it will last, but winning week after week speaks for itself. I’m rooting for him, despite the fact I think he’ll be out of the league for good in 2 years unless he agrees to play a different position or as a ‘change of pace’ quarterback backing up another quarterback.

  4. Jonathan Martin December 10, 2011 at 6:40 am #

    I have to address the straw-man in Klosterman`s article, which is the idea that a stable univers necessitates the absence of God. This is true, but not in the way the author presents it. Stability is unscientifique since we know that everything tends to dissorder. God is the ultimate stabilizer since only He can use the laws of science in a way that creates stability instead of destroying it. Maybe the courrage of Christians like Tebow comes from faith that because of God, the univers is stable. I don`t have to live in fear of the destruction that threatens me at every turn. At the same time, I don`t have to live in fear of arbitrary Deities because God is a God of law and order. Its like my computer. I believe it was intelligently designed. But because of continuing viruses, I need continual updates on my operating system that come from the same people who designed the operating system. Without these updates, my computer will likely crash. In the same way, if it wasn`t for God holding things in stability, we would have been destroyed by this hostile univers a long time ago. The straw man is saying that believing this amounts to believing that the univers is held together by fairies. I don`t believe my computer operates by fairies….

  5. Mike Gantt December 10, 2011 at 9:28 am #

    You said, “Tebow’s real moment to shine and to confound his critics will probably come when the victories end.”

    Well said.

    Until then, however, it is a joy to see someone praise Christ in the public square.

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