Thursday, January 31, 2013

Nearly 30% of 'mericans Believe God Rigs the Big Game

Just days before Super Bowl XLVII, a poll conducted by the  Public Religion Research Institute reports that 27% of all Americans believe that God plays a role in determining which team wins sporting events. A much greater number, over 50%, believe that God rewards athletes of faith with good health and success.  

The article goes on to give statistics based on race, religious affiliation, geographic locale and political party. One interesting contrast to note: More Democrats believe that God determines the outcome of a game, while more Republicans believe that God rewards an athlete's faith.

The report finally looks at how Americans feel about athletes who overtly share their faith. Here's an excerpt followed by a graphic of how the numbers break down.
“In an era where professional sports are driven by dollars and statistics, significant numbers of Americans see a divine hand at play,” said Dr. Robert P. Jones, PRRI CEO. “Roughly 3-in-10 Americans believe that God plays a role in determining which team wins, and a majority believe that God rewards faithful athletes.”

Americans in the South are most likely to think God has a stake in the outcome of sports games. More than one-third (36 percent) of Southerners say that God plays a role in who wins, compared to nearly 3-in-10 (28 percent) Americans in the Midwest, 1-in-5 (20 percent) of Americans in the Northeast, and 15 percent of Westerners.

Religious groups also disagree on whether God has a stake in the outcome of sports games, the survey finds. Roughly 4-in-10 minority Christians (40 percent) and white evangelical Protestants (38 percent) say that God plays a role in who wins, compared to fewer than 3-in-10 Catholics (29 percent), fewer than 1-in-5 (19 percent) white mainline Protestants, and approximately 1-in-10 (12 percent) religiously unaffiliated Americans."
What about you? Do you think God influences major sporting events? How would you have responded to these questions, and why?

Read the entire article here: God on the Field


  1. "Southerners think God influences the outcome of games." - That's probably true because it's one of the only things we southerners think about.

    I don't understand the concept of God rewarding athletes with success because of their faith. What qualifies as success? Simply being a professional athlete means they have had incredible success.

    Also, there's the issue of comparing an individual's success versus the team. A guy might be a strong Christian and his team wins the Super Bowl but he barely sees the field and then gets cut in the offseason - where does that fall under the category of success?

  2. Good point that being a pro athlete is already a huge success. The least successful pro athletes are still some of the best in the world.

    As you suggested, I think one answer to this question is in our definition of success. Our idea of success and God's may be very different. A business man may be called to people in middle management, rather than the board of directors. A football player may be called to reach someone else riding the bench rather than the starting lineup. The only measure of success in the Kingdom is faithfulness, wherever you are.