Thought experiment time. Let’s suppose you’re a very popular deity. Something in the neighborhood of two billion people look at you as their guy (or girl, if you have a vagina whilst conducting this thought experiment). Years ago you sent your son to Earth to die for the sins of the world, thus saving humanity by opening the gates of heaven. Now I’m not sure why you, as an all powerful deity, couldn’t just clap your hands (or deity-equivalent appendages) and say, “Boom. Y’all saved,” but that’s beside the point. Once your son died and rose again and all that, you made sure everyone knew that your plan was for him to come back to Earth at some future time and that his coming would bring your kingdom. So if you were going to do this - send Jesus back to Earth to usher in your kingdom - how would you do it? What type of person would you send?
The answer is obvious. For visibility’s sake you would send a politician, a musician, an actor, or an athlete. There is no fifth choice, though magician who performs actual magic did cross my mind as well. So don’t feel bad about that. Unfortunately the world of politics would make it impossible for someone of pure “goodness” to find any success. The job simply won’t allow it. Duplicity is the name of the game. We all know Christian music is immediately marginalized, so musician is out. And acting? Surviving in the sinful cesspool that is Hollywood? You jest! The obvious answer is that he would come back an athlete. And not just an athlete, but he would come back as an athlete that plays the most visible, leader-identifying position in the most popular sport in God’s favorite country. He would be a quarterback in the National Football League. The league caters to the heavily Christian middle of our nation, but has enough universal appeal that his message would get everywhere. Jesus would be a Christerback.
So now that we all agree that Jesus would undoubtedly come back as a quarterback in the NFL (I know what you’re thinking, and you’re totally right. My logic is impossible to dispute.), the next question is, how would you (as that totally awesome deity) best position your returned son-slash-quarterback to deliver your message? Well first, he’d obviously have to be extremely devout. And not in that faux-devout, “tweet about God blessing us every morning, while lying in bed next to a different groupie every day” sort of way that athletes are sometimes known for. No. This would have to be different. He’d have to be good looking, and yet adamantly virginal. Someone who can pray both publicly and loudly, but be successful enough on the field that people have to hear what he has to say. Hmmm that sounds familiar.
So you have your devout quarterback. Great! You are well on your way to having your own real-live second coming. You are really great at this being a God thing. I haven’t heard of one tragic hurricane or war breaking out on any of your watches yet, and that cannot be applauded enough. Anyway, the problem with your devout quarterback is that despite his success on the field, his praying and uber-Christian rhetoric will still put people off. So how do you bring those people along? Maybe you make your quarterback terrible at all the things that traditionally make a quarterback good, but allow him to find ways to win. At first it will be treated as a joke. “Can you believe this guy won that game? He’s terrible!” But if he keeps doing it… If he keeps winning every close game, week after week, then slowly but surely people will come around. Right? If every week your Christerback was faced with long odds that should be impossible to overcome with his talent level, but each time he found a way to overcome them, how would the media begin to spin it? Wouldn’t they start to call these events miracles?
So now your Christerback is performing miracles in your name on weekly basis. The media is becoming obsessed with him. The phrase “Cult of (your Christerback’s name here)” is becoming widely used. Today we would phrase this by saying “his bandwagon of supporters keeps getting bigger,” but they used to have a different expression for that. They called it “conversion.” And if this keeps happening. If he keeps winning, and maybe even wins the whole damn thing, suddenly your returned to Earth son is one of the most popular athletes in the world. Isn’t he in the best position a potentially returned Jesus could be in? Haven’t you, in all your Godly wisdom, made the second coming successful in a world whose collective cynicism would make such a thing seem impossible?
Now I’m not saying that Tim Tebow is Jesus Christ. In fact, I’m not totally ruling out the very good possibility that he’s actually the anti-Christ. After all, by definition the anti-Christ would have to seem like the second coming of the Christ-Christ. (That potential confusion between the two is in fact the greatest trick the devil ever played. The second greatest? Justin Bieber.) But the point of all this is to say that he’s probably one or the other. That’s just basic Occam’s Razor logic right there. There’s no way that whatever the hell is going on in Denver right now is happening without some supernatural help. So we should all keep our heads up and watch Bronco games with a close eye. There’s a supernatural war being fought, and it’s being played on the gridiron…
Or you know maybe there’s no God, and Denver’s winning because Von Miller is a beast on defense and opposing teams have not been able to scheme for the unconventional offense the team’s been running. I guess it could be that too.
tl;dr I will not sum it up for you. Stop being an asshole and read from time to time.
JP Moore fervently believes everything he wrote here, and he knows what he’s talking about. He went to Catholic School.
- North Dakota police have begun clearing out Standing Rock protester camps at the Dakota Access Pipeline site.
- Seven Earth-sized planets that could have water and possibly sustain life have been discovered orbiting a dwarf star, NASA announced today.