Nearly 3-in-10 Americans Say God Plays a Role in Outcomes of Sports Events

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Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they are very (44%) or somewhat (22%) likely to watch the Super Bowl game this year. There are few divisions on this question by religious affiliation, age, or political affiliation; however, there are significant differences by race and gender.
Professional football is, by far, Americans’ most-watched or followed sport: nearly half (48%) of Americans who watch college or professional sports at least a few times a year say professional football is the sport they follow most closely, while around 1-in-10 say the same of college football (12%) or professional basketball (11%). Less than 1-in-10 report that they follow major league baseball (7%) or college basketball (6%) most closely.

Most Americans (55%) say that football has replaced baseball as America’s national sport, while more than one-third (36%) disagree.

God on the Field

Americans are less likely to believe that God plays a role in the outcome of sporting events than they are to believe God rewards religious athletes. While only about 3-in-10 (27%) Americans, believe that God plays a role in determining which team wins a sporting event, a majority (53%) believe that God rewards athletes who have faith with good health and success, compared to 42% who disagree. There are substantial differences by religious affiliation on all of these questions.

Majorities of all religious groups disagree that God plays a role in determining which team wins a sporting event, but there are differences in intensity. Roughly 4-in-10 minority Christians (40%) and white evangelical Protestants (38%) agree that God does play a role in the outcome of a sporting event, compared to less than 3-in-10 (29%) Catholics, less than 1-in-5 (19%) white mainline Protestants, and approximately 1-in-10 (12%) religiously unaffiliated Americans.
Written By: Public Religion Research Institute
continue to source article at publicreligion.org

19 COMMENTS

  1. Jerry Coyne at WEIT did a post on this story as well. How can anyone possibly consider a god who is more concerned with sports than say, childhood cancers, a being worthy of veneration?
    Another example of why atheism is morally superior to all forms of theism.

  2. Of course the super being that created the cosmos and inflicted disease and suffering on his favourite primate is bound to be interested in the outcome of a ball game!!!!!!!!!

    Another example of the moral turpitude of dOG and the infinite stupidity of his believers

  3. Right down the bottom of the report:

    “More than three-quarters (76%) of Americans agree that public high schools should be allowed to sponsor prayer before football games. There are few differences by race, region, gender, or age”.

    Ummm, but who’s god? I rather suspect that if that question was put straight after, though the answer will come straight back “Jesus”, it might leave a question mark in some heads.

  4. I wonder if someone looking to do a thesis might want to do a survey of the UK or US Olympic/Paralympic teams and check religiousity/prayer against performance?

    I think I know the answer but it would be also interesting to see if there would be a difference between nations.

  5. Well, the jealous god of the desert certainly isn’t a 49ers fan… :-(

    Seriously though, I wonder if those same cretins who believe in Divine Intervention in sports events believe that their imaginary friend would grow back the limbs of the ultra-religious star quarterback if he had a vehicle accident two days before the Super Bowl and had to have them amputated?

    It would be easy to say “Stupid Americans, Stupid Christians” – but this kind of thinking is everywhere and in every religion – it’s just that it gets researched/reported more in the States…

  6. Why, then aren’t the coin tosses skewed towards the home team? Shouldn’t probability be affected ny the prayers and desires of the fans?

    Couldn’t we easily test this and set up experiments and statistics to…… Oh, never mind, if you believe god controls a silly sporting event, you won’t understand a controlled experiment, statistics, or the role that either plays in our understanding of the universe.

  7. Dear RDFr’s. We should’nt be surprised at this ratio ;) American families watching live NFL games were once constantly exposed to an evangelical group’s, “John 3:16″. A clever, banner meme – deviously positioned high up in the stands – right between the uprights, in front of the ‘kicker’.

  8. If you look at the board of directors of the research institute it is full of Rabbi’s, Professor of Biblical Interpretation, reverend etc. hence it is no surprise that the questions are skewed in favor of religion, instead of using a more neutral tone.

  9. In reply to #11 by crookedshoes:

    Couldn’t we easily test this and set up experiments and statistics to…… Oh, never mind, if you believe god controls a silly sporting event, you won’t understand a controlled experiment, statistics, or the role that either plays in our understanding of the universe.

    Are you forgetting that many sports fans are not the brightest, or that team followings are quasi-religious?
    They have their prophets predicting results, their cheer-leading “choirs”, “cathedral stadia”, and their happy-clappy crowds of followers! Like YECs with science, the dumbest fan KNOWS far more about the game than the referee or the coaching staff! (allegedly)

  10. Alan4,
    Makes me wanna go out and buy a 49ers jersey! Put me in coach!! (It is) A vapid wasteland.

    In reply to #14 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #11 by crookedshoes:

    Couldn’t we easily test this and set up experiments and statistics to…… Oh, never mind, if you believe god controls a silly sporting event, you won’t understand a controlled experiment, statistics, or the role that either plays in our understanding of the universe.

    Are you forgetting that many sports fans are not the brightest, or that team followings are quasi-religious?
    They have their prophets predicting results, their cheer-leading “choirs”, “cathedral stadia”, and their happy-clappy crowds of followers! Like YECs with science, the dumbest fan KNOWS far more about the game than the referee or the coaching staff! (allegedly)

  11. The handicappisum or prejudice against people with disabilities is again put in high relief. God only loves successful football players and if you can’t play football god much hate you or at least feel he created a disappointment. After indiginious people, religion dumps on people with disabilities unless they can play a role in fundraising or used to get to heaven by the able bodied.

  12. Religion is the adult dormer-dummy. They suck it for comfort.

    That said, a former pupil of mine believed that by praying the night before an exam, god would make him pass.

    I told him that was cheating. And also lazy.

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