While many are quite eager to poke fun at Tim Tebow — quarterback of the Denver Broncos – attributing his success in the NFL to the Christian god, philosopher Dr. William Irwin from King’s College in Pennsylvania has embarked on a different route arguing that “the idea that God intervenes in NFL games is absurd” from a philosophical perspective.
Dr. Irwin writes that if God exists, “he is, by definition, perfect, all knowing, all powerful, and all good. This means that God always will do all and only the right and best things.” If God exists and is all-loving, why would he intervene in football games and not other events? Irwin writes, “But if God is willing to intervene […] for the sake of an NFL win, surely he should do so to save lives and relieve suffering. But how many care accidents could have been avoided if only the driver had been a few more inches to the right?”
Persons might appeal to the sentiment that “God’s reasoning is beyond us,” Dr. Irwin writes, in regards to why God intervenes in football games and not to prevent, for instance, car accidents. Dr. Irwin writes, “The knife of theological skepticism cuts both ways” noting that “We can’t know whether the deaths that God didn’t prevent were really a bad thing” and “we can’t really know whether Tebow’s wins are a good thing.” The logic of theological skepticism or asserting that God’s reasoning is beyond us seems to dictate that one must be consistent in this reasoning for any case whether we believe it to be good or bad.
Some may suggest that the reason God doesn’t interfere in events such as rape, murder, and child abuse is because God granted people the ability to make choices whether they be good or bad choices and God does not want to interfere with persons free will. If “God helps Tebow win by interfering with the performance of players,” Dr. Irwin writes, this is “widely incompatible with the responses of philosophers and theologians to the problem of moral evil.”
Irwin concludes noting, “Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche argued that explaining mundane and chance occurrences with divine intervention not only reflects childish thinking (involving a logically fallacious appeal to ignorance), but it cheapens God, making him a domestic servant … a mere name for the stupidest sort of chance.”
Some, like those who have commented on Irwin’s analysis, do not believe that Tim Tebow believes that God is responsible for the success of the Denver Broncos. Perhaps Tebow is simply asking for courage, thanking God for being alive or believes that his faith is an inspiration. Irwin doesn’t believe this, but rather writes that Tebow “absolutely” believes that his wins are the result of divine intervention providing various quotes from Tebow and Tebow’s associates. Regardless of this, it seems quite evident, on Dr. Irwin’s analysis, that God is not intervening in football games.