Brian Phillips wrote, Tim Tebow, Converter of the Passes, a commentary on the often inconsistent connection between faith and sports. Tebow, because he actually tries to live what he believes, seems to make a great story for those who love him and hate him. Phillips acknowledges, however, that those who want Tebow to fail because he is an evangelical Christian prove a point they don’t really want to make.
The problem is that if you’re rooting against Tebow because he’s religious, you’re giving way to the trial-by-combat impulse. And the whole idea of the trial by combat is that there’s a higher power adjudicating the combat.
An atheist refuses to acknowledge that. He can’t root against someone else in hopes that God would look bad since that implies there is a God who could look bad. That means, though, to be consistent, he can’t claim any real reason to root against anyone.
For the sake of argument, let’s say that the universe is radically meaningless. If that’s the case, then when Tebow wins, it’s a fluke that doesn’t prove anything. When he loses, it’s also a fluke that doesn’t prove anything. For his losing to mean anything, it has to tie into some larger cosmic order, and if it does, then it can’t prove that there isn’t one.
Then Phillips’ final warning:
[I]f you’re against Tebow, you can’t read too much into Tebow’s failures, or else Tebow has already won.
He may not have won, but at least the discussion points out how hard it is for unbelievers to argue with consistency.