The All-American Religion

I like to listen to the Oldies station, and the one here in Melbourne, Florida has a weekday session at 1400 (that’s 2 PM to you non-military types) they call “The Impossible Question”, where they ask a question that has an answer which is hard to know, and when someone guesses the correct answer they get a $25 gift certificate to one of the restaurant sponsors of the show.

If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.

The other day I was in the car listening to the station and the question was something along the lines of “18% of all relationships break up for this reason.”

I thought the answer would be money, how to raise the kids, abusiveness, cultural or religious differences, or something along those lines.

Would you like to know what the answer is?

(I hope so because this entire message is based on it.)

The answer is the relationship fails because one of the partners cheers for a different NFL team.

That’s right- not something as significant as money, children, addiction, mental illness or abusive treatment, but simply that I like the New York Giants and you cheer for the Greenbay Packers. Hey – pack your trash and go!

Even if we have a relationship based on mutual trust, love, and common interests, we cannot have a lasting relationship unless you are a fan of my favorite football team.

I guess that also means if I am going to start dating someone, I better do it at the end of football season so that I might have a chance at getting 7 or 8 months with this person before we have to break up.

When I thought about it, I realized that the relationships fail because of religious differences: those people follow that All-American religion called:  Professional Sports.

It is a pantheistic religion because there is not a singular deity but multiple deities we call Athletes. There are demigods called Coaches and the Priest is called an Announcer, and the temple where they worship is called ESPN.

They read their Bible every day, which is found in the newspapers under the title “Sports Section”, and they tithe monthly through their cable channel. Every February there is a pilgrimage to whichever place their god says the Super Bowl will play, and some pay thousands of dollars for choice seating at the altar, which we call a Stadium.

How many people do you know that are devotees of this religion?

I’ll bet those who pay thousands for season seating at their favorite team’s stadium, and monthly fees for sports channels, don’t spend anywhere near as much money for tithing to their church or synagogue (if they even go to one.)

Idolatry is allowing anything to come between you and the one, true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. If you have more devotion to something or someone than you do to God, that is idolatry.

I know you feel physical and emotional love for your spouse more than what you feel for God, but you know what I mean. Of course, your spouse may not be all that important to you if he or she cheers for the wrong NFL team.

I am not saying that anyone should cancel ESPN and forego any sports events from now on; I would ask that they think about their level of devotion to a bunch of guys who probably don’t even know they exist. People don’t just honor their skills, which are God-given, to begin with, but many people literally worship their favorite sports star. They hang pictures of them, want their autograph, follow their life and read everything they can about them. And when they die, they are devastated.

But do they read their Bible every day? Do they pray to God for peace or salvation for their friends? I know that if they pray at all, it is probably that God will let their team win, which, I think it is safe to say, isn’t really all that important to God.

I don’t want you to stop watching your favorite sports teams or participating in your favorite sports but think about this situation for a second: one out of every four relationships in America is ruined because of something that has nothing at all to do with the other person’s personality or compatibility. One out of every four relationships is ruined because of a difference between which sports team they prefer.

Would they break up if I like steak and she likes fish? Would we break up if I loved purple and she loved Yellow? What about if she drove slowly and I drove like the New York driver I am? Probably not, but if I am a NY fan and she is a California fan? Then our chance of having a meaningful, rewarding and lasting relationship has an 18% chance of failing, right from the get-go.

If that statistic doesn’t shake you down to the soles of your feet, then if you’ll excuse my saying so, I believe you need to sort out your priorities.

The Enemy wants us to worship him, but if he can’t get someone to worship him he is satisfied to get them to stop worshiping God through seducing them (as Balaam did) to worship something or someone else.

Think about that the next time you watch a football game.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe and share this ministry with others. I welcome your comments and look forward to the next time we get together.

Until then, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

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