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posted: 11/2/2013 4:40 AM

More animosity than simple unbelief

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Mr. Utchen, in his Oct. 24 letter -- "Athletes, keep God out of the game" -- wishes to discourage athletes from throwing up their arms in celebration, praising God, he argues, at achieving a touchdown, home run or other game appropriate success.

He writes, "I think we must take action to stop this practice by athletes in athletic contests, and we must encourage those athletes to credit themselves for their success, and keep God out of the game."

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Really? We must take action? My heavens, should we, perhaps, erect full-size mirrors at each end zone so athletes can narcissistically bask in their own glory?

A Christian athlete is behaving appropriately by such celebration. "And give thanks for everything to God the father in the name of our lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 5:20). That doesn't imply that God favors one team over the other as Mr. Utchen asserts. Christians know that their natural abilities are a gift from God, so, it is appropriate to thank God when these skills are used well.

I observe that it is one thing to not believe in God, but another thing to be obsessed by it. I don't believe in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, for example, but I don't feel any pressing need to expend the Herald's ink to try to eradicate these concepts from society. Working to expunge what one doesn't believe to exist in the first place is a contradiction of behavior, sort of like a double negative, and suggests an actual belief rather than unbelief.

I contemplate that to assail such public displays of Christian faith implies animosity, perhaps, more than it does simply unbelief, and so, I do wonder, "What is the point of Mr. Utchen's writing?" while simultaneously I adamantly support his right to write.

Brian Van Dine

Carol Stream

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