Religion Dispatches: Is sport religion or is religion sport?

Jay Michaelson writes on RD, "Does God Want Jeremy Lin to Win?" And in the op-ed he ponders some questions about the religious sports figure of the hour.
If you’ve unplugged your computer and TV for the last week, you may not have heard of Jeremy Lin, the sudden basketball phenomenon, Asian-American hero, and, like Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow before him, out-of-nowhere success story who wears his faith on his sleeve.

Lin, like Tebow, is a deeply religious evangelical Christian. And while his own religious utterances have been both humble and thoughtful (Lin went to Harvard, after all), the press swirling around him has led to a spate of bad theology—which is a shame, because sports stories have the ability to capture the public imagination and have the potential to inspire us to reflect on truly important religious values, instead of truly awful ones.

The awful values, of course, have to do with theodicy: that God picks sides, and roots for one sports team over another. In the case of athletics, this belief is both ridiculous and widespread...
Okay let's just stop right there.

We think Michaelson misuses the term theodicy. But more difficult, he thinks that God does not "pick sides" or "root for one team over another."

Wait, stop. It is a belief at the core of Judaism, Christianity and Islam that God does "pick sides" and "root for one team over another."

End of critique.

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