Charging blasphemy, which is "the crime of assuming to oneself the rights or qualities of God," is no small accusation. Yet, it's exactly the charge being thrown at Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.
Tebow, an unabashed evangelical Christian, has made his faith known for years. Thus, it was no surprise that, with his recent NFL challenges in mind (he's been named the backup for Kyle Orton), the 24-year-old told Denver Post columnist Woody Paige the following: "I'm relying as always on my faith." This statement, in itself, shows that the famed football player believes strongly in his faith.
But, it was this very comment that sent CBS News' Gregg Doyel into a tizzy. In a piece published earlier this month, Doyel targeted Tebow's aforementioned stance on faith and tied it to unrealistic expectations he believes the young player has. Doyel writes:
He has gone through life believing -- knowing -- that God's plan for him involves the spectacular, not the mundane. It's kind of like reincarnation: People who believe in that sort of thing tend to think they were someone famous in a previous life. I've never heard anyone say that, in another life, they shoveled out stables for a small farm in Kansas.
He went on to quip, "He'll make it in this league -- for the Bible tells him so." While this seems like negative commentary on Christianity, Doyel says it's something very different. In his article, he explains that he's not against religion, nor is he against Tebow's belief system. He even admits to, himself, being a churchgoer and an admitted sinner.
In the end, Doyel claims that although Tebow is "nice," his comments about the role of faith in his life aren't realistic. He writes:
But his faith baffles me, or at least the way he expresses his faith, because it never allows for personal failure -- and that's not the world we live in...Tebow has basically said, and I'm paraphrasing here, "I'll be a starter in this league because God loves me that much."
...what if God's mysterious plan for Tebow is to watch from the sideline? God doesn't plan for every Christian quarterback to be a starter, and as far as I know, He doesn't play favorites. Not even for Tim Tebow.
Doyel concluded his piece by calling Tebow out for "blasphemy." As a result of his negative views on Tebow, the sports reporter has received an influx of hate mail. So much so that on Monday, he Tweeted the following:
A long list of negative responses to Doyel's commentary can be found here. While not all of the messages would be considered "hate," many (as highlighted in the above Tweet) have been less than favorable to the writer. The USA Today highlights just two of these exchanges:
A reader named Chance Jones wrote he found Doyel's article "extremely offensive," that he forwarded his objections to CBS Sports and that he would no longer be a customer. "You'll be back. When you're finished burning books," responded Doyel.
Another reader named Heather B. wrote the "ignorant" Doyel is "going to hell."
Pretty strong responses, right? At the end of the day, the debate here is over whether Tebow has a realistic outlook on the role of faith in his life or whether he simply expects God to bestow upon him any and everything he'd like.
Below, watch for more about Tebow's current NFL troubles:
Considering that the entire firestorm was set off by Tebow's words -- "I'm relying as always on my faith" -- it might be better for individuals who are curious about this matter to speak with him before coming to a definitive conclusion. At the end of the day, faith is personal and Tebow may (or may not) have information that puts his views into a more digestible context.