From his column in the New York Times today:
Jeremy Lin is anomalous in all sorts of ways…. But we shouldn’t neglect the biggest anomaly. He’s a religious person in professional sports.
Manhattan offers worship services at all hours of the day, with some places bearing witness to the Good News till 4 a.m.—not to mention all those millions of nonbelievers walking around to convert—and a young player with a healthy thirst for Christianity could really have himself some fun here,” said Jets coach Rex Ryan, adding that the sheer number of churches in New York means Tebow could tithe himself into bankruptcy if he’s not careful.
Esquire: I think so. Does that mean you’re a religious or spiritual man?
William H. Macy: No, no, I’m not. I’m not religious. It’s an issue now, ‘cause I’ve got two little kids, and I feel you can’t grow up without knowledge of religion. There was something in National Geographic about the number of phrases we use every day that come from the King James Bible. It’s really had a huge effect on us. It’s right up there with Shakespeare.
ESQ: I’m Jewish, so I really only know the Old Testament, but I remember reading the Book of Job in a college course, and it’s a completely secular sort of reading.
WHM: It’s our culture. It’s the foundation of our culture. So anyway, I try to be a good guy. I try to tell the truth, but I’m not religious.
Tebow has come to expose something weirdly profound in our culture. This is America, circa 2012: 43 percent of the people who know about Tebow believe divine intervention is a factor in his success. African Americans (60 percent) and Latinos (81 percent) believe God’s hand is reaching down to create more perfect spirals for #15.
If all the official stories of monotheism, from Moses to Mormonism, were to be utterly and finally discredited, we would be exactly where we are now. All the agonizing questions that we face, from the idea of the good life and our duties to each other to the concept of justice and the enigma of existence itself, would be just as difficult and also just as fascinating.
The key here, to me, is that being nonreligious isn’t an end in itself. For doing so doesn’t answer anything; it just means you’ve got to work harder than ever. Hitchens did that where much of the snarky commentariat hasn’t (yet, perhaps).
Here is conclusive proof that the founder of Scientology lied about his military record and lied about his injuries and lied about the fundamental principles out of which he created the Church of Scientology.
Religion is the vision of something which stands beyond, behind, and within, the passing flux of immediate things; something which is real, and yet waiting to be realized; something which is a remote possibility, and yet the greatest of present facts; something which gives meaning to all that passes, and yet eludes apprehension; something whose possession is the final good, and yet is beyond all reach; something which is the ultimate ideal, and the hopeless quest.
Alfred North Whitehead, “Religion and Science” (The Atlantic, August 1925)
For use if you want a deep non-deity-based religion quote. If you’re really good, you could memorize it.