Jeff Pearlman

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I’m going to the Super Bowl! God is great! Yay!

“Pass the Gatorade, bud …”

I don’t know if Ray Lewis is a murderer, and I don’t particularly care. I don’t know if he’s a PED abuser, and I don’t particularly care, either.

I’m just incredibly sick of his evocations of God’s greatness.

I don’t know God. I’ve never met God. I’ll venture a guess and say there probably is no God. However, if He does, by some chance, exist, I’m presuming he doesn’t give two shits about the Baltimore Ravens.

“Oh, how can you say that?” believers cry. “God cares about everyone and everything.”

How do you know that?

“I know God.”

How do you know God?

“I was raised with God.”

He lived in your house?

“No, church.”


In the world, as we speak, there are 21 listed religions. They are:

1. Christianity—2.1 billion followers
2. Islam—1.3 billion followers
3. Secular/Irreligious/Agnostic/Atheist—1.1 billion followers
4. Hinduism—900 million followers
5. Chinese traditional religion—394 million followers
6. Buddhism—376 million followers
7. Primal indigenous—300 million followers
8. African traditional and diasporic—100 million followers
9. Sikhism—23 million followers
10. Juche—19 million followers
11. Spiritism—15 million followers
12. Judaism—14 million followers
13. Bahá’í Faith—7 million followers
14. Jainism—4.2 million followers
15. Shinto—4 million followers
16. Cao Dai—4 million followers
17. Zoroastrianism—2.6 million followers
18. Tenrikyo—2 million followers
19. Neopaganism—1 million followers
20. Unitarian Universalism—800,000 followers
21. Rastafari movement—600,000 followers

So for Ray Lewis to be spot-on here, we have to accept that:

A. The 2.1 billion followers of Christianity (and Jesus Christ) are correct, and the other approximately 4 billion are off.

B. Not only was God the father of Jesus Christ, but God has the ability to hear everyone at the same time, help everyone at the same time.

C. God, the father of Jesus Christ and hearer of all, cares enough about the Baltimore Ravens to help them reach the Super Bowl.

D. While caring about the Ravens reaching the Super Bowl, God somehow, eh, forgot to keep a crazy shooter out of Sandy Hook Elementary; forgot to keep a piece of the Challenger space shuttle warm; forgot to tell Abe Lincoln not to go to the theatre; forgot to strike down Adolph Hitler as a boy; forgot to wipe out the plague.

Well, I’m calling bullshit. Every time I hear Ray Lewis bellowing “Jesus! Praise Jesus! Jesus is great!” I think, “This is not a smart man.” The smart man can believe in God, but he also—I think—looks outward and sees the larger picture. Yes, maybe Sandy Hook and the Holocaust and 9.11 and a million other tragedies happened as part of God’s plan. Or, perhaps, God simply believes in free will; and that—as Forrest Gump suggested (then rejected)—we all might be floating around on our own, like feathers in the wind. Maybe God loves Ray Lewis, maybe he hates Ray Lewis, maybe he doesn’t give 2 1/2 shits about Ray Lewis.


  • Probably missing your point here, but why would the fact that he is spewing religion matter to you? More than the issue that he may or may not be a murderer? If someone finds a way to guide themselves through life in a way that doesn’t include stabbing people, isn’t that a good thing? And why does your vitriolic critism of religion always use christianity as the evil example of note? A few years back you mentioned you’d be glad if your daughter married a muslim, as though somehow they’re more tolerant. I’m missing something here.

    • Jeff Pearlman

      The evil done in the name of Christianity in this world staggers the mind. And Muslim would be more fun. :)

      • The Pride of Curry

        I would venture to say that almost as much evil has been done in the name of Islam. That’s broad-brush painting, and you’re better than that.

  • GB

    One thing that never gets pointed out about Ray’s new found love for God is that he’s violated many of the 10 commandments that both Christianity and Judiasm hold true.

    Shall not Murder
    Shall not bear false witness
    Commit adultery

  • Clive Wolfowitz

    Did you ever see Aaron Sorkin’s show Studio 60? It made a few points early on about the absurdity and dangers of Christianity and then very quickly made that a huge focus of the show, to the point that it became counterproductive and also quite offensive to Christians. A similar pattern has appeared on this blog.

    • Jeff Pearlman

      wait. that doesn’t sound like a compliment.

  • Jeff

    The man came from a single parent household & modest means to become a wildly successful millionaire athlete. His career was also granted a reprieve that has him headed to the Hall of Fame instead of rotting in prison. Is it really that hard to fathom that the man might consider himself blessed? Had he spent the past 37 years pondering his existence at a Starbucks instead of lifting weights, running and hitting guys, he might have a different view of the universe.

  • @toomuchjeff

    Jeff Pearlman you are one funny funny man. I think I have a new blog to read daily. Thanks!

  • Sam Morse

    I am not a firm believer in religion, but I am going to step in and tell you that everything you say is annoying! Why on earth do you spend your time writing these blog posts about things that you pretend not to care about? If Ray Lewis wants to thank God, so be it! You say that you assume God does not exist yet you question why he does not stop terrible things from happening in the world, as if it is up to him. Do you expect people to abandon all faith because bad things happen? I think religion is a nice thing however when used to manipulate it can be extremely destructive and divisive. The way that Ray Lewis is evoking God and religion is the way that I believe it was meant to be used. Believing in a great power that somehow helps you along the path of life because for some divine and unknown reason, you were born to succeed.

  • Bobby Fetter

    How can Ray Lewis claim redemption when he has never owned up to his wrong doing? He needs to either confess to the murder or turn in the real murderers to achieve salvation and then he will be redeemed. Writing checks to the victim’s family and wearing a t-shirt with a bible verse under your uniform is NOT enough. Then, maybe actually marring one of his 4 “baby-mamas” will get him on a righteous patch. But, ESPN will pay him seven figures to be yet another “commentator” who just LOVES to talk about himself.

Showtime Book
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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life