Arian Foster opens up about not believing in God

AP

Texans running back Arian Foster has revealed something about himself that puts him far outside the mainstream in the National Football League: He doesn’t believe in God.

Foster has begun working with a nonprofit group called Openly Secular to spread his lack of belief, and in a lengthy interview with ESPN Magazine, Foster questions why religion and football seem so intertwined in the minds of so many players.

“If there is a God and he’s watching football, there are so many other things he could be doing,” Foster said. “There are hungry children and diseases and famine and so much important stuff going on in the world, and he’s really blessed your team? It’s just weird to me.”

Although the Pew Research Center recently reported that more than 55 million Americans classify themselves as atheist, agnostic or no particular religion, Foster said that being non-religious is so rare in the NFL that other players often ask if he worships Satan.

“I get the devil-worship thing a lot. They’ll ask me, ‘You worship the devil?'” Foster said. “‘No, bro, I don’t believe there’s a God, why would I believe there’s a devil?’ There’s a lot of ignorance about non-belief. I don’t mean a negative connotation of ignorance. I just mean a lack of understanding, a lack of knowledge, lack of exposure to people like me.”

Foster suspects that there are atheists in the NFL who don’t want to openly describe themselves as such because they worry it would affect their earning potential.

“You don’t want to ruin endorsements,” Foster said. “People might say, ‘I don’t want an atheist representing my team.’ Now, though, I’m established in this league, and as I’m digging deeper into myself and my truth, just being me is more important than being sexy to Pepsi or whoever. After a while, what’s an extra dollar compared to the freedom of being you? That’s the choice I made.”

Foster said he respects the beliefs of others and hopes others extend him the same courtesy.

“I have no ill will toward religion or religious people. I have no quarrels,” Foster said. “Believe what you 
want to believe.”

123 responses to “Arian Foster opens up about not believing in God

  1. If there is a god… why do children get raped?

    Does god not care? Does he want it to happen? Or is he powerless to stop it?

  2. Is it seriously that rare to have grown out of believing in gods, the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus? I mean you all realise that these are made up don’t you?

  3. Boy, now I’m really impressed with Arian Foster. Finally, an NFL player who actually thinks and what it all means and has come to rational conclusions. Heal up, Arian, looking forward to seeing you play even more now that you’ve shown us what you really think. How refreshing to get a non-PC statement of belief (or in this case non-belief) from an NFL star.

  4. Good luck with this non-belief when it’s time to burn in hell for all eternity..

  5. The same feeling me and anyother atheist has. I mean 10 religions in this world and everyone thinks there’s is so special. The Roman Catholic church didn’t apologize for killing capurnicas for like 500 years and the only thing he did wrong was say the earth is round and use science to prove it

  6. Atheism makes no sense to me. It seems incredibly arrogant to say you know for sure the truth behind life. I don’t know if I believe in a higher being, but I also don’t pretend to know either way.

  7. Oh Lord, I loathe the media… This was NOT what the Founding Fathers intended with the First Amendment.

  8. “If there is a God and he’s watching football, there are so many other things he could be doing,”

    So maybe there is a god, but he/she is bad at multi-tasking? I think I’m going with that position…

  9. I never understood the idea of creating a group to spread the word that you don’t believe in something.

    Last I checked, there weren’t a ton of groups out there making sure we all knew that the members didn’t believe in Santa or the Tooth Fairy – why does a lack of belief in God elicit such dedication to making sure others know you don’t believe?

    I understand the opposite of that – I may REALLY believe in X and want other’s to know but I don’t believe in something – why put effort towards it?

  10. Well God sure didn’t make his injury prone body. Must be natural selection, survival of the fittest when that new cheaper, healthy running back comes in and takes his job.

  11. Wow. How refreshing to hear an athlete say what’s really on his mind and in his heart, instead of spouting the same old tired PC lines. +1

  12. You get the same pushback, outrage, and anger from religious people if you say you don’t believe in God as you will get from a five year old if you tell them there’s no Santa Claus.

    In both cases, they insist on convincing you they are right and you are wrong to be a non-believer.

  13. reeser80 says:
    Aug 6, 2015 6:35 PM
    If there is a god… why do children get raped?

    Does god not care? Does he want it to happen? Or is he powerless to stop it?
    ———-

    Human beings have what is called free will, including that to believe in God. Don’t be silly with this type of questioning.

  14. teal379 says:
    Aug 6, 2015 6:44 PM

    I never understood the idea of creating a group to spread the word that you don’t believe in something.

    Last I checked, there weren’t a ton of groups out there making sure we all knew that the members didn’t believe in Santa or the Tooth Fairy – why does a lack of belief in God elicit such dedication to making sure others know you don’t believe?

    I understand the opposite of that – I may REALLY believe in X and want other’s to know but I don’t believe in something – why put effort towards it?
    ————————-
    Because discrimination works two ways. You just heard the man say his fellow ballers think he worships satan. You can’t even say happy holidays, without people crying out there is a War on Christmas. You have many different religions in America and they are not all openly excepted. Before JFK Catholics were looked down upon in the South. Basically here is Openly Secular’s mission statement:

    Secular people – including atheists, freethinkers, agnostics, humanists and nonreligious people – are everywhere. They are your friends, your neighbors, your coworkers – even your loved ones. But they often can’t be open about who they are.

    Openly Secular is changing that. Our toolkits, resources, and videos help break down barriers and help secular people live full, honest, and open lives. Tell Your Story. Speak Your Truth. Together we can eliminate discrimination and increase acceptance.

  15. I hate these arguments. What people don’t understand is that both sides of this argument are annoying. People who quote the bible and say “youll burn in hell” are annoying, and people who always say science this and prove it that are annoying. You guys have alot more in common than you think.

  16. I believe in God and His grace. Hope Foster has believers around him that will share the Gospel. I will pray for him and all nonbelievers.

  17. It shouldn’t be a news story. People speaking their mind about God knows what is nothing new.

    Also, it seems rather odd to have an organization whose goal is to spread the word of not believing to the masses. I bet some of those same people would be quick to ridicule religions for spreading the word of belief.

  18. Does God bless football teams over starving children? I think he is missing the point.

  19. I personally believe in God, but I am not like some who feel the need to push someone to share the same beliefs as you. Either way foster is taking the right approach to it when he says there’s no ill will towards religious people, or in a religious person point of view towards a person like foster who isn’t religious, that’s something we all can learn from

  20. If there is a god… why do children get raped?

    Our existence here is for a multitude of purposes, as is His will.

    None of these includes God solving all of mankinds problems.

    What are YOU doing about child rape, might be more in tune with purpose. If you believe it to be terrible, have you contacted your representatives to urge stricter laws, mandatory sentences, death?

    See how this works?

  21. Good for him. There is no god and all religions are a false sense of security and belonging. It’s just another way to control the masses.

  22. macdaddyspeed says:
    Aug 6, 2015 7:10 PM

    I think it would be cool to have a beer with Arian.

    I believe in God. I also believe in beer.

  23. asimonetti88 says:
    Aug 6, 2015 6:42 PM

    Atheism makes no sense to me. It seems incredibly arrogant to say you know for sure the truth behind life. I don’t know if I believe in a higher being, but I also don’t pretend to know either way.
    ———————-
    Nobody knows for sure until they die. In the meantime, there is no harm in having an opinion. Atheism and religion are both beliefs, not truth.

  24. Pats/saints guy – it’s spelled Copernicus and the Catholic Church never killed him. That was his boy Bruno.

  25. I can’t imagine not believing in God. I mean how did all of this start? Crazy to think about but obviously nobody knows with 100% certainty. Having said that you have to love Arians open honesty. He has always been a straight shooter that tells you what he thinks and by all accounts his beliefs are harmless. Plus he does not seem absorbed with materialistic things. He has made way less than market value for basically his entire career.

  26. I used to get into heated conversations with people who don’t believe there’s a God. I no longer talk about Him, but if someone wants to start a conversation, then yes I will talk.

    With that said, I’m glad he was being honest. I’m actually getting sick and tired of anyone saying things like “God told me this” or “God is a (team name here) fan.” All of this is non-sense. As a person who believes in God, I believe he doesn’t care about rooting for a particular team.

    And those judgmental people who asked if he believes in satan, wow, just wow.

    I group these people with those who talk about their sexual identity/preference. If you’re gay, keep it to yourself…just like if you’re religious, keep it to yourself, unless others ask you.

  27. God’s team is the New Orleans Saints, He loves those who try to emulate him and they become Saints.

  28. He just gave Tebow and baby Jesus in Seattle a facial. He is now my favorite player in NFL. Tell it like it is to all these morons!

  29. Perhaps he should ask himself how he exist. God doesn’t control human beings nor help people who are in trouble, if they don’t believe in him, worship him and ask for help or forgiveness. God lets people do what they want, then in the end, who gets to go to heaven or hell.

  30. “Foster has begun working with a nonprofit group called Openly Secular to spread his lack of belief”

    Ok, so let me get this straight. He correctly points out that there are children going hungry and diseases and lots of other bad stuff. However, he’s spending his valuable time by not helping those people, but by spreading his views??? How about working with the less fortunate? Or working with the hungry and the poor? Say and belief what you want people, but at least Jesus was out helping people!

  31. Given how traditionalist/conservative posters’ responses to stories on PFT are, I’m actually surprised more people aren’t ripping into Foster for this.

  32. So God gives him favor and all these blessings and all he can do is complain about what’s happening in the world instead of using his wealth and influence to help fix the problems he’s speaking of. I don’t care what he believes in, that’s his business, just hope betting on himself works out for him in eternity.

  33. “If you’re so God almighty, then what’s with all this mystery? You know I’d like to trust you buddy but you’re clearly keeping secrets from me.” (Todd Snider)

  34. Isn’t it revealing how all of the “For” a God comments have more negative thumbs down votes than the “No” there is no God comments.

  35. asimonetti88 says:
    Aug 6, 2015 6:42 PM

    Atheism makes no sense to me. It seems incredibly arrogant to say you know for sure the truth behind life. I don’t know if I believe in a higher being, but I also don’t pretend to know either way.

    =======================

    Why is that exclusive to atheist? By your logic anyone who has any sort of belief about the origins of life or the existence of a higher power shouldn’t make sense to you.

    You also don’t really seem to get what atheism is… its simply the lack of belief in a higher power. Its not saying that you know for sure how the universe or life formed, but that you don’t believe it was “created” by an intelligent designer.

    In fact, religion is the only thing selling certainty. They claim to know exactly how the universe and earth were formed, and claim to know what comes after death…. something that is impossible to know. They cling to fairytales that are thousands of years old, and ignore anything that proves their beliefs wrong. Yet its atheism you don’t understand?

  36. He gained a new fan today. I believe in respect for what others believe but also can’t quite get past the spirit in the sky ,this after living my entire childhood steeped in “ole timey religion”.

  37. Why do so many of you think it is weird to spread the word of non belief? Think about all the deaths in the name of religion. Think about how many people vote a particular way (many times against their own needs) because of religion. Think about how much bigotry and self righteousness exists because of religion. Religion has held this world back from day one. If you need to be brainwashed into thinking you will burn forever in a lake of fire to be a good person then you are really not a good person.

  38. Religion was invented to protect the haves from the have nots. It is and always has been a societal control. The fact is, most of our parents brainwashed us to believe. We ignore the obvious ridiculousness of the bible because we were programmed to and because some small part of us holds out hope that there really is life after death. In reality to believe in god is to believe in magic, it is a snake oil with such great promises that a certain type can’t help but buy in.

  39. He has his right to believe or not believe, just like I do. I have no problem with him saying he does not believe as long as he respects my rights to say I do believe. What makes me mad is when people say they are tolerant and then tell you that you are wrong for having conflicting beliefs.
    Freedom of speech goes both ways.

  40. ausernamethatisavailable says:
    Aug 6, 2015 7:47 PM

    I can’t imagine not believing in God. I mean how did all of this start?
    _________________________

    Well it started with a bang….

  41. God cannot control the thoughts of man when twisted by drugs, alcohol or mental illness. As advanced as we are man can not create a sperm or an egg. Man can use them to create another human but he cannot creat it. God is not in church and he is inside of us. God handles one thing. He makes sure that new creatures are created every day although man does his best to kill them off.

    He handles the simple things people like creating life not maintaining that life. In short he helps those that help themselves. Now, is his name God? No one really knows as he was given that name by man, in story’s written thousands of years ago. But you all have to admit, regardless if you believe in him or not, it’s a pretty cool story.

  42. Supposedly … during a Detroit Lions pre-game prayer at Lambeau field, Alex Karras yelled, “God is Lombardi!”

    Karras was religious, but thought the idea of asking God for help with the violence and bloodsport that is pro football (especially in Karras’s era) struck him as being offensive.

  43. I think comedian (and sports freak) Erin Foley is the one who said she was waiting for an NFL player to score and then point down at the ground, thanking his unholy master for the touchdown.

  44. Despite world hunger and many of the other worlds serious issues, I think God is just a HUGE NFL fan. That’s why he spoke to Wilson during the Superbowl.

  45. All the religions in the world and all those religions think they are right and everyone else is wrong. Hate to tell them that not everyone can be right.

    As for the child rape, if humans have free will, why do religious people praying. If there is free will, praying is pointless. If there isn’t free will then why didn’t the higher power stop the rape?

    Props to Foster for saying this. Great message that a lot of religious people and atheists. Believe what you want just don’t push it on others and respect others. Discussion brings thought and though is severely lacking in todays world.

  46. Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. Religion is the last refuge of the patriot. How many wars have been / are being fought by those who insist my god is better than your god. Maybe it’s time to start over.

  47. For sure that I will be following his career with much interest from now on.
    And congrats for speaking your mind on such a touchy subject.

  48. Good for him. Organized religion is just a business and it’s a way to keep the sheep on the farm.

    How quickly would Mathew, Mark, Luke and John be committed to the loony bin if they wrote that gibberish today? So why is it more believable because they wrote it 2000 years ago?

  49. I am a Christian. And God gave humans the ability of free will. You or I are free to believe that God exists or does not.

    Never was the intention of the Lord to FORCE people to make that choice. You either believe he sent his son to die for ALL sin, or you believe it’s a work of fiction and has no application in your life.

    Of course, you have those that will absolutely push the volume to 11 and in turn THAT has hurt Christianity more than anything else. THOSE people are 100% not living the life that God calls us to.

    For me, I try to live the best example I can. If people ask me questions about it, I’m ready to share my story. If I see someone hurting, I talk to them. If they ask what I think, I ask them if it’s OK to share.

    America is the greatest nation BECAUSE of our freedom to believe what Arian Foster does, that there is no religion, or the 100’s of religions that do exist.

    Next time you want to be critical of it, remember that pretty much when you walk outside of our border, you could easily be thrown in jail or killed for ANY belief. Even being an atheist.

  50. His opinions were respectful and I don’t see why anyone would take exception. – A Christian

  51. Good on ya, Arian.
    Takes a strong man to willingly step up and voice such an unpopular view. He will undoubtedly take a lot of heat from his peers and the public.
    It is shocking how narrow-minded and hateful religious folks can be. To read through these comments it quickly becomes clear that MANY Christians don’t feel that Arian is entitled to his beliefs (or lack thereof) and the right to speak of his views/values.

  52. legionoboom says:
    Aug 6, 2015 7:13 PM

    If Christians are wrong what do they lose? If seculars are wrong, they have a lot to lose.

    _________________

    Ahh, good ol’ Pascal’s wager.

    Two massive problems: (1)If your belief is motivated by getting the reward, and avoiding the punishment, wouldn’t an all-knowing god realize that? (2) Among Christians, there are literally hundreds of factions. Wanna talk all of Christianity, all of Judaism, and all of Islam? Ten of thousands of sects, all of which think their particular book has the truth.

    Religion has always been a means for the powerful to control the masses. There will never be a shortage of those eager to be told what to think, and religion will always be an easy way to control them. Details don’t matter, just convince them that obedience = you probably won’t suffer eternally, and you are golden.

  53. This is so stupid. I do believe and I don’t care if others believe in God or not. But i hate atheists. I hate people who proclaim themselves atheist as if that gives them some kind of intellectual currency.

    Why? Not because they don’t believe but because they are disingenuous. They always claim, “I don’t care if people believe in God.” But they do.

    It clearly bothers them and they take every opportunity to make snarky comments to insult anybody who chooses to believe.

    Case in point, this comment section. And the fact that Foster feels the need to start a movement to essentially try to talk people out of religion.

  54. It wasn’t that long ago that Arian Foster was bowing after every touchdown and saying “Namaste” to anyone who would listen. I suppose the “god/goddess within you” is as irrelevant on 3rd and long as Arian is on the sidelines nursing his hamstring.

    “There are hungry children and diseases and famine and so much important stuff going on in the world, and he’s really blessed your team? It’s just weird to me.”

    It’s weird to me that multi-millionaires choose McMansions and exotic vacations over feeding those hungry children, too. To think that someone has been blessed with millions of dollars and then chooses to give it to an organization that helps people espouse a philosophical tradition older than most organized theistic religions rather than feed those hungry children is the height of arrogant hypocrisy. Arian Foster and Joel Osteen have a lot in common.

  55. A PhD in mathematics, Dr. Jeffrey Lang, had the same mindset of Foster on his reasoning for not believing in God, but now Dr. Lang believes in God 100%.

    Wondering why God doesn’t do something about all the suffering in the world.

    He wrote a book or two on how the answer he found made him believe in God. He gets really deep and thorough, too much for me to post here. Read his book or watch him on YouTube in a video called: Purpose of life Jeffrey Lang.

  56. As a fellow atheist, I am proud of Foster for going public. Sadly, I think this move will result in the end of his career. Bill Maher recently said that Americans would sooner elect a child molester than an atheist, and the highly conservative NFL will quickly move on from Foster. Chris Kluwe could still be a pro punter, but he’s an outspoken liberal atheist, so he’s persona-non-grata in the NFL.

  57. How is the bigger story here not that officials at Tennessee required attendance at church?

  58. Personally, I believe that there must be a God/creator of the universe because I cannot see the universe just existing on it own. (The Big Bang Theory — which almost all scientists believe — tells us that, at the beginning of time some 14 billion years ago, all matter was condensed to a single point. That point must have had infinite gravity. Only a God/creator could have caused that it to explode and form the universe.) But, I certainly don’t believe in the God described in the Bible/Quran/etc..

  59. Arian Foster is extremely well spoken for a football player. Looks like he spent some quality time with his nose in something other than the bible.

  60. While I consider myself a Christian, I like the fact that Adrian Foster doesn’t bash religion, like many atheists do (all you have to do is look through these comments.) While I personally don’t think that Mr. Foster’s beliefs or opinion is right, I can respect him, and respect it, and respect the way he presented it.

  61. I believe in God to the extent that I couldn’t conceive NOT believing in him.

    That being said, I pray for people like this guy and I am reminded of the thief on the Cross.

  62. I read an OP ED some years ago written by someone who seemed to have had the benefit of a reasonable source of knowledge/study about “Believing” or “Not believing”. The conclusion was that it is a safer bet for humans to “Believe” than not to believe. It was couched as sort of a “just in case” conclusion. Frankly, it amazes me that this young man with such talent has never enjoyed a single spiritual moment or event in his life. The operative word here may be “YOUNG”.

  63. People who say “if there’s a God, why does X happen?” make atheists look dumb. The Book of Job addresses that directly.

    Whether or not God would let you suffer, if he exists, has nothing to do with the likelihood that he exists.

  64. One more try. Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. Religion is the last refuge of the patriot (or the bigot or the terrorist or the, lots of choices here). How many wars trace back to “my god is better than your god.” Maybe it’s just time to start over.

  65. Prove to me the existence of whatever this is you worship and I’ll start going to church. Religion always has been and always will be the perfect scam…

  66. God has removed the barrier to friendship and intimacy by sending His Son, Jesus to be sin and pay the penalty that sin brings(death). Sin (no matter how today it’s trivialized and dismissed) separates mankind from God and is fatal. God has exchanged our sin for Jesus’ righteous at the cross. It’s a gift for everyone to accept or reject. Your choice. Your efforts can’t earn it, that’s why it’s a gift. You accept the gift of Jesus dying for your sin, you’re not guilty for sins past present and future as far as salvation and being cut off from God is concerned; this in no way makes you more prone to sin, but less and less as you spend time with God, talk with Him through your awakened spirit to His Holy Spirit. You in Christ are seen as righteous, then you learn to walk it out that righteousness practically.

    Arian has the right to reject God as God, but he will, as the rest of will, stand and give account of our deeds, although believers and unbelievers are judged toward different ends – the believer enters Heaven and his works are judged to gain rewards or suffer loss of rewards. The unbeliever appears another place to come face to face with the reality that God is in fact The Lord, and Jesus is His son, our savior. That information will be too late for the unbeliever to recant his choice – he is doomed. His works are judged and the result is how great his punishment will be. The unbeliever will have as he’s chosen- death, eternal existence, devoid of any good( life) cut off from God.

    Prayer (direct communication with God) is a privilege in Christ, and with it I ask God to influence through all means Arian and everyone to believe on God’s great solution to our life, Jesus Christ. Then they will be more than just a living soul (mind, will, and emotions) and body. Their spirit now dead will come alive, God will place His Holy Spirit in you as a seal and a promise. That you are not condemned and you’re sins He will remember no more.

    And for all who want God to clean up OUR sinful mess NOW – that would mean the END is now.

    But instead God is patient, wanting to give us every opportunity to repent – it is HIs will that “not one should perish.” He loves us all, even the ones that hate and presently deny Him.

    Arian will not even be able to say he didn’t know that God did exist, because God made a point through all He’s made to show His Devine existence!!

  67. Arian has just as much right to be an atheist as the posters who attempt to show him the errors of not believing in a particular God(s). I’m glad he had the courage to not just go with the flow and pretend to believe out of fear of being persecuted. He did not arrogantly bash religious people, just respectfully stated his personal beliefs.

    Freedom of speech even applies to those who disagree with you. Some people seem to forget that sometimes 🙂

  68. My new favorite player.

    That’s the single biggest thing that people with religion fail to understand about us Atheists….we are OK with you believing in God.

  69. patsxsaintsfan says:
    Aug 6, 2015 6:40 PM

    The same feeling me and anyother atheist has. I mean 10 religions in this world and everyone thinks there’s is so special. The Roman Catholic church didn’t apologize for killing capurnicas for like 500 years and the only thing he did wrong was say the earth is round and use science to prove it
    —————————–

    I like your thinking. Roger Goodell is the Pope of the NFL, and he ignores the science behind the natural deflation of footballs due to weather conditions. I guess history does repeat itself.

    By the way, they didn’t kill Copernicus.

  70. Nobody will ever prove God exists, it’s purely a belief system the same as those who believe in Karma or bad luck and jinxes.

    It’s rather arrogant to think, if God exists, that he would be blessing certain teams to win and other teams to lose in such a corrupted league full of greedy billionaires and criminal athletes. Religion is one of the oldest and easiest forms of brainwashing and manipulation. These belief systems are taught from an early age, and when football and God are intertwined (like the South), it becomes the de facto culture in the sport.

    I support Arian’s position and also am secular. The God talk should be reserved for your own personal beliefs and not brought into politics, schools. Sports will always have it cause of the injury factor, and praying to come out of battle healthy is as second nature to many of these athletes as breathing air.

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