Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 1/31/13

This coming Sunday a new NFL champion will be crowned, and it will be either the Baltimore Ravens or the San Francisco 49ers. And, if you are one of more than a quarter of Americans, you believe that God will actively decide the winner of the game. According to a recent survey by the Public Religion Research Institute, 27 percent of Americans believe that God “plays a role in determining which team wins a sporting event.” However, the numbers get even more specific than that. About 40 percent of minority Christians and white evangelical Protestants believe God determines outcomes, while only 19 percent of mainline Protestants do. 36 percent of Americans living in the South agree that God plays a role in sports. However, in perhaps a twist of expectations, 28 percent of Democrats agree, while only 25 percent of Republicans think that God plays a role. But in addition to God’s overall role in the outcome of games, a majority of all Americans — 53 percent — believe “God rewards athletes who have faith with good health and success.” So, that ought to work out well for Ray Lewis this Sunday.

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