Sport And Religion Essay

Sport And Religion Essay-54
Since the discussion of theology and sport is rather new (at least for Christian theologians), this essay aims to provide a broad overview of a theology of sport, grounded in the unfolding narrative of redemption as revealed in Scripture.But first, let us acknowledge that we are not the first to talk about faith and sports, and therefore locate ourselves within the broader conversation by surveying the history of the church’s attitude toward sports.Athletes or fans regularly invoke the name of God as an expletive of frustration in sports, but rarely think about whether God has anything to do with the game at all. The narrative of the American Dream that culminates in individual happiness offers a starkly different framework for sports than the story of God’s kingdom as told by the Jewish messiah. As a child growing up in the church, my pastor had a small rotation of canned jokes, his favorite of which went something like this: “The Bible does talk about sports, you know?

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This is often called the cultural mandate, because the command to work and keep the garden is essentially a command to create culture.

As John Stott says, “Nature is what God gives; culture is what we do with it.”9 What, then, were Adam and Eve supposed to do with it? God did not create the earth as a finished product but rather as an unfinished project.

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Abstract: Sports have captured the minds and hearts of people across the globe but have largely evaded the attention of Christian theologians. There seem to be two polar responses: some dismiss sports as merely a game, while others worship sports as nearly a god.

The industrial revolution, however, laid the railroad tracks for the professionalization of sports, with the train pulling into the station in the latter half of the twentieth century.

With the professionalization and popularization of sports today, Christians have jumped on board, to say the least, seeing sports as a potential classroom for morality and a platform for evangelism.8 How, then, ought followers of Jesus think of sports today? The way one answers these questions is largely dependent upon their understanding of the broader narrative within which we live.There seem to be two polar responses: some dismiss sports as merely a game, while others worship sports as nearly a god.The first response minimizes sports as a childlike activity, good for passing time but largely insignificant for the deep matters of life.God says, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat” (Gen –17).Unfortunately, many have focused so much on the prohibition of the one fruit that they have overlooked the invitation to feast upon all the other fruits.We use cookies to make interactions with our website easy and meaningful, to better understand the use of our services, and to tailor advertising.For further information, including about cookie settings, please read our Cookie Policy .Moreover, the most popular sporting event—the gladiator games—involved throwing Christians into the ring with wild bears and lions.Broadly speaking, throughout history the church has had an overall negative or dismissive view of sports—the devil’s workshop at worst and a secular means to an evangelistic end at best.6 John Calvin played a bit of bocce ball, Dietrich Bonhoeffer a little tennis, but in the early years of America the serious-minded Puritans put sports almost completely outside of God’s will.7 Up until the late eighteenth century, sports were for the most part recreational.It was made with potential that needed to be developed.Adam’s task as a gardener was a prototype for all culture-making: take the raw materials of the earth and cultivate them for the good of society.


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