Inherent violence in sports

Discussion in 'Sports' started by Stratiotes, Aug 10, 2004.

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With which statements do you agree?

  1. Baseball is too inherently violent to be practiced by Christians

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. American Football is too inherently violent to be practiced by Christians

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Hockey is too inherently violent to be practiced by Christians

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Australian Rules Football or Rugby is too inherently violent to be practiced by Christians

    13.3%
  5. Boxing is too inherently violent to be practiced by Christians

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  6. Martial Arts are too inherently violent to be practiced by Christians

    86.7%
  7. None of the above

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Stratiotes

    Stratiotes
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    Sports are, by definition, competitive - and violence , in a sense, is competition at a more intense level. The post that challenges MA as too violent for Christians is predictable and I don't want to get into that same debate. But, it makes one wonder, where is the line?
     
  2. Stratiotes

    Stratiotes
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    I know, there might be other reasons not to practice MA other than the belief that they are too violent. But, for now, assume that is the only issue and save the other things for a MA discussion if we can.
     
  3. Brett

    Brett
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    Baseball...?

    Although I would say that football and hockey sometimes toe the line, I wouldn't say that Christians shouldn't participate in them. Boxing, on the other hand, I do feel crosses the line, as the sole intent is to injure to other person.

    That said, there are many sports that are mostly or completely nonviolent - baseball, tennis, soccer, golf...
     
  4. Stratiotes

    Stratiotes
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    Brett,
    I used to play a lot of soccer including in a league that was all Christian...I wouldn't call it non-violent. There is a lot of contact to force the other player to lose control of the ball and so on. I have seen far more injuries from soccer than from some of the other sports I've played - certainly more than in MA. So I'm not sure that it isn't primarily one's experience.

    When I boxed, my sole intent was to not get hit ;) .
     
  5. WallyGator

    WallyGator
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    I voted none. Maybe pro wrestling. Not because of the physical, but because of the hype and sex. Thinking back at times, I wish I had never been involved in pro sports; other times, I'm glad I was. People are going to find violence to feed on, if not sports, than something else.
     
  6. Stratiotes

    Stratiotes
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    I think there are two sides to our tendency toward violence. One is our sin nature of course but I think there is some "warrior" behaviour in our design. We were, in a sense, created for battle - thus the need for the full armor of God. There is a competitive nature in us that is there by design. Sin is not playing out that competition but in the *wrong* channeling of that nature. There is a lot of PC thinking that makes meekness equal to weakness. Competition is simply a playing out of that struggle we were created for - a physical shadow of the very real struggle in the spiritual realm.

    A great little book on the subject that I mentioned in the MA thread: _Wild at Heart_ by John Eldridge. Its a great read for men and for women who want to understand men.
     
  7. Brett

    Brett
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    True enough, although sometimes this is a result of overt competitiveness rather than due to the nature of the game. I played soccer when I was fairly young, and back then there was almost no violence whatsoever. Now, when I watch "adults" play, there is a lot of what you described. I suppose it all depends on how competitive it is.
     
  8. robycop3

    robycop3
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    As a former semipro football player, amateur baseball player, and amateur boxer, I can look back and say there was inherent violence in each of them. I was a fullback/linebacker in football, which meant every play I was either trying to run over someone trying to tackle me; I was trying to block a defensive player into the parking lot, or I was trying to knock a ball carrier into the next zip code...while all the time others were trying to do thus to me. In baseball, I was a good hitter, decent pitcher...but not too speedy. I ran the base paths HARD...& wouldn't think twice about sliding into a base with my spikes flashing...just as my opponents wouldn't think twice about tagging me in the face, or where the sun doesn't shine...or throwing a pitch at my head, or me at theirs. As for boxing...Every participant knows his/her opponent is there to try to hurt them while not getting hurt. It's a big sport involving big money, and it isn't gonna go away.

    Think TODAY'S soccer riots are bad? Read 2 Samuel 2, begin.V.12. ans see what became of a "friendly" rivalry and contest!

    And David, one of God's all-time favorites, was a MAN OF WAR, who killed many enemies by his own hand. He was about as violent a man as ever lived. But the ONLY death charged to him was that of Uriah.

    Many of our sports came directly from acts of battle. Archery, fencing, wrestling, boxing, and javelin-throwing speak for themselves. But hurling the discus, hammer, & the shot-put also come from war. The discus was just about the heaviest object a man could hurl a decent distance, as the "hammer" became later, while the shot-put was named for the practice of hurling or dropping cannon balls(shots) upon nearby enemies when there wasn't enough time to load a cannon, or the enemy was too close to aim the cannon at. Most of the time, these objects were hurled or dropped from a height, such as a rampart, on the assumption that gravity would aid the hurler, and the enemy couldn't hurl the objects back.(Remember Abimelech, struck down by a small millstone hurled by a woman)

    Relays and individual runners were used to carry messages across a battlefield. Most equestrian skills and moves were developed for use in battle.Pole-vaulting was used to scale walls.

    This is just a short list, but I see nothing sinful in sport itself. It's the INTENT behind the sport and of its players, fans, boosters, and promoters which can be sinful.
     
  9. Paul of Eugene

    Paul of Eugene
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    Sports play a vital role in our society; they are a channel for the inherent violence of sinful man. Since they function in this way, apparantly it is part of God's plan for limiting violence, and therefore there's nothing wrong with rooting for our teams and participating in sports. And the people in sports could use the Christian witness.
     
  10. Alcott

    Alcott
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    I think that the purpose of sports has always been a means of coming 'out' with our aggressions and competiveness to defeat the other 'warrior.' This was clear-cut with the original Olympic Games; tests of the various skills used in battle (coupled, of course, with giving 'due honor' to the King of the Gods, who supposedly lived on Mt. Olympus).

    It seems an interesting trend, though, that organized sports are (in my view) becoming more and more the acceptable outlets for most of the things society now has gone past or outrightly condemned.

    Prejudice, for example. Polite society is no longer tolerant of overt racial/ethnic discrimination and throwing epithets around. But in sports, many fans are very forward as to how much they "hate" their rivals who wear the other color uniforms, and they mock the traditions or status of the school their represent. Sports in this way are the channel for the "I'm ____ and you're not!" mentality in a society that no longer affords that channel to ethnicity.

    Another example is cheating. When you're in battle and your life depends on whether kill or defeat your enemy first, anything is alright as long you win. Compare this to crowd reactions to official's rulings on the field. If the play is a close one and it doens't go the home fans' way, they are going to boo and shout violently-- it doesn't matter if the call was the right one, even if they know it was; it's just not the call that helps them to win. And fans of a team just love it if, for example, an outfielder dives for a sinking line drive and they see that 'their' guy caught if on a short hop, but the umpire ruled it a catch and therefore an out. As it gets harder to get by with cheating, with so much surveillance and checks, when a team you support obviously gets by with it, it draws more applause than an ordinary successful play.

    And there is vicariousness and idolatry which finds some acceptability in sports; essentially, hero worship. There is an episode of an old television show in which the father gives his son a baseball autographed by the New York Yankees during Babe Ruth's time. His son is not very impressed, so the father says "These names are players that we thought would never be forgotten-- when I was a boy, we all used to look up to them, and tried to be like them." His wife say, "You make them sound like some sort of ancient gods." And that last statement is very true. Fans want their autographs, they enter contests to get a jersey they wore in a game, and fans will get angry if someone degrades the personaility or the ability of one of their favorites... blasphemy.

    I like sports, certainly. But there are lines to be drawn as to how much a Christian will live vicariously through what goes in the arena, using it as a safe way of expressing latent hostility, prejudice, envy, or the desire to win anything at any cost.
     
  11. billwald

    billwald
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    Sports are a war substitute. As evidence, consider that the sports with the biggest financial draw are the sports that produce the most injuries.

    Second, 20 years ago my old partner (RIP) observed that if female participants wore bloomers no one would watch. All that diving and prancing does is to provide fanticies for dirty old men . . . and women.

    Third, the other use of sports is to provide something for people to bet money on.
     
  12. Stratiotes

    Stratiotes
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    The oriental martial arts owe much to the Art of War by Sun Tzu who said,
    "[T]o win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill."

    It should be true in life and in war. Train for the worst but work for what is better.

    Sports can also be an analogy of spiritual warfare. We are not saved into an exclusive club of elites but into an army. Life is a struggle in itself but especially if we are living lives that provoke the devil's attacks.
     

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