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  • James Rowell

Religion As Sport


Religion as Sport, 12/27/21

Religion might be thought of like a sport. There are teams, as in sports, and intense emotional enthusiasm for one’s own team. Sometimes there are bitter rivalries with other teams. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, are all on different “teams” and often are rivals. There are rules to play by, and “victory conditions” for winning the game: the soul is the ball, the goal is the afterlife. Priests, rabbis, and imams are referees, and their places of worship the stadium. We are devoted to religions like sports teams, and there is no fully logical “test” of that loyalty. Loyalty in religion is like in sports, it is regional, and you are born with it. Sometimes that enthusiasm goes to extremes. At others you move and switch teams. The analogy isn’t complete and could be pushed too far, but I think in many ways it captures the total, unquestioning devotion we often have for our own religions.


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