America’s Religion…

2014-12-13_16-14-42People say that professional sports fuel what is worst in us. Our greed, our impatience, our willingness to ruin our bodies for the sake of fame. Our glorification of the worst human impulses, our blindness to the crimes these athletes sometimes commit…. It’s been said that sports are America’s religion and that this idolatry is our downfall. SOURCE: These Royals Make You Believe in God | Angela Denker | Red Letter Christians.

I suspect that there are many more who will be sitting around their TV sets this Sunday afternoon watching  a football game than there are sitting in a church pew.  And even those in the pews most often rush home to join the former. Yes, we in America seem to be totally addicted to our sports.

I know that sports is supposed to build character in our young people but that can be accomplished in other far less destructive ways.  I believe sports does more to pollute the educational environment than any good it might accomplish.  I admit that, except with myself,  I am not a very competitive person and never have been. I have never seen a need to defeat any opponent in my life. In fact I believe that this attitude which is so predominate in most sports is a net negative on our society and even the world. It creates a totally unneeded caste system in our high schools that make some believe they have to stand out in other, often more destructive, ways just to get any attention. The high school and even the college jock dominates social life there even in my day. They are given special recognition  and privileges that are way above their overall contributions to the world around them. The level of “us vs them” created by most sports carries on throughout our lives.

We see it in our formal religious institutions. Just look at Israel, Iran, Iraq, or most of the Middle East countries to see how this “us vs. them” affects all our lives. We no longer seem to tolerate anyone believing something different from us. Too often religious leaders, contrary to the basic teaching of their religions, are the ones who incite these feelings. Jihad drives too many to fanatical views of life and spiritually but it is by no means the only destructive religious doctrine of our times. Jesus told us to love each other he didn’t put any public affiliations as part of that command.

In order to live together and love each other we must be tolerant of views that are different from our own. We need to throw away the “us vs them” mentality and realize that we are all in this together. While sports may not be the major contributing factor it is probably the starting point for many of these associations.  A little, well actually a lot, less emphasis on sports would help us return to celebrating our American diversity and the fact that we, as Rodney King, said so many years ago, just need to get along.

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