The Complexity of Religion and Sport Essay

The Complexity of Religion and Sport Essay

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In Zetterberg we trust. That is a phrase many would never expect to encounter.  However, numerous people in the world today regard religion and sports with similar relevance. Both sports and religion are driving forces in society throughout the world. These concepts are wide and complex and have puzzled scholars for decades. The Oxford Dictionary defines religion as, “The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods” (2014a). Conversely, Oxford defines sports as, “An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment” (2014b). These definitions offer contrasting viewpoints but the question still remains: is sport a religion? Based upon clear and concise definitions and a critical analysis of relevant literature, the answer will be obvious.
Both sport and religion have a variety of similarities and differences, thereby increasing the complexity and scope of the concepts. This is the very essence of the problem involved in defining and providing a concrete answer to the question. One must take an open-minded, analytical approach when attempting to handle these concepts. Countless scholars have endeavoured to connect both concepts whilst unable to wholeheartedly prove whether sport is or is not a religion. It is apparent these concepts must be addressed with care and opinions be open to a variety of possibilities. 
Many consider the root of sport to be competition and violence (Coakley, 2007). However, widespread violence exists too within the religious realm. Consider riots existing in the sport of  hockey in Vancouver, Canada or the countless riots throughout Europe after a soccer match. Is this violence a...

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...etics Books.

Coakley, J. J. (2007). Violence in Sports . Sports in Society: Issues & Controversies (9th ed., pp. 196-228). Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Novak, M. (1992). The Natural Religion. Sport and Religion (pp. 35-42). Champaign, Ill.: Human Kinetics Books.

Nykvist, M. (2014, January 29). Neo-Olympism and Religion. SASH 77: Religion and Sport. Lecture conducted from Lund University, Lund, Sweden.

Prebish, C. S. (1992). “Heavenly Father, Divine Goalie”. Sport and Religion (pp. 43-53). Champaign, Ill.: Human Kinetics Books.

“Religion”. (2014a). In The Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved February 12, 2014, from

“Sport”. (2014b). In The Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved February 12, 2014, from http://

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