Blog: Faith in sports

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Members of the Seattle Seahawks pray after the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game against the Denver Broncos Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Seahawks won 43-8. (AP Photo)
Members of the Seattle Seahawks pray after the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game against the Denver Broncos Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Seahawks won 43-8. (AP Photo)

Today sports obsessions are not only seen as religious in nature, but religious in detail. From divinely-motivated professional athletes to heated competitions between religious universities, religion and sports are crossing paths on more levels than ever.

Sunday’s Super Bowl game brought eyes toward heaven in recognition by both participants and spectators. Spirituality surfaces from long before kick-off.

“Indeed, the Super Bowl is a sparkling showcase of secular spirituality. But it’s also rife with overt religiosity,” said The Week staff writer Jon Terbush.

The Week even jokingly expected the game’s MVP to praise God in his acceptance speech.

The question of whether or not God is involved in a victory has frequently been brought up, sparking thought and discussion from both religious leaders and athletes alike.

“More than 20 percent of Americans believe God has a say in who wins sporting events, according to a survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute,” reports Kara Yorio for Herald Online.

Though God’s involvement is clearly undeterminable, the questions do not stop there.

While some wonder if religion is losing its place to sports, The Week correspondent Michael Brendan Dougherty reported that the decline in religious practice exists separate of the increased hype on sports. This religious decline is argued to be enough to make ‘game day’ about as sacred as anything for Americans.

Players as well have proven worthy of turning to faith as a foundational motivation.

On a more local level, faith makes its way into athletic competition between two top-ranked basketball teams, BYU and Saint Mary’s, both universities owned by churches.

 

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