Would Jesus Play Football?

When I was in high school, I used to get a kick whenever a player from the opposing team would step to the foul line, bless himself—and miss. While I was borderline irreligious by then, I suspect my glee came in part from having been raised in an evangelical environment that was decidedly anti-Catholic. My church found a way to campaign against JFK without losing its tax-free status.

Unlike Michael Vick, who claims that abusing dogs was a way of life when he was a child and so he never gave it a second thought when he became an adult, I have reflected on my past and hope that after more than six decades I am an accepting person, that your religion or race or gender doesn’t matter to me. Well, race and gender.

I remain conflicted about religion. I’ve read about the dark side of so many “devout” people that my cynicism has grown exponentially. I still can’t believe that given all the highly religious people in Congress that we would need a code of ethics. I learned my ethics in Sunday school and still practice them.

The latest mixed message occurred recently in a professional football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Miami Dolphins. In the second half of the game, a Pittsburgh player, in tackling a Miami player, knocked him unconscious. It was immediately evident that something was wrong. The victim wasn’t moving. That’s never good.

Within minutes, if not seconds, a group of Steelers joined in prayer on the field. I understood.

But then I reflected on the situation and it made me wonder.

Would Jesus play football?

Here we have a very violent game in which the object is to stop the opposing team by knocking down the person with the ball—and not gently. (Remember Darryl Stingley?) And so these men participate in this violent game, and when someone is hurt, they pray.

There’s a big contradiction there. The story of Jesus is not one of violence. He was not competitive in any sense of the word. I don’t think he’d even play a friendly game of touch football with the apostles.

Thus, I question the faith of those who would pound their fellow man into unconsciousness—and then pray for his recovery. Doesn’t compute.


  1. 任何你憂慮的事,你都應該去採取一點行動,不要只是在那邊想........................................

  2. As I conjectured to you over breakfast recently, I think Jesus would play football, or at least would sit in the stands and watch.

  3. I disagree with your logic on this.

    I can't disagree that football is violent and dangerous. But driving can also be violent and dangerous. It is not the intent of either one of those activities to hurt, injure, paralyze anyone, or end anyone's life in either activity. Many aspects of our lifes have an associated risk with them, but that doesn't mean when something bad happens that prayer is hypocritical, or contrary to logic.

    You make it sound, or at least I read it, as if anything that is or can be inherently violent should not be prayed over when something "bad" happens.

    Using your logic someone running late to work and speeding, getting in a wreck, doesn't deserve to be prayed for because they put themselves into that situation.

    A downhill skiier losing control and hitting a tree put themselves at risk by doing soemthing dangerous and praying for them doesn't compute either.

    I guess wat I'm really saying is that I disagree with the assertion that all of this is based on. The object of football is not to "pound thier fellow man into unconscoius".

    I say this as a person that has become semi-cynical with religion. Or at least organized religion. So I'm not a person that always defends these types of actions either.

    Would Jesus play football? I don't know if I can persuaded to disagree with you on that, but the premise of how you got there is what I wanted to argue with.

  4. Jesus is more of a soccer guy, but he's been known to lay a ten-spot on Notre Dame and is therefore feeling pinched of late.