How should Christians think about professional sports?

Okay, I have to begin by stating that I am a HUGE sports fan.  I especially love college and professional football.  I also enjoy Major League Baseball, but rarely ever watch it since the games are not televised on local television stations (I do not have cable or satellite).

However, the last few years I have been wondering if Christians should restrain from the sports culture that we live in here in the United States.  Here are a few reasons why I have been thinking about this:

  • First, it is obvious that professional, and even college sports are deeply ingrained in our culture.  Sporting events are multi-billion dollar industries here.  For many, life revolves around cheering on their favorite teams and owning the relevant merchandise.  We could even say that sports and specific athletes have become gods to some.
  • Secondly, the owners and athletes involved in professional sports make ridiculous amounts of money.  They are some of the highest paid people in our society.  I am not against a person making money or even being wealthy, but something is wrong when a person who plays a game makes more money than doctors, CEOs, etc.
  • Lastly, with all of the wealth and fame that being a professional athlete brings, there seems to be an unusually high amount of negligent behavior from this group of young elites.  Am I an enabler as a fan who gives my money and encouragement to these people?  Would I serve this group of people better by removing my money and praise so that they are hopefully forced to live in a world that is more realistic and holds them equally accountable for their actions?

What do you think?  How should Christians think about professional sports?

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5 Responses to How should Christians think about professional sports?

  1. Jeff says:

    I don’ t do sports on TV, so I find the nearly cult-like devotion to the “Raider Nation” hard to understand. Are spectator sports the 21 century ba’al?

  2. Richard says:

    Well, like anything else in this life we need to check and make sure where our heart is. The center of our affection, where is it? What consumes us most? Is God number one? If so, it will show in our actions, speech, our life. Is it time to take inventory?

    Thanks for the good post,

  3. Tim Farley says:


    Thanks for your comments. I agree with you. We do need to evaluate where our heart is and understand where the center of our affection is. So we do need to examine ourselves first.

    However, what about the way our actions impact others? Do I enable professional athletes and/or other fans to develop wrong heart attitudes by just participating in these events? Would we serve our neighbors better in this area by abstaining? I am not saying yes, but I think it is worth asking the question. Like I said, I am a sports fan.

  4. Richard says:

    Well, I don’t think there is anything wrong in participating in sports, but like anything this world has to offer, we must be careful to balance it with God’s help. I particularly like the idea of going to a game to not only see the game but beware of the people around you and the opportunities available to you to share Christ. “Be all things to all people” (of course, as long as it doesn’t involve sinning).
    As far as our neighbors go. They are watching and listening. By “abstaining” from something that is not sin, we might become too “religious” for them and thus turn them off. “If that’s Christianity, no thanks”
    We must befriend them first. It that involves going to a game now and then, so be it. We can let them know by our actions and speaking that sports is not number one with us.
    I did spend about five years coaching baseball where it became number one, so I do know that it can take you down a road where you can become obsessed with it.
    Blessings to ya,

  5. David Weir says:

    In Corinthians Paul warns against “pagan revelry” and likens it to the Baal worship Moses had to fight. Celebrity worship and loving the worldly spectacles it creates is exactly the thing that caused early Christians to condemn the Olympic Games in the first place. We spend more on sports in America than public education. Tell me it isn’t a new pagan faith. The worldly will not be received by the Father, and praising professional sports is as worldly as one can get.

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