An interesting debate came up at a family dinner the other week. The question arose when I made a tongue in cheek comment about Pentecostal churches where the worshipers put their hands in the air and pray out loud. I once attended a Pentecostal church with my Opa and let’s just say I was a bit freaked out by the “outspoken” nature of the worshipping. People were expressing emotions physically to the point where some of them were actually dripping with sweat from clenching their fists and holding their hands in the air and yelling to the heavens as if their bodies are being overcome.
Anyway, that sort of expression really scares me. The question that came up is why is it okay for people to put their hands in the air to cheer for a sports team and get into a hockey game or a baseball game, but it’s not okay to do it at Church.
After this question came up there were so many things going through my head. The first thing that came to mind was that when I’m at a hockey game, and I’m cheering for the visiting team, I might get some beer spilled on me, but I’m not fearing for my life. If I was in that church, and if I was a Jew or a Muslim or a stripper or anything other than a devoted Christian, I’d be very scared of what somebody might do to me because their beliefs may differ from my beliefs.
Sports promote comradery, friendship, teamwork, quick thinking, physical fitness, and many other things. I have never seen sports create a division the way religion has. It it appalling to me that people can have so much resentment towards another person simply because of their religion. I’m not a Montreal Canadien’s fan, but I don’t have hatred for people who cheer for the Montreal Canadiens.
So to be fair, religion does promote ethical behaviour; sports, possibly not so much. But when kids are growing up, sports keeps them out of trouble and out of gangs and keeps them healthy. Most of the kids that were ultra religious in elementary school went on to do some crazy crazy illicit things in high school and college. Don’t raise your kids in a closet, because some day they won’t be able to handle the real world.