A church is a place where you can pray to God and show your faith in Christianity. However, while looking back at human history, you can find a relationship between religion and sports. Interestingly, both sports and religion teach us some valuable lessons. We also learn about culturally appropriate behavior from sports activities. For this reason, you can find several churches with sports facilities like basketball courts.
It is truly nothing uncommon to find churches with basketball courts and other sports facilities. Still, the relationship between these two worlds is conflicting. In some cases, sports activities help in achieving the goals of different religious authorities. Religious doctrines can be the source of philosophy and morality. However, the link between religion and church has been rejected in other cases.
Some analysts and leaders have claimed that sports activities are something secular and can divert one’s attention from pious activities. You may have heard about different instances where the sport is used to convert the non-believers. It may also be a threat to the moral and social order. Thus, some religious authorities have rejected sports, but others have embraced it.
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Religion and sports- How did they have close connections in the ancient ages?
Think of the Olympic Games in Ancient Greece. You could notice the presence of physical activities in the holy event. Moreover, the origin of the Olympics has a direct connection with the religious rituals of the Ancient Greek king- Zeus. In several other countries, you could trace the influence of religious activities on athletic contests. For instance, Central America has embraced the Mayan culture, where priests deal with ball games on the sports grounds close to temples. Again, there is a touch of national religion in sumo wrestling in Japan. However, Christianity has affected different modern aspects of the sport.
Sports like basketball and football can be referred to as folk religions. They ensure shared moral ideals and better behaviors. They originate from our daily activities to convey societal ideologies and provide legitimate values. In this regard, we can say sport is the product of society’s economic, social, and political settings. Researchers who declare sports as the folk religion reproduce these ideologies. Moreover, they focus on historical, collective, and mythic elements.
Sports and church in the modern-day
Today, several churches have that sport (basketball) and religion become the best partners to connect everyone with the local community. Furthermore, churches have started moving beyond the walls, and thus, they use sports as one of the venues. In sports ideology, you can notice religious values. Several congregations have become involved in the creation of sporting opportunities and potentials, which teach diligence and character development.
In the USA, the most prominent type of culture is sport. Therefore, sports-related communications, watching tournaments, and playing sports are some cultural activities in America.
American Protestants in the 19th century criticized sport as a lure of the evil spirit to direct the athletes towards worldly things. However, these perspectives have become less popular. Nowadays, lots of Christians like to choose sport as a platform for evangelism.
As congregations focus on the development of the church, several church leaders are looking for innovative ways of achieving the goal. Most of them have chosen recreation and sport to connect congregations.
Basketball courts in Mormon churches
Have you noticed that several Mormon churches have included basketball courts in their premises? However, these courts are useful for multiple purposes. Basketball is one of the indoor sports, and the room may also serve the purpose for banquets, dances, receptions, and weddings.
Mormon Churches during the 1960s had a unique design.
- There is a chapel with seats for congregations.
- At the rear part of the chapel, there was a hall to manage large congregations.
- A stage for presentations and plays was adjacent to the hall. The setup also included a kitchen useful during social events.
Interestingly, the design and size of the hall were similar to that of a basketball court. The halls had retractable basketball hoops. There were also wooden parquet floors with basketball lines clearly painted.
More about Mormon’s love for basketball and the churches with this facility
The first formal basketball tournament for male Mormons was in 1908. Since then, the church basketball events have attracted the participation of several players. Especially, the Utah-based Mormon churches have a high influence on basketball. There was a development of several Mormons’ basketball teams. The first men’s basketball tournament in a church was in 1915 with the development of a Mutual Athletic Association. Basketball players arrived at the venue from Salt Lake.
In due course, the state has shifted the trend of playing basketball to the trend of playing football. That is why the present generations are now looking for other entertainment options.
The good news for basketball lovers is that they can play the game at the church free of cost. In other places, memberships are essential to get into the courts. Especially, Mormons know about the right timing of playing basketball at the church. You may also learn about the time from local missionaries.
Throughout the Mormons’ churches in the USA, Canada, and Mexico, the church leaders stimulated young players to take part in volleyball, basketball, and softball.
To conclude, we can say that modern churches offer something more than religious services. Most of them host events like harvest parties. Basketball is one of the recreational activities available at the church campus. You may also find opportunities of playing other games. The big churches have special rooms for recreation.
A church always focuses on the spiritual health status of its members. That is why sports and recreational centers will help the congregation to have better health. You can take advantage of the basketball court and other sports facilities at different churches.
James Anderson loves sports and writes about them. He is a sports ethicist who has studied ethical issues in sport for over 20 years. James is also an avid runner, cyclist, and skier.
Words from the Author:
‘’I have been writing about sports for over 20 years, and I am a sports ethicist by trade. My work has always focused on the ethical dimensions of sport, and I have studied it in depth both academically and practically. In addition to being an avid runner, cyclist, and skier myself, I love all types of athletics from baseball to gymnastics.’’