I’ve always been fascinated with the strong Christian bent you’ll see in MMA sometimes, partially because of my other pod-venture and partially because it’s always seemed so strange to me. Shunning violence always seemed to be one of those things you’d figure Jesus would be into, but then again so is Socialism so what do I know?
Here’s someone who should know: Pastor Mark Driscoll of the Mars Hill Church in Seattle. He wrote a giant mega-post about MMA half promoting their UFC on FOX debut, half justifying his enjoyment of our barbaric fist fest. Here’s my favorite bits:
Some Christians will vocally declare that we must reject MMA. Sometimes it’s because they simply do not understand the nature of the sport and misperceive it, and other times it’s because they are pacifists theologically who don’t condone violence in any form. Their picture of Jesus is basically a guy in a dress with fabulous long hair, drinking decaf and in touch with his feelings, who would never hurt anyone. The problem is that Jesus probably had short hair (1 Corinthians 11 says it was a disgrace in that day for a man to have long hair), was in good shape from a labor job and lots of walking across rugged terrain, and upon his return will come again not in humility but rather in glory.
So because Jesus was a muscular dude, he’s more like a badass MMA fighter than some latte drinking liberal. And that makes MMA okay for Christians!
Simply, on his first trip to the earth Jesus took a beating to atone for sin; on his next trip he will hand them out to unrepentant sinners instead.
Oh yeah, MMA / Jesus metaphor!
Additionally, some argue that we should reject MMA because some aspects of the sport stem from Eastern religions and philosophy. Indeed, this was some of the pushback on my recent post on yoga, “Christian Yoga? It’s a Stretch.” To this I would agree on a certain level. I would not encourage anyone to study under a teacher who, in addition to combat techniques, was also pushing non-Christian philosophies and Eastern spirituality.
First off, there are Christians riled up about the Eastern religion and philosophy elements of martial arts? Are these the same ones who think Pokemon is devil worship? By the way, here’s a summation of this guy’s Christian Yoga post:
There is nothing wrong with stretching, exercising, or regulating one’s stress through breathing. But when the tenets of yoga are included, it’s by definition a worship act to spirit beings other than the God of the Bible.
But fortunately our author decides that martial arts learned in a proper Amurican fashion is acceptable. Fortunately, ‘one can practice combat sports and learn various techniques without immersing oneself in the philosophy and culture of such activities.’ I dunno. I think the devil’s oily taint may still be all over this.
The rest after the jump
Even though this guy thinks going to a yoga class is tantamount to worshipping the wrong spirit diety, MMA still gets a pass. When it comes to violence in sports, he has a surprisingly even handed take on things:
As Christians, the question is, where is the line to be drawn and why? I would argue the line should be drawn wherever one’s conscience permits. But to bind everyone with your conscience is to do what the Bible forbids. All of God’s people are to obey all of God’s Word, and beyond that we are to operate according to conscience.
Funny that there’s not a lot of stuff from the bible there to back him up. So what does the bible say about this kinda thing?
Psalm 11:5 – The LORD examines the righteous and the wicked. He hates the lover of violence.
Proverbs 3:31 – Do not envy a man of violence and do not choose any of his ways
Psalm 74:20 – Honor your covenant, for haunts of violence fill the dark places of the earth.
Genesis 6:13 – Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.
Shit, dawg. Sounds like MMA is the kind of thing that led God to flood the earth. But that was the oldschool smite-happy God. Since Jesus he’s mellowed out quite a bit. I’m sure if He saw what was going on now he’d update “Thou shall not steal” to “Buy thee thine pay per views legally, for Shogun and Henderson deserve cheddar for their badass ways!”