Saturday, May 28, 2011

Why Do Sportsman Believe?

Reading an article possibly by Matthew Syed (Religion and sport: Do prayers help players? BBC News Magazine 28 May 2011). There is some evidence that religious belief boosts sporting performance, and there are many examples of strong religious faith at the top level of sport,

Atheists observe that the content of the religion doesn't seem to make much difference, and that the visible superstitions and obsessions of some players (former Kent and England wicket-keeper Alan Knott comes to my mind) appears to perform the same purpose.

The article notes that Jonathan Edwards, the triple jumper, abandoned his strong religious faith when he stopped competing. Obviously we can't generalize from one case, but it is a hint that his faith may have had no other purpose in his life.

1 comment:

Scribe said...

Can this be compared to the ranks of others who are successful in other walks of life, e.g business success? Where does religion stop and having faith in oneself start?

After years of pensive study, my own conclusion is that faith is important because it keeps doubt - and thought - at bay. In sport, this is particularly essential as thought gets in the way of the body doing.

The "problem" comes when you start thinking about faith - both what it is, and how it applies to you. Symbols rise up, definitions become entangled, and you end up with an institution that gets in the way of its own original purpose.

Have faith in the unknown. Have faith in nothing. Faith is a tool.