God and MMA
Hi guys! On another forum, a poster asked how Christians or "religious" people could justify watching/supporting MMA. He was asking for honest replies from Christians MMA fans. I thought it would be pretty cool to talk about it here & see what everyone thinks. You know, Paul told Timothy to be ready in every season to give a reason for our hope...to defend our faith...and he also said that he was willing to become all things that he might win some. I see many threads criticizing fighters for giving thanks to God (there is one on that site criticizing Fedor for his faith as well), calling us hypocrites, etc. Most of the time I just read them & move on, but we should be ready to give an answer. These folks don't know or understand the truth, and we are the ones who should be showing it to them.
Anyway, here is the poster's question:
I'm always amazed to see fighters and fans having no problem advertising their religion and being MMA fighters/fans at the same time.
I'm totally irreligious, but I think that the path of spirituality and the violent sport of MMA are huge contradictions. I think its fine if your spiritual beliefs are kept private, but advertising your "spirituality" alongside support of this game is rather hypocritical. Not saying there's anything evil or wrong about MMA, but there's certainly nothing "godly" about it. Even TRUE Buddhist martial artists would never compete in MMA events. However, its the Christians who market themselves most loudly so am most interested in their POV.
Just giving my honest opinion, but would welcome some responses from Christian fighters or fans...
Here was my response:
I respect your opinion, and am thankful that the majority of people in the world are free to believe what we want and have our own opinion. To give my point of view, as a Christian, if MMA is not evil, or wrong, as you stated, then what is contradictory or hypocritical about being a Christian and enjoying MMA or talking about God, etc. alongside our support of this game? Contradictory would be if God is good and MMA is bad. A hypocrite is someone who says one thing and does the opposite, as in I criticize you for smoking and then step outside and light up, or I criticize you for beating your wife and then go out & get plastered and drive around knocking mailboxes over with a baseball bat.
As far as it not being godly, what is godly about going to the movies, shopping for a new car, or training for a bench press competition? It is ok for Christians to have hobbies and do fun things other than go to church and go on mission trips. Football and rugby can be pretty violent sports as well, and many Christians watch and participate in them. Tons of Christians also serve in the armed forces, protecting our various countries with their lives. King David in the old testament was a mighty warrior who was feared across the land. The majority of the most popular MMA fighters, whether Christian or not, are very respectful to their opponents and enjoy competing and testing themselves. I think that is admirable. I personally tend to gravitate toward supporting those fighters and away from the ones who just want to continually hurt others for the spite of it, which does not seem godly to me.
But that is just my opinion. Again, I respect your opinion, and appreciate your question. I think it was a valid one. God bless!!
What would you guys say to this guy?
Of course, several non-believers chimed in with their opinions as well. Many were pretty fair in their assessment and didn't see a problem or any hypocrisy at all. Several were not. Here is what one critical person said:
"I can't say I'm surprised that you guys can't find any problem here, considering that you'd have to lack critical thinking skills to even be a Christian in the first place. You should have known better, TS."
Again, I don't normally respond to things like this, but I felt compelled in this instance, since he was, like several others, insinuating that we are just a group of mindless morons who only believe what we do out of ignorance and a lack of intelligence. Here is my reply:
"I really don't think it is necessary to insult others in order to get your point across. That may be your opinion, but it does not make it correct. I am a Christian, have an IQ of 178 on a scale where 160 and above is considered to be genius, and am an engineer (designer, not train operator, lol). I think that is pretty good evidence of critical thinking skills. There are many, many super intelligent Christians who are scientists, they just don't get the airtime and notoriety that the evolutionist scientists do. I have scientifically examined the evidence, and am convinced there is more evidence for God and the claims of the Bible than there is for evolution.
I respect the fact that you may believe the opposite, and and glad we are both free to believe what we want. I will not insult you or your intelligence for your beliefs. If I am wrong, then all I have done is live my life doing good, treated others fairly and with respect, and given credit to God for the good things in my life...no harm, no foul. If you are wrong, well....."
Excellent response my friend. Well done for not going back at him.
The answer is actually pretty simple and you hit the nail on the head.
This is athletic competition. This is not a sadist festival where we cut eachother and play with blood and all that rubbish.
Having a fight for athletic sport is much different then beating someone with a baseball bat who insults you.
The only true mindless person in that debacle was "I can't say I'm surprised that you guys can't find any problem here, considering that you'd have to lack critical thinking skills to even be a Christian in the first place. You should have known better, TS." this guy.
He is being hypocritical. Don't tell someone they lack critical thinking when you in fact have ZERO skills yourself
I usually find that those people who don't believe that Christianity and MMA are compatible really have no understanding whatsoever about either one.
Shawn, what an excellent post! Lots of people, including my own dad, ask me the same thing. I usually respond that it's more about testing ourselves personally (if you train in MMA or martial arts), rather than winning. If you watch, well, I would venture to guess that people watch it for the love of the sport and the excitement that surrounds it.
I also agree with what Nate said.
ALSO, since when did Christianity state that we had to be a bunch of flower-picking, peace loving hippies? I think Christianity is anything 'but' that--the more I become in love with Christ, the more I have to overcome both spiritually and in life. It's a long, hard fought battle of the wills, and this life is nothing like the Utopia that peacelovers want. If they think this, they are kidding themselves because there will always be evil. But those who are saved and accept Him will prevail.
Here are some good backups and examples of self defense in the bible...
Exodus 22:2-3 ESV
If a thief is found breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him, but if the sun has risen on him, there shall be bloodguilt for him. He shall surely pay. If he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.
Proverbs 25:26 ESV
Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.
Exodus 22:1-31 ESV
“If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and kills it or sells it, he shall repay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep. If a thief is found breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him, but if the sun has risen on him, there shall be bloodguilt for him. He shall surely pay. If he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft. If the stolen beast is found alive in his possession, whether it is an ox or a donkey or a sheep, he shall pay double. “If a man causes a field or vineyard to be grazed over, or lets his beast loose and it feeds in another man's field, he shall make restitution from the best in his own field and in his own vineyard. ...
Matthew 26:52-54 ESV
Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?”
Psalm 46:1 ESV
To the choirmaster. Of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth. A Song. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Romans 13:4 ESV
For he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer.
Matthew 5:38-39 ESV
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Exodus 21:24-25 ESV
Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
Matthew 5:1-48 ESV
Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. ...
2 Chronicles 17:1-19 ESV
Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his place and strengthened himself against Israel. He placed forces in all the fortified cities of Judah and set garrisons in the land of Judah, and in the cities of Ephraim that Asa his father had captured. The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the earlier ways of his father David. He did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father and walked in his commandments, and not according to the practices of Israel. Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand. And all Judah brought tribute to Jehoshaphat, and he had great riches and honor. ...
Judges 5:8 ESV
When new gods were chosen, then war was in the gates. Was shield or spear to be seen among forty thousand in Israel?
Leviticus 26:1-46 ESV
“You shall not make idols for yourselves or erect an image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am the Lord your God. You shall keep my Sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord. “If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them, then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall last to the time of the grape harvest, and the grape harvest shall last to the time for sowing. And you shall eat your bread to the full and dwell in your land securely. ...
Exodus 20:1-26 ESV
And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, ...
1 Timothy 5:8 ESV
But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Romans 12:19 ESV
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
Luke 22:36 ESV
He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.
Matthew 4:1-25 ESV
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple ...
Psalm 144:1 ESV
Of David. Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle;
Deuteronomy 28:47-48 ESV
Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart, because of the abundance of all things, therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger and thirst, in nakedness, and lacking everything. And he will put a yoke of iron on your neck until he has destroyed you.
Deuteronomy 28:1-68 ESV
“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. ...
Genesis 4:1-26 ESV
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. ...
John 18:1-40 ESV
When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron Valley, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. ...
Mark 7:1-37 ESV
Now when the Pharisees gathered to him, with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem, they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands, holding to the tradition of the elders, and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches.) And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” ...
Matthew 15:1-39 ESV
Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” ...
Numbers 31:3 ESV
So Moses spoke to the people, saying, “Arm men from among you for the war, that they may go against Midian to execute the Lord's vengeance on Midian.
Genesis 9:5-6 ESV
And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
John 14:26 ESV
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
John 14:15 ESV
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
Luke 10:30-37 ESV
Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. ...
Luke 10:27 ESV
And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
Matthew 5:19 ESV
Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Malachi 3:6 ESV
“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.
Nehemiah 4:17-18 ESV
Who were building on the wall. Those who carried burdens were loaded in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other. And each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built. The man who sounded the trumpet was beside me.
2 Chronicles 17:10 ESV
And the fear of the Lord fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were around Judah, and they made no war against Jehoshaphat.
1 Samuel 25:13 ESV
And David said to his men, “Every man strap on his sword!” And every man of them strapped on his sword. David also strapped on his sword. And about four hundred men went up after David, while two hundred remained with the baggage.
1 Samuel 13:22-23 ESV
So on the day of the battle there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people with Saul and Jonathan, but Saul and Jonathan his son had them. And the garrison of the Philistines went out to the pass of Michmash.
1 Samuel 13:19-20 ESV
Now there was no blacksmith to be found throughout all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, “Lest the Hebrews make themselves swords or spears.” But every one of the Israelites went down to the Philistines to sharpen his plowshare, his mattock, his axe, or his sickle,
1 Samuel 8:11 ESV
He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots.
Numbers 1:3 ESV
From twenty years old and upward, all in Israel who are able to go to war, you and Aaron shall list them, company by company.
Hebrews 13:8 ESV
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Romans 13:1-14 ESV
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. ...
Matthew 5:39 ESV
But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Matthew 4:7 ESV
Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Ezekiel 18:20 ESV
The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.
Proverbs 20:22 ESV
Do not say, “I will repay evil”; wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you.
Exodus 20:13 ESV
“You shall not murder.
Galatians 5:22-23 ESV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
1 Corinthians 9:27 ESV
But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
1 Corinthians 9:25 ESV
Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 ESV
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
Luke 22:1-71 ESV
Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, for they feared the people. Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. ...
Proverbs 25:28 ESV
A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.
1 Samuel 8:1-22 ESV
When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel. The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba. Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice. Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” ...
John 10:34 ESV
Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’?
Exodus 20:5 ESV
You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,
Hey Shawn, just wanted to formally introduce myself real quick. I'm Ben & I'm usually all over these boards but have been absent to past coupla weeks 'cause I'm looking for a job right now (me & 80% of the nation, apparently). Just wanted to say hey & that you seem like my kinda people: Christian nerd to the core (my brother's a former Mech E turned HS physics teacher). Hope to post with you much more in the future!
I've been sitting here "thinking" about the "?" asked and what the two guys you responded to had to say. Hopefully, the first guy was sincere in really wanting to hear what Christians think about "God and MMA" and how they could possibly "fit" together. As for the 2nd guy, he showed his intent quite clearly in his statement which, I think, had more to do with "being" a Christian than anything regarding the ? asked.
Anyhow, it seems the original guy is thinking that being a Christian and participating in MMA is or should be totally exclusive of each other and that's totally understandable if you're looking at the two just at face value. I think when people look at someone who is Christian they think, okay, this person is supposed to be good, morally upright, unflawed, beyond reproach and sin. Then they look at the MMA fighter in the cage, hitting, kicking, drawing blood from his opponent 'til victory is his hand raised in the air--man at his most base level. If you just look at the surface of the two, it's like "judging a book by it's cover" and not it's contents. But for any "thinking" person, if you really look and try to understand what "motivates" them both, you'll find they share more in common than not.
I know mma and WARfare or self-defence aren't the same, but does mma influence violent tendencies or behaviours? Isn't the octagon itself supposed to glorify violence and bloodshed as once did the Collesium of Rome? The opening scene of UFC shows depicts a gladiator as if to suggest these fighters are the same...fighting to appease the bloodlust of the crowd...