Saturday, 28 April 2012

Emotional Highs - Football v. Religion

What a week !!!  Chelsea beating Barcelona, Bayern Munich beating Real Madrid, Bolton still fighting relegation and turning over Aston Villa, then coming up this weekend the Championship is decided, the last Old Firm fixture of a very odd season for Rangers and the BIG match on Monday with the potential title decider when Man City host United.

It has to be said that now we are in the 21st Century, as far as emotion highs are concerned Football has to be responsible for far more emotional highs (and lows) in far, far greater numbers of people than Religion does.

It is hard to describe to non-football supporters quite what you get out of supporting a club. In many ways there are many similarities with the reasons that many people go to church. Not everyone joins a football supporters club for the football, in the same way that not everyone who goes to church does so for religious reasons.

The feelings of belonging and inclusion, being part of a social circle, having common aims and desires and for some, the provision of emotion support in times of need, are equally valid reasons for going to church or going to a football stadium.

The obvious similarities are that these reasons for attending either church or the stadium do not necessarily have anything to do with Football or Religion. The biggest difference is the numbers of people benefiting from these support mechanisms.

While the churches are pretty much emptying, the other notable factor is the age and demographic of those attending......

.......and it may be that Religion will find it increasingly difficult to persuade younger generations to change their ways and become more sexist, racist and homophobic.

Football on the other hand brings a huge amount of joy to a great many people.....
.... and the church could only dream of crowds such as those that attend organised Football matches, let alone the arm-chair supporters and those who play, coach and referee the game at all levels and all ages.

But it is the emotional roller-coaster  of Football that Religion can not compete with. Take the Arsenal v. Spurs game on the 26th Feb 2012. As an Arsenal fan it was  a poor start a goal down after 4 minutes, then despair as we went 2 down after 34 minutes.Then despair turned to hope and then relief as the first half ended 2:2. And what a second half, 11 minutes in and we're delighted to go a goal up, ecstatic 15 minutes later to double the lead at 4:2, and the unbelievably shortly after it was 5:2. No Religious thought  has ever given me even a fraction of the emotional enjoyment that this game did, and many millions of people feel the exactly the same.

 Football can be accused of being tribal and causing rifts and friction between factions (much as Religion does), but luckily the trouble caused at Football matches is by the lunatic fringe and there is often a great deal of joy, fun and laughter between rival supporters, and you'd never see enjoyment and costumes like the Dutch supporters are wearing below, at church.

So, the only conclusion that can be made is that Football is responsible for more, joy, excitement and positive emotional experiences than Religion.

And that is why you have huge crowds going to 'worship' at Football stadiums at every chance they get.

As dalekpete points out in his blog, after he carried out an admittedly limited survey, if asked people as as likely to name Football as their religion as name an organised religion. So, once the 'stigma' associated with the word 'atheist' is removed, more and more people will be willing to put 'No Religion' or 'Football' if asked.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

The Good Book - Football v. Religion (No.2)

The Rules of Association Football, unlike the Holy Bible, have been revised frequently since they were first written in the 1860s. These revisions have been discussed openly, agreed by the appropriate governing body, trialled and then ratified, and it is a shame that this process has not been applied to the holy books of all religions.

The purposes of these Association Football rule changes have been to improve the game, make it a better sporting spectacle and to adopt advances in technology for the benefit of all, for example,

  • Introduction of penalty kicks,
  • Introduction of red and yellow cards,
  • Change in the number of substitutes permitted,
  • The back-pass rule,
  • and next year possibly the introduction of goal line technology 
So it is clear that the Rules of Association Football have undergone quite a few changes during its 150 or so years in print.

By comparison, it has to be said that it is to the detriment of the human race that the Holy Bible has not undergone any such re-write over a much longer timescale. Without going too far into specifics on this post, is would be beneficial had the Holy Bible been re-written to edit out,
  • entries that are factually incorrect  (the earth is not flat)
  • entries that are scientifically incorrect (Eve was not made from Adam's rib)
  • entries that are just wrong (there are no unicorns)
  • entries that are contradictory. For crying out loud, its been 500 years since the King James Bible was printed, was nobody proof reading this rubbish. It is so full of contradictory facts you'd think the whole thing was made up......
NonStampCollector has captured the problems of Biblical contradictions excellently.

So it has to be said that from an editorial and revision perceptive that the Rules of Association Football have certainly benefited from being edited and revised. It is a shame that the Holy Bible has not undergone such a process, because a large part of the World's population would benefit from a revised, modernised, factually and scientifically correct, version of the bible.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Good Book - Football v. Religion (No.1)

The Rules of Association Football and the Holy Bible have many similarities and differences.

One similarity is that nobody knows for sure who is actually responsible for the entire authorship of either book.

However, in regard to the veracity of the two books, that is where the similarities end. For example,
  • The Rules of Association Football do not suffer from 'acuracy' problems due to multiple poor translations from  Hebrew, Greek and Latin.
  • The original Rules of Association Football have not been tampered with, or had sections added, deleted or amended to suit the religious authorities or the monarchy of the day.
  • There are not multiple versions of the Rules of Association Football all claiming to be the 'Real Rules'.

So it would appear to me that the Rules of Association Football, in use today, are far closer to the original ideas, ethos and meaning of Football that the Holy Bible is to Christianity.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Keep Sunday Special - Football v. Religion

The 'Keep Sunday Special Campaign' is yet another small-minded group of religious zealots who wish to restrict the freedom of others due to a poorly written work of fiction whose primary purpose has been subjugation and control of the masses.

When will these Christian organisations wake up to the fact that it is no longer possible to simply bore people into church. Their hay-day in this respect is well and truly gone, people now have far more interesting, more rewarding and more productive things to do on a Sunday.

Centuries ago the church was the meeting place where local news and gossip could be shared, and that aspect of church was a large part of the reason for going to church. That said, the fact that in the past it has been an offense not to go to church which could result in death - was also a fairly powerful motivator I'd say.

However, the advent of newspapers, radio, television and the internet, along with the many scientific discoveries and advancements, now means that the modern church is required by a far smaller percentage of the population. So why are these people trying to keep Sunday special for me when I don't necessarily want it to be any more 'special' than it already is.

And what about Friday for the mosques and Saturday for the synagogue - it would appear that haven't really thought this through - should we not have special days for everyone's imaginary friend.

And why Sunday ? Well I saw on another website (which I'm afraid I can't find just now - so can't credit) that somebody had quite brilliantly spotted yet another flaw in biblical account of the beginning of the world. They wrote......

"If God made the world in 6 days, and made the Sun and Moon on day 4, how did he measure a day on Day 1, Day2, Day 3 as it requires the earth and the moon to measure a day - also the gravitational pull of the sun? It is a bit like saying god invented water while taking a shower".

It also has to be asked, if he said "let there be light" on Day 1, "and there was light", but he made the sun on Day 4 then where did the .... ah ..... it all looks a bit flimsy, doesn't it - and this is why heretics had to be put to death, the biblical account just unravels when any aspect is questioned.... but I digress...... back to Sundays.

The only part of Keep Sunday Special that I could possibly agree with (but from a purely selfish perspective) is that the shops should all open at 10.00 AM, so that I can have a lie-in and they should then shut about 12:30 PM so that I can get home or to the pub for the Super Sunday football.

Having the shops open when the football is on the TV can occasionally cause some marital friction, but as you can now watch football pretty much everyday of the week, picking any single day to keep special just seems a bit daft.

And surely that is the real point of life, EVERY day should be special.

So I guess I would have to support an alternative campaign, my campaign would have to be 'Why Keep Sunday Special ?' - look, I have a logo and everything...........


Saturday, 21 April 2012

Child Indoctrination - Football v. Religion

It seems to me that there are certain parallels between Football and Religion regarding the 'indoctrination of children', although at the end of the day the motives of each may be very different.

Dads purchase baby-grows, bibs and duvet covers in their teams colours for their new born children, thereby signalling their intent that the child follows the same football team as they do. Why do they do this ? Possibly family tradition, fostering a commonality of interest and from a practical point of view, going to the same sports ground each week.

Is this the same for religion? Children are baptised before they can agree to or understand the meaning and significance of that act, then through a process of family and social pressure are 'encouraged' to conform to that religion's rituals and codes.

Leaving a religion or changing football allegiance can both cause family and social friction, and possibly result in being outcast from certain groups. However, changing the team you support or deciding your not at all interested in football doesn't lead to death threats and violence, additionally, it is common for there to be a variety of football teams supported by different members of the same family in a harmonious environment.

Also, unlike religions, marriage between supporters of different football teams doesn't require that one partner change their allegiance.

The other practical problem is that while interest in Football is growing across all communities, cultures and generations, interest Religion is on a rapid decline. Many people unthinkingly attend religious services through a mis-guided sense of duty to the older generations of the family.

These being the last generation in this world to be brought up in the absence of scientific information and the internet, and so have not necessarily enjoyed the luxury of freedom of thought or been encouraged to challenge 'social norms'. Once this generation goes, watch the church services empty, and this is why the fanatics are becoming more and more reliant on extreme child indoctrination in order to keep their 'congregations' viable.

So, it seems to me that in regard to CHILD INDOCTRINATIONFOOTBALL is far more understanding AND benign than RELIGION ever will be.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Discrimination - Football v. Religion

While it is true that Football has had its problems with racism, bigotry, sexism and homophobia (and unfortunately still has some problems) at least it is doing a lot to try and combat senseless hate.

The 'Kick Racism Out of Football' campaign, Football's cross cultural and religious appeal, woman's football teams, match officials and commentators  along with a concerted effort to fight homophobia surely means that Football is doing its best to be a positive force in today's world.

Nobody is pretending that  Football is perfect, but at least it is trying.

And it has to be said that Football's problems of racism, bigotry, sexism and homophobia were not of its own making, they were a general part of the society in which Football started - a Christian society, with the 'christian values' of hate and exclusion.

It seems incredible to me that 2000 years on from the bronze age world-view that existed at the time that first monks ghost-wrote the bible, that Christians are still peddling their particular brand of 'LOVE' where the church still treats women unequally, doesn't do enough to foster cross cultural relationships and is still homophobic.

The hypocrisy of the 'Love thy Neighbour' Anglicans who tried to place these adverts on London buses is unbelievable, what makes them think they can cure Gay people, or that Gay people even want to be cured.

There is absolutely no shame or reason to feel bad if you are gay, transsexual, asexual, or anything else - as long as you act in a morally acceptable, loving and respectful way - however the Christian Church (and indeed other religions) would rather persecute such individuals. They are just big nasty, cowardly bullies.

So on the subject of DISCRIMINATION, I have to conclude that FOOTBALL  is possibly part of the solution to the problems caused by RELIGION.

For more info on this story please see Gay cure advert banned on London buses story

Monday, 9 April 2012

Tottenham Hotspur's Atheist Shirt Logo

Surprised nobody has commented on the obvious similarity between the logo on the Spur's football shirts and the generally accepted atheist logo.

The only other vaguely religions connection with football that I know of is that Hibernian FC play at Easter Road, but the reason that it is called Easter Road is because they are always being crucified.....