Readers are introduced to a range of theoretical and methodological approaches used to understand religion – including sociology, philosophy, psychology, and anthropology – and how they can be used to understand sport as a religious phenomenon. Topics include the formation of powerful communities among fans and the religious experience of the fan, myth, symbols and rituals and the sacrality of sport, and sport and secularization. Case studies are taken from around the world and include the Olympics (ancient and modern), football in the UK, the All Blacks and New Zealand national identity, college football in the American South, and gymnastics. Ideal for classroom use, Understanding Sport as a Religious Phenomenon illuminates the nature of religion through sports phenomena and is a much-needed contribution to the field of religion and popular culture.
Readers are introduced to a range of theoretical and methodological approaches used to understand religion – including sociology, philosophy, psychology, and anthropology – and how they can be used to understand sport as a religious phenomenon. Topics include the formation of powerful communities among fans and the religious experience of the fan, myth, symbols and rituals and the sacrality of sport, and sport and secularization. Case studies are taken from around the world and include the Olympics (ancient and modern), football in the UK, the All Blacks and New Zealand national identity, college football in the American South, and gymnastics. Ideal for classroom use, Understanding Sport as a Religious Phenomenon illuminates the nature of religion through sports phenomena and is a much-needed contribution to the field of religion and popular culture.
Religion and Sports in American Culture explores the relationship between religion and modern sports in America. Whether found in the religious purpose of ancient Olympic Games, in curses believed to plague the Chicago Cubs, or in the figure of Tim Tebow, religion and sports have been and are still tightly intertwined. While there is widespread suspicion that sports are slowly encroaching on the territory historically occupied by religion, Scholes and Sassower assert that sports are not replacing religion and that neither is sports a religion. Instead, the authors look at the relationship between sports and religion in America from a post-secular perspective that looks at both discourses as a part of the same cultural web. In this way each institution is able to maintain its own integrity, legitimacy, and unique expression of cultural values as they relate to each other. Utilizing important themes that intersect both religion and sports, Scholes and Sassower illuminate the complex and often publicly contentious relationship between the two. Appropriate for both classroom use and for the interested non-specialist, Religion and Sports in American Culture brings pilgrimage, sacrifice, relics, and redemption together in an unexpected cultural continuity.
For all the thousands of books that have been written about religion, few until this one have attempted to examine it scientifically: to ask why—and how—it has shaped so many lives so strongly. Is religion a product of blind evolutionary instinct or rational choice? Is it truly the best way to live a moral life? Ranging through biology, history, and psychology, Daniel C. Dennett charts religion’s evolution from “wild” folk belief to “domesticated” dogma. Not an antireligious screed but an unblinking look beneath the veil of orthodoxy, Breaking the Spell will be read and debated by believers and skeptics alike.
This book discusses violence and its connection with religion, sport and popular culture. It highlights the religious dimensions of violence and the role of violence in the religion and culture of the American South. Extending into popular culture, it then makes the case that sport—particularly American football—is a cultural phenomenon in the South with close ties with religion and violence, and that American football has come to play a central role in the civil religion of the South, fueled in part by its violent nature. The book concludes by drawing important lessons from this case study—lessons that help us to see both religion and sport in a new light.
Many of our questions about religion, says renowned anthropologist Pascal Boyer, are no longer mysteries. We are beginning to know how to answer questions such as "Why do people have religion?" Using findings from anthropology, cognitive science, linguistics, and evolutionary biology, Religion Explained shows how this aspect of human consciousness is increasingly admissible to coherent, naturalistic explanation. This brilliant and controversial book gives readers the first scientific explanation for what religious feeling is really about, what it consists of, and where it comes from.
From sacred mountains and places of pilgrimage to visions and out-of-body travel, this reference explores unusual and unexplained physical events, apparitions, and other phenomena rooted in religious beliefs. Each entry features a balanced presentation and includes a description of the phenomenon, the religious claims surrounding the occurrence, and a scientific response. Touring the world and history, this comprehensive reference includes entries on angels, comets, Marian apparitions, and religious figures such as Jesus, Mohammad, and Lao Tzu.
According to a profile in The Guardian, Mary Midgley is 'the foremost scourge of scientific pretensions in this country; someone whose wit is admired even by those who feel she sometimes oversteps the mark'. Considered one of Britain's finest philosophers, Midgley exposes the illogical logic of poor doctrines that shelter themselves behind the prestige of science. Always at home when taking on the high priests of evolutionary theory - Dawkins, Wilson and their acolytes - she has famously described evolution as 'the creation-myth of our age'. In Evolution as a Religion, she examines how science comes to be used as a substitute for religion and points out how badly that role distorts it. As ever, her argument is flawlessly insightful: a punchy, compelling, lively indictment of these misuses of science. Both the book and its author are true classics of our time.
Like religion, playing and watching sports is a deeply meaningful, celebratory ritual enjoyed by millions across the world. The first scholarly work designed for use in both religion and sports courses, this collection develops and then applies a theoretically grounded approach to studying sports engagement globally and its relationship to modern-day issues of violence, difference, social protest, and belonging. Case studies explore the place of sports in mainstream faiths, such as Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Christianity, and lesser-known religious groups, particularly in Africa. It covers football, baseball, and basketball but also archery, soccer, bullfighting, judo, and track. Essays reflect all skill levels, from amateur to professional, and find surprising affinities among practices and cultures in locations as disparate as Germany and Japan, Spain and Saudi Arabia. Thoroughly examining a range of phenomena, this collection fully captures the unique overlap of two universal institutions and their interplay with human society, politics, and culture.
Like no other nation on earth, Americans eagerly blend their religion and sports. This book traces this dynamic relationship from the Puritan condemnation of games as sinful in the seventeenth century to the near deification of athletic contests in our own day.
Annotation Ann Taves addresses the subject of religious experience directly and the problems of reductionism and humanistic fears of the sciences indirectly and by example. The orientation of this book is practical more than philosophical.
In The Games People Play, Robert Ellis constructs a theology around the global cultural phenomenon of modern sport, paying particular attention to its British and American manifestations. Using historical narrative and social analysis to enter the debate on sport as religion, Ellis shows that modern sport may be said to have taken on some of the functions previously vested in organized religion. Through biblical and theological reflection, he presents a practical theology of sport's appeal and value, with special attention to the theological concept of transcendence. Throughout, he draws on original empirical work with sports participants and spectators. The Games People Play addresses issues often considered problematic in theological discussions of sport such as gender, race, consumerism, and the role of the modern media, as well as problems associated with excessive competition and performance-enhancing substances. As Ellis explains, "Sporting journalists often use religious language in covering sports events. Salvation features in many a headline, and talk of moments of redemption is not uncommon. Perhaps, somewhere beyond the cliched hyperbole, there is some theological truth in all this after all."
This updated textbook unravels the complex issues related to methodology and theory in the study of religion. It equips students with the knowledge needed for the academic study of religion, explaining the history of the methodology, including ideas of key theorists, and discusses key issues in the field, such as gender, phenomenology, and the insider/outsider discourse. Updated throughout, additional material includes: -New chapter on colonialism and post-colonialism -New chapter on insider/outsider discourse -Coverage of 'cyber-religion' and the internet as a research tool in religious studies Study and classroom features in each chapter include: -Chapter outlines -Case studies -Boxed key concepts -Discussion questions -Chapter bibliographies The text is illustrated throughout with 35 images, and extra resources can be found online, including additional coverage of 'levels of religion'.
From neighborhood coalitions organizing against the building of a sport facility for professional sports teams subsidized by public funds, to global campaigns for equity for women in sport, to worldwide bans of apartheid regimes, sites and levels of protest, resistance and activism have been present throughout the history of sport. Contentious forms of collective actions are now ever more present in various forms at the local, the national and the global levels. Sport and Social Movements: From the Local to the Global is the first book-length treatment of the way social movements have intersected and continue to intersect with sport. It traces the history of various social movements associated with labour, women, peace, the environment and rights (civil, racial, disability and sexual), and their relationship to sport and sports mega-events such as the Olympic Games. Based on research conducted by a multinational team of authors that draws on theories of social movements and new social movements, the book includes a valuable chronology of social movements, illustrations of key episodes in the development of the relationships between sport and different social movements and an agenda for future research and scholarship. Written in a clear and comprehensive style it is suitable for all levels of higher education, researchers and the general reader who want to know more about the role that sport has played in the development of social movements and campaigns for social justice.
Updated throughout, the third edition of the acclaimed Sacred Fury explores violence in world religion. Featuring new material on violence in Buddhism and Hinduism, the rise of ISIS, “lone wolf terrorists,” and more, this is an essential text for understanding the connections between religion and violence both historically and today.
Understanding the Religions of the World offers a new approach to the study of religion which moves away from the purely descriptive and instead helps students understand how religions actually ‘work’. Covering all the main faith traditions, it combines historical context, contemporary beliefs and practices, and original theory, with numerous study features and valuable overviews. A major new student-focused textbook concentrating on contemporary practices and beliefs of world religions Brings together a team of experts to provide a uniquely comprehensive coverage of religious traditions, including African religions and the religions of Oceania, which are rarely covered in detail Integrates original theory by arguing that each religion operates according to its own logic and order, and that they fulfill our need for a point of orientation Incorporates extensive student features including chapter introductions, ‘did you know?’ sections, boxed examples/material, numerous images and maps, conclusions, study questions, in addition to teaching plans and video footage of rituals and festivals, available on publication at www.wiley.com/go/deming
Sport is a geographic phenomenon. The physical and organizational infrastructure of sport occupies a prominent place in our society. This important book takes an explicitly spatial approach to sport, bringing together research in geography, sport studies and related disciplines to articulate a critical approach to ‘sports geography’. Critical Geographies of Sport illustrates this approach by engaging directly with a variety of theoretical traditions as well as the latest research methods. Each chapter showcases the merits of a geographic approach to the study of sport – ranging from football to running, horseracing and professional wrestling. Including cases from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas, the book highlights the ways that space and power are produced through sport and its concomitant infrastructures, agencies and networks. Holding these power relations at the center of its analysis, it considers sport as a unique lens onto our understanding of space. Truly global in its perspective, it is fascinating reading for any student or scholar with an interest in sport and politics, sport and society, or human geography.
Why has religion persisted across the course of human history? Secularists have predicted the end of faith for a long time, but religions continue to attract followers. Meanwhile, scholars of religion have expanded their field to such an extent that we lack a basic framework for making sense of the chaos of religious phenomena. To remedy this state of affairs, Martin Riesebrodt here undertakes a task that is at once simple and monumental: to define, understand, and explain religion as a universal concept. Instead of propounding abstract theories, Riesebrodt concentrates on the concrete realities of worship, examining religious holidays, conversion stories, prophetic visions, and life-cycle events. In analyzing these practices, his scope is appropriately broad, taking into consideration traditions in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Daoism, and Shinto. Ultimately, Riesebrodt argues, all religions promise to avert misfortune, help their followers manage crises, and bring both temporary blessings and eternal salvation. And, as The Promise of Salvation makes clear through abundant empirical evidence, religion will not disappear as long as these promises continue to help people cope with life.
Winner of the Distinguished Book Award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion The Emerging Church Movement (ECM) is a creative, entrepreneurial religious movement that strives to achieve social legitimacy and spiritual vitality by actively disassociating from its roots in conservative, evangelical Christianity and "deconstructing" contemporary expressions of Christianity. Emerging Christians see themselves as overturning outdated interpretations of the Bible, transforming hierarchical religious institutions, and re-orienting Christianity to step outside the walls of church buildings toward working among and serving others in the "real world." Drawing on ethnographic observation of emerging congregations, pub churches, neo-monastic communities, conferences, online networks, in-depth interviews, and congregational surveys in the US, UK, and Ireland, Gerardo Marti and Gladys Ganiel provide a comprehensive social-scientific analysis of the development and significance of the ECM. Emerging Christians, they find, are shaping a distinct religious orientation that encourages individualism, deep relationships with others, new ideas about the nature of truth, doubt, and God, and innovations in preaching, worship, Eucharist, and leadership.
Presents a groundbreaking investigation into the origins of morality at the core of religion and politics, offering scholarly insight into the motivations behind cultural clashes that are polarizing America.

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