This post is for those of you who follow any sport with passion... and also anyone else who's interested.
So I'm a football fanatic... Soccer. not the American football. Now there is something I have been wondering for quite a while now and I'll explain this through a personal point of view and then draw parallels with religion.

I am a die hard Leo Messi fan, who is basically the footballing equivalent of Lebron James or Kobe. Basically a lot of us think he's the best. But a lot of others think Christiano Ronaldo is the best. So its pretty much an active online war. Football fanaticism goes on in the world all the time. In fact people have actually fought a war over it.

Now no one shoved Messi fanaticism down my throat. No one said believe in Messi otherwise you will burn in hell. I am not even trying to feel a part of the larger group of Messi lovers. YET... Yet when someone says Messi is shit(someone almost always does :P) I feel deeply offended... And then the fight begins. A lot of you will be able to relate if you're die hard fans of some sport/team/athlete. 

Now I know religious fanaticism has a lot of different theories as possible causes. What i can't figure out is this. Are the exact psychological causes that make me feel this way towards football the same as what Religious people feel towards their religion? If so then why do we have these behavioral patterns? Is there a more deeply integral part of our minds that directly lead us to put faith in something that is larger us?

Tags: Psychology, Religion, Sports

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Darwin's theory of group or multi-level selection is one possibility."Teaming up" is a product of our evolution. I think it's probable but some leading biologists including Dawkins do not. A regular member, Belle Rose recently turned us onto this gem.


Yes but like I already stated. The fact that there are other messi fans out there doesn't really affect my belief. I'd still support him even if everyone else suddenly decided not to. My belief kinda transcends into a more personal unbreakable code if you will. 

but thanks for link

You are teaming with messi and his teammates, not necessarily his other fans. In fact you may be in competition with his other fans. Just like the various cults of Jesus compete with each other. The multi-level effect leads to all sorts of manifestations. All types of Christians will band to together against Muslims.

Hmm... so lets say my favourite player falls from grace.. say 'drug abuse' scandal or even murder charge eg:Oscar Pistorius. A lot of fans will invariably lose faith accompanied with a huge emotional shock and a sense of betrayal. Can this be done with religious fanaticism as well? I know I'm stretching things here. Its just interesting to think about.

I think sports have joined religion as "an opiate of the people." FAR too much attention and energy are wasted on activities which are, when all is said and done, just a game.

And I'm not against sports. I followed The World's Cup, I watched a Portland Timber's game the other day. I expect now that I'm back in Portland I'll watch Trailblazer games fairly religiously. However, I don't lose sleep over these sports and I certainly don't worship players. Not even LeBron.

YET... Yet when someone says Messi is shit(someone almost always does :P) I feel deeply offended..

Really? Messi is probably the best player ever and a multi-millionaire. Not much to be offended by there.

Interesting. Very nicely articulated. 
Here I'd note that I am not comfortable with my favourite team or player being the undisputed best ALL THE TIME(throughout his career)... that would be kinda boring. But yes that pretty much confirms your distinction of religion and sport.

But do think on this. Could there be a way to make people lose faith in there religion the way I would lose faith if Messi was charged with rape? The loss of faith I'm talking about involves a feeling of both shock AND betrayal/a sense of disillusionment. Now a religion ending war doesn't quite kill the faith. It only kills the the most faithful and makes others convert out of fear ie: the loss of faith is driven by an external source rather than coming from within. What I'm talking about is externally inducing the idea and then letting people disillusion themselves. Do give it a thought. 

It's like in the movies. You can't have a hero without a worthy opposition: Batman vs The Joker, The Penguin, etc.; Superman vs. Lex Luthor; James Bond vs Auric Goldfinger, Sir Hugo Drax, Dr. No, etc.

Yahweh has his Lucifer.

Whether soccer, football, baseball, or any other sports....or religion for that matter, ... the so called "fanatics" will adhere to IT no matter what, and there will be others to challenge that!  This has been a human evolution since the beginning of society and civilizations.  "Someone" will ALWAYS come up with different ideas and beliefs.  This is human nature, and being a human, it is so unequivocally mesmerizing and shameful....

And, ... yes both soccer and religion tend to pull people together to arouse that intense emotional fervor.....BUT  religion has a basis for creation of humanity by higher Being that is much more than any art, science/technology, music, or sports could muster.  Remember!  The bond between creation and existence of human beings are so intricately strong that not even science can "release their grips on faith and devotion".  

At least,... we can conclude who is better player between Lebron and Kobe....or, Messi and simply putting up a match.  But, guess what?   With religion, it doesn't work that way.  Why?  ....because the emphasis does not rely on the "physicality" aspect.  What's more important is its everlasting and unwavering devotion, known as FAITH~~~

Sports fans really mostly care about the social aspects of hanging out with other fans, getting drunk and partying. This is why there are so many sports bars.


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