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Muscular Christianity1

Muscular Christian religion

David Blankenship

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Liberty University 2015


This research paper peels back the beds of Muscular Christianity. It foremost takes a expression at the history of it, where it began, how it began, and who started it. It besides takes a expression at Muscular Christianity as a doctrine. Lastly it looks at modern twenty-four hours illustrations of how Muscular Christianity exists today through different organisations and ministries.

Since the creative activity of athleticss and games by adult male there has ever been the inquiry of how does feature and religion coexist? Thomas Hughes and Charles Kingsley through their novels helped humanity better understand that utilizing the physical human organic structure can be used as a signifier of sanctity and worship towards God. Muscular Christianity is a doctrine that was started in the Victorian epoch and is still in being today.

The History of Muscular Christianity

The construct of athletics and faith being in relationship could foremost be traced back to the New Testament with Paul composing athletic metaphors to the Corinthians about “Running a race” and “I have finished the race.” The usage of metaphors was influenced by Paul’s local business of a collapsible shelter shaper during the times of the Grecian games. The philosophical phrase and term “Muscular Christianity” began during the Victorian period which took topographic point about around the clip of 1803 to 1914. Thomas Hughes and Charles Kingsley are considered to be the founding male parents of muscular Christianity. Both of these work forces created novels that during this epoch to advance Christianity to co-occur with outward muscular shows of maleness. These novels besides condoned that engagement in athleticss could lend to the development of Christian physical fittingness, rules, and a “masculine” personality. Before the Victorian epoch most work forces to be considered right in the eyes of God must be good versed in instruction and academe. Kingsley and Hughes challenged this thought by saying that a strenuous outdoorsy life style could be every bit Christian as the latter. Kingsley’s favourite interests were runing, fishing, and bivouacing ( Watson, Weir, & A ; Friend, 2005 ) . Hughes established path and field, cricket, and was the boxing manager at Working Men’s College in London before finally going the Principal ( ,2005 ) . The clip of the Victorian epoch helped convey about the philosophy of Muscular Christianity and was seen by Kingsley as a disciplinary manner to the Puritans position of godliness during that clip. Historically Victorians focused to a great extent on the construct of wellness and the taking attention of a person’s organic structure because “Your organic structures are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God. You are non your ain, ” ( 1 Corinthians 6:19, NIV ) . Due to this focal point on wellness an inflow of recreational sports was brought into England.

With every new doctrine and thought procedure there is ever critics and naysayers. Before 1880 in America professors were extremely critical of this thought procedure due to the Civil War. Soldiers barely needed to turn out their manfulness on a playing field after showing it on the battleground and therefore frequently derided the construct of Muscular Christianity ( Putney ) .

Muscular Christianity in America was seen after the terminal of the Civil War. Work force in the mid-19Thursdaycentury after the war work forces were taking more white-collar occupations than traveling back to farming. War veterans saw the nexus between athleticss and maleness as a manner to maintain the courage they one time had from contending in the Civil War. An analysis of the YMCA is of import to the history of Muscular Christianity in America. The YMCA scheduling helped convey down the societal categories among work forces and created a signifier of manfulness that put accent on esteeming authorization and single self-esteem. The YMCA which was created by

Muscular Christianity brought about a bond between athletics and a moral significance particularly to the Judaic immigrants and Catholics in America. In the 20Thursdaycentury the Jews and Catholics used Muscular Christianity and athletics as a manner to go recognized socially. These actions could be considered unbiblical harmonizing to 1 John 2:15 “Do non love the universe or anything in the universe. If anyone loves the universe, love for the Father is non in them” ( New International Version ) . Sports allowed the Jews to interrupt down the stereotype of their race and made room for manfulness to be shown through to their ain people. For Catholics athletics allowed a proof of their morality and nationalism. Womans in the Catholic Church were given more of an chance in athleticss than that of a normal American adult female in society.

Muscular Christianity besides took on an influence in evangelical Christians by making athleticss ministries that trained up jocks and managers to be a informant in the kingdom of athleticss. Sports ministries came under onslaught in 1976 whenSports Illustratedcame out with an article labeling a turning craze in the professional cabinet room as “Sportianity” ( Blazer, 2012 ) . Players were being more unfastened toward the media about their religion but were non making anything to better the ethical value of athleticss which was seen by the multitudes as hypocritical.

The Philosophy of Muscular Christianity

Watson, Weir, & A ; Friend ( 2005 ) described “muscular” Christianity as the point that the relationships between faith, athletics, and physical fittingness come together. Oxford Dictionary’s ( 2015 ) definition of Muscular Christianity is, “A Christian life of brave and cheerful physical activity.” Muscular Christianity is a development of personality promoted by devotedness and it instills virtuousnesss that would function their participant well in life ( Armstrong, 2008, p.1 ) . Kingsley and Hughes doctrine of Muscular Christianity was to a great extent influenced by their past upbringings and life events. These two work forces created a doctrine that has adapted to the times of the Victorian epoch and even in modern twenty-four hours society today.

Modern Day Examples of Muscular Christianity

Muscular Christianity was springboard for athleticss ministries to get down and turn. Today there are 100s of athleticss ministries advancing maleness as a manner to be a informant and come in closer relationship with God. One of the organisations that some say helped distribute Muscular Christianity was the YMCA. The YMCA when foremost formed in 1844 by George Williams it was labeled by some as “Young Muscular Christians” ( Garnham, 2001 ) . The YMCA is still in being today but has in the yesteryear and traveling

frontward strayed from its Christian roots. In the United Kingdom entirely there is broad assortment of athleticss plans. Sports competition between churches in the athletics of association football and cricket are good publicized. An even more sport specific list of ministries exist such as Kick London, which is a association football ministry, Christian Surfers UK, and Logos Golf Ministries. SCORE which is a ministry specifically designed for advancing people to go chaplains in the universe of athleticss. These ministries are following the same parametric quantities of the Muscular Christianity doctrine but the undertakings are driven by a common end of distributing the Word of God through athletics and to feature. A recent tendency among the old ages has been the ministries focus on major athleticss events such as the Olympics and World Cups ( Parker & A ; Weir, 2012 ) . In the beginning stages of these ministries they called it the mega-event scheme. The focal point was specifically on the jocks viing in the games and the fans in the bases.

Modern twenty-four hours athleticss ministry has a tough undertaking in today’s society. With the big multitudes of young person playing athleticss on a day-to-day footing and devouring it by the hours it will be difficult to maintain gait with the secularist universe. Sports ministries must happen a manner to make ways for people to entree athleticss in a Christian environment while maintaining gait with ne’er halting secular circle of athleticss. The moral issues that is raised by the secular athleticss civilization is what must be stomped out by athleticss ministries.


In decision muscular Christianity is still in being today through the 100s of athleticss ministries and organisations. While some of the rules of muscular Christianity have become secularized by our society it still brought about a widespread motion that has taken clasp of our society. Muscular Christianity is a subject of ministry that the churches of today should still use and discourse to assist distribute the Gospel in this athleticss crazed universe we live in.


Blazer, A. ( 2012 ) . Religion and Sports in America.Religion Compass,6( 5 ) , 287-297. doi:10.1111/j.1749-8171.2012.00347.x

Garnham, N. ( 2001 ) . Both Praying and Playing: ‘Muscular Christianity and the YMCA in North-East County Durham.Journal Of Social History,35( 2 ) , 397.

Oxford University Press ( 2015 ) .Muscular christianty.Retrieved from hypertext transfer protocol: //

Putney, C. ( 2006 ) . Muscular Christianity: Manhood and athleticss in Protestant United States, 1880-1920.Nova Religio,10( 1 ) , 139-140. Retrieved from hypertext transfer protocol: // accountid=12085

Parker, A. & A ; Weir, J. ( 2012 ) . Sport, spiritualty, and Protestantism: a historical overview.Theology, 115 ( 4 ) . 253-265. Verite Sport in the United Kingdom.

Watson, N. , Weir, S. , Friend, S. ( 2005 ) . The Development of Muscular Christianity in Victorian Britain and Beyond.Journal of Religion and Society, 7. Retrieved from hypertext transfer protocol: //

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