This may be an extreme case of sports worship. Two Dodger fans beat up and assaulted three Giants fans and left one hurt pretty bad (story here). It is certainly further along the sinful line of rebellion. There actions reveal their idolatry and overvaluing the Dodgers and sports. But I am not guiltless. When I make the Lakers my god and worship them (by valuing them more than God or even more than I should), I sacrifice emotional energy, precious time with my kids or wife, and a weakening of my passion for God. I’m not saying that every time I watch the Lakers it’s idolatry and Sports-Team-Worship, but if I’m honest, sometime it is.
It’s hard to draw the line between godly appreciation of a game and team spirit versus team worship and sports fanaticism. There’s a place in following Christ for competition, cheering, and passion for your team. But when you love that more than God and the things of God, or when you place that above things you shouldn’t (like loving your neighbor, not physically assaulting them, cursing out the players your competing against, not being able to get over a loss to engage the more important things in life, or complaining/grumbling against God [Philippians 2:14-15]), then you can be sure you’ve crossed the line into idolatry.
- Listen/Watch C.J. Mahaney’s message, “Don’t Waste Your Sports“
- Resources on Idolatry by Tim Keller, John Piper, David Powlison, Mark Driscoll, and others.