Sports performance: Religious faith vs. atheism
The Sports Journal is a monthly refereed journal published by the United States Sports Academy. A journal article appeared in the Sports Journal entitled Strength of Religious Faith of Athletes and Nonathletes at Two NCAA Division III Institutions. The article was submitted by Nathan T. Bell, Scott R. Johnson, and Jeffrey C. Petersen from Ball State University.
An excerpt from the abstract of the journal article Strength of Religious Faith of Athletes and Nonathletes at Two NCAA Division III Institutions declares:
|“|| Numerous studies report athletes to be more religious than nonathletes (Fischer, 1997; Storch, Kolsky, Silvestri, & Storch, 2001; Storch et al., 2004). According to Storch, Kolsky, Silvestri, and Storch (2001), four reasons may explain why religion interacts with athletic performance. First, athletes may identify with religious beliefs for direction and humility. Second, athletes may turn to religion to gain a sense of optimism and security, benefiting from such beliefs following a disappointing athletic performance. Third, religion can be used for emotional and psychological support in stressful circumstances like the uncertainty of athletic competition, which can cause athletes an overwhelming amount of anxiety. Religious beliefs can offer the internal strength to persevere through the stress. Fourth, religion “provides a cognitive framework conducive to the relief of anxiety associated with competition” (Storch et al., 2001, p. 347). This framework allows relief from fear and anxiety on the basis of the athlete’s understanding (i.e., belief) that a supreme being is in complete control of the situation. For example, athletes may rely on religious faith to place a poor athletic performance in perspective...
Religion can be an important aspect in athletes’ lives and may serve a protective function against psychological distress and maladaptive behaviors such as substance use or aggression (Storch, Roberti, Bravata, & Storch, 2004). Viewers of sporting events can frequently observe athletes pointing to the sky, engaging in team prayer on the court or field, and glorifying God following athletic competitions.
Atheism and sports performance
Besides lacking the aforementioned benefits that religion bestows on athletes, atheists have higher rates of depression and suicide than the religious (see: Atheism and mental health and Atheism and depression and Atheism and suicide). This suggests that atheism is a detriment to sports performance.
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