On sport as a substitute for war (and religion)

Karen Armstrong says that we are violent creatures.



Karen Armstrong says that we are violent creatures.


Organised sport is also not only a substitute for violence but also a substitute for organised religion. It gives people moments of transcendence, a sense of belonging, a point to every week, moments of high and solidarity, and shapes people’s lives. And so I think that in our secularising societies, certainly in the UK, sport does have that function and it’s getting more and more violent. Even tennis, all this grunting and yelling – you know, when I was growing up people used to be much more polite about things. But the gloves seem now to be off, and violence will out. We are violent creatures, so we have to come to terms with our violence and not use religion as some kind of scapegoat – to put all the blame on religion.