‘Concussion’ movie released: How can real Christians remain in denial and encourage sports violence?


A Sony movie about sports violence was released today.  Perhaps its release will get those who think that they might be Philadelphian Christians to consider that encouraging sports violence is wrong.

Here is some information about the movie from the official Sony site:

Will Smith stars in Concussion, a dramatic thriller based on the incredible true David vs. Goliath story of American immigrant Dr. Bennet Omalu, the brilliant forensic neuropathologist who made the first discovery of CTE, a football-related brain trauma, in a pro player and fought for the truth to be known. Omalu’s emotional quest puts him at dangerous odds with one of the most powerful institutions in the world.

While I have not seen the movie, I have seen several pre-release clips and advertisements for it.

Basically, it claims that the National Football League (NFL) intentionally covered-up the facts about concussions and other risks to its players’ health.  It also claims that for exposing this, Dr. Bennet Omalu was discredited, threatened, etc.  Kind of reminds me of what started to happen to me in LCG after I sent in a proposed commentary about why Christians should not watch violent sports like American tackle football and boxing–one or more LCG ministers in Charlotte worked to attempt to discredit me.  However, American tackle football is harmful.

Notice also the following:

December 20, 2015

Some 5,000 former players sued the NFL over brain injuries, claiming the multibillion-dollar league concealed the dangers of repeated head trauma. The players agreed to a settlement that could cost the league $1 billion, but the settlement remains tied up in the courts.

Smith, nominated for a Golden Globe award for his performance in “Concussion,” said that as a football dad, he was conflicted about starring in the movie because he had been unaware before meeting Omalu of the scientific research.

“I had watched my son play football for four years, and I didn’t know. And just as a parent I felt like I had to be a part of this,” Smith said.

Smith said Omalu’s quest for the truth “become our quest also to deliver the truth. People have to know,” Smith said.

In 2011, lawyer Jason Luckasevic filed the first two lawsuits against the NFL on behalf of more than 120 retired players over their brain injuries.

“This is not the story of the guy who is crying the blues about his one concussion,” Luckasevic said. “This is the story of guys like Mike Webster who suffered repeated trauma, practice after practice, day after day, game after game.”

Luckasevic said in light of the movie “people will now have to make their informed choices knowing that football is not really different from boxing, that you can get (brain injuries) from hitting your head thousands of times during the course of a season.”

Walker, who retired from the NFL after the 1985 season, said the league “is filthy rich and needs to focus on the survival of its players.”  http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/concussion/

Even today, many do not wish to seriously consider that American football is truly harmful, despite the facts, and would prefer that I not post about it.

The Bible suggests otherwise:

1 Cry aloud, spare not;
Lift up your voice like a trumpet;
Tell My people their transgression,
And the house of Jacob their sins. (Isaiah 58:1)

The reality is that American tackle football is dangerous–the players get harmed. This really is not debatable as it is an established fact. Notice also the following:

September 5, 2015

Though ligament tears and broken bones are well-known, all of those violent hits football players take could be leading to hypertension and potentially chronic and traumatic brain injuries, researchers at Georgia Regents University say. …

The GRU team focused its attention on what are called damage-associated molecular patterns, which would be released during violent hits. The NFL estimates that linemen receive 100 to 130 hits per game, Webb said. The damage to cells releases those factors, which then activate other factors and receptors well known for being involved in inflammation.

Those receptors are on blood vessel cells and immune cells as well, according to the GRU study. They have been shown to be involved in inflammation in the brain, where concussions and their long-term consequences are already a concern for football players. One devastating outcome could be chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, which leads to widespread brain damage and for many former players memory loss, confusion, behavioral changes and dementia.

“I definitely think, related to the concussions, that hypertension during the season could make their CTE prognosis worse,” McCarthy said. Or those factors might contribute to conditions that would lead to that chronic traumatic damage on their own, he said. …

Earlier this year, the NFL agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by former players that would pay for those who had incurred certain conditions, including “certain cases of chronic traumatic encephalopathy … diagnosed after death,” http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/health/2015-09-05/football-hits-could-lead-hypertension-worsening-concussions-gru-researchers

Football Players At All Levels At Concussion Risk

September 3, 2014

Concussions and traumatic brain injury don’t just affect former NFL players, they strike high school players and college players as well. http://www.legalexaminer.com/head-brain-injuries/football-players-at-all-levels-at-concussion-risk/

There is no doubt that American tackle football is dangerous to health. While some in the world consider watching it to be an ‘ethical uncertainty,’ true Philadelphia Christians (as well many who are not) realize that something about this sport is physically harmful and should not be encouraged.

Those who claim that encouraging American tackle football is fine are NOT Philadelphian Christians. American tackle football causes real damage. Damage that should not be encouraged.

From the violence on the field, to the under-clothed cheerleaders, to some of the half-time antics, there is a lot wrong with American football.

Jesus taught not to intentionally hurt others, as it taught:

39… ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:39, NKJV)

The Apostle Paul also wrote:

29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it (Ephesians 5:29, NKJV)

Also, notice what John the Baptist taught soldiers:

14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages. (Luke 3:14, KJV)

I could not reconcile loving my neighbor as myself and cherishing my flesh and not doing violence to any man by watching others do it in a football game. Nor the following:

9…You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:9-10)

Jesus also said:

20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God. (John 3:20-21, NKJV).

Is watching American football a deed that would be pleasing to God?

The Apostle Paul wrote:

12… they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.(2 Thessalonians 2:12)

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:28-32, NKJV)

Is not football violent and often unmerciful?

So, if playing football is evil, should Christians approve of it?

Additionally, twice the New Testament refers to the good news message as “the gospel of peace”:

“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15)

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (Ephesians 6:14-15)

Is not taking a stand against encouraging sports violence consistent with the gospel of peace and love? Or should ministers tell people that violent sports like American tackle football are not “inherently evil” as at least one minister has done?

Traditionally, early Christians (as well as some apostates who professed Christ) were opposed to watching violent sports.

While “love does no harm to a neighbor” (Romans 13:9), what do sports like American football and boxing do? Should Bible believers encourage this?

Unlike stories of violence in books or movies, American football involves actual violence and often physical injury–including brain damaging ones that are often not obvious for years.

The Bible forbids harming others or encouraging sin. Early professors of Christ would not watch violent games as they felt that watching was encouraging and participating in sin. For example, here is something from Theophilus of Antioch(who probably was part of the Church of God) perhaps written about 180 A.D.:

Consider, therefore, whether those who teach such things can possibly live indifferently, and be commingled in unlawful intercourse, or, most impious of all, eat human flesh, especially when we are forbidden so much as to witness shows of gladiators, lest we become partakers and abettors of murders. But neither may we see the other spectacles, lest our eyes and ears be defiled, participating in the utterances there sung. (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book III, Chapter XV. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition)

So, true Christians did not believe that they were to watch the violent sports so popular in the second century.  And he was not alone (for more details, check out the article Is American Football Evil?).

And in the 20th century, Herbert W. Armstrong categorized American football as evil. Notice what the late Herbert W. Armstrong (of the old WCG) wrote:

All Sports Not Wrong

Competition and not cooperation, is the attitude which Satan inculcates human minds. But that does not mean that all sports are wrong or to be banned. The law of God is based on the way of righteousness…The basic law is love, out flowing toward God above all else, and secondarily, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

To harm the other fellow and to gain by doing so for self is a kind of competition that is wrong. Hostility toward the other is sin…

At golf the one who wins is not the one gets the most by taking it away from the other…So golf is not a wrong competition–nor is any race at a distance, or hurdle race, or long jump, high jump, pole vault or other field competition in a track and field meet…

Boxing at Ambassador College is definitely banned. God did not create the human brain and head to be pummeled and knocked senseless by an antagonist.

Wherever a game in sports involves antagonists–in hostile attitude to harm the other and/or to “get” from the other–to get the best of the other then a harmful, satanic and evil attitude enters in, and the sport is evil, not good…

Football (American football) is a violent body-contact sport. It is often played with an attitude of hostility and is dangerous and is fraught with with physical injury. Therefore it is not played, but we do play American flag football, at Ambassador College. (Armstrong HW. An Overview from Higher Up. Plain Truth, July-August 1984, pp. 3-4)

Truly , COMPETITION, not cooperation is the attitude Satan innoculates into human minds…To HARM the other fellow, and to gain by so doing for SELF, is a kind of competition that is wrong. Hostility toward the other is sin…

Behind my back when I was away from Pasadena all but about 60 days in a year , others without my knowledge or consent got Ambassador into intercollegiate competition. THE RESULTS WERE BAD! That is OFFICIALLY
BANNED from now on…

Boxing is definitely BANNED. God did not design and create the human brain and head to be pummeled and knocked senseless by an antagonist.

Wherever a game in sports involves ANTAGONISTS–in HOSTILE ATTITUDE to harm the other and/or to “GET” from the other–to get the best of the other–then a harmful, Satanic and evil attitude enters in , and the sport is EVIL, not good…

football , (American football)…because football is such a violent body contact sport , it TOO OFTEN is played in an ATTITUDE OF HOSTILITY, and is too DANGEROUS and fraught with PHYSICAL INJURY . Therefore it must be BANNED so far as participation by God’s Church or people is concerned…This is sufficient to illustrate the application of the PRINCIPLE of God’s Law to sports. That participated in with an attitude of HOSTILITY toward the opponent is evil. That which HARMS mentally or physically an opponent is evil.

Satan is the author of COMPETITION based on hostility, harm to the opponent, GETTING by taking FROM an opponent–to his harm or loss. God’s way is LOVE TOWARD neighbor equal to love of self. (Armstrong HW. Not all sports are banned. Pastor General’s Report, Volume 2, Issue 36, September 5, 1980)

I once gave a speech at the old WCG Spokesman’s Club opposing football and watching the then upcoming Super Bowl game. Sadly, it was not well received. While some who claim to be Philadelphia Christians try to justify watching American football, they should realize that the 1980 comments by Herbert Armstrong were made mainly in response to how he saw supposed Christians playing and viewing sports that, of themselves, he did not oppose. He then took his criticisms of competitive sports to the next level, and did not just condemn the improper competitive attitudes of sports participants/fans, but the violent sports themselves.

You may be telling yourself, well since your church (presuming you do not support a group like the Continuing Church of God which does) does not condemn American tackle football (and/or possibly encourages it) the Bible really does not apply here. If so, be careful about accepting that that type of tradition. Jesus Himself taught:

7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:

8 “These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
9 And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. (Matthew 15:7-9)

14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,

‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ — and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked — 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. (Revelation 3:14-19)

I do not watch American football. I consider that it is evil (also, no Christian can really defend how professional football cheerleading females are often publicly dressed and displayed). Others want to falsely act like there is nothing wrong with watching it.

Some may not wish to hear about any of the evils of violent sports, and instead prefer smooth things, but hopefully I have tried to follow the Apostle Paul who declared:

26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27 For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. (Acts 20:26-27)

The bodies and blood of those who engage in violent sports is important. It does not show Philadelphia love.

Regarding American football, do you believe that Jesus or the Apostle Paul would endorse it? This is something that Christians, and those that claim to be, should think and pray about.

Those Laodicean Christians who are fans of American tackle football are NOT Philadelphians and will be subject to violence themselves as they will have to go through the Great Tribulation if they do not repent (Revelation 3:14-22).

Encouraging violence in sports does not show brotherly/philadelphian love.

For more scriptures, as well as the position of early Christians and others, please see the following:

Is American Football Evil? Is the most popular spectator sport in the USA something that Christians should watch? What do the Bible and early writings show? There is also a YouTube video available titled Should Christians watch American football?
Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare or Encourage Violence? Here are current and historical perspectives on a matter which show the beliefs of the true church on military participation. Is war proper for Christians? A related sermon would be: Christians, Violence, and Military Service.
Pornography: A scourge on society Is pornography harmless fun? Does the Bible teach anything about it? What are the views of some involved with it? Here is a link to a YouTube video Pornography: Harmless Fun or a Scourge on Society?
British and American Moral Decay Public nudity is becoming more prevalent in the Anglo-lands. What are some of the consequences?
The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots. They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent.

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