Al posted a quote from Leunig yesterday that suggested a causal link between a recent UFC fight and increased knife crime in Melbourne – I’ll leave you to find your own problems or agreements with that argument.
The meta of that post has been pretty interesting, and I can’t help but think that we’re approaching this question in the wrong way.
Some pacifist brothers (Seumas has some good thoughts on the issue that are worth digesting) are convinced that violence is inexcusable in any circumstances and thus they are, as it were, conscientious objectors to UFC. Some of these opponents would suggest that the issue is so settled by scripture that this can’t be a question of conscience or liberty. I think the fact that so many people are divided by this issue suggests that it’s not so cut and dried in terms of “right” and “wrong”.
I can’t help but think we’re not being particularly Pauline in our approach to the issue – perhaps instead of asking if we should prohibit (through exhortation and whatever else) Christians from partaking either in the sport itself or in the appreciation thereof – we should be asking “how can we come to grips with UFC in a way that preaches the gospel of Christ”… that was Paul’s priority, and it was Jesus’ mission – more than coming and rejecting war and calling us to peaceful lives, he came and called on us to preach the coming of the kingdom of God.
Anybody who can’t see a nice easy straight line from Jesus the guy who submits to death so that we don’t have to, or Jesus the guy who enters the cage and takes our beating, is missing out on opportunities to connect the gospel message with fans of the world’s fastest growing sport. I’m not suggesting we take the Driscoll line that Jesus is a cage fighter… but some of the arguments against UFC are sillier than the arguments for it. I’ll leave you with some words from Romans 14 which I think are the most compelling scriptural words on the matter.
1 Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2 One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
5 One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.