Is it immoral to watch the super bowl on Sunday?

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Pilgrim Standard

Puritan Board Sophomore
I see no issue with sport or fitness in moderation. Team building skills, motor skills, reaction etc. can be gained through sport.

But, consider the Gymnasium built in Jerusalem under Antiochus Epiphanes. It was more than just a place of competition and fitness. It was the chief instrument of infusing the culture of Hellenism in the youth. It was built next to the Temple, and even the priests are said to have “gave up worshipping at the altar. They cared nothing about the temple, and they neglected offering sacrifices. And when the signal was given, they hurried off to take part in games that were against our teachings.” As a result of this, not only the youth, but the priests were swept away by the "culture" brought by a heathen run venue like this.

I plead warning against mixing with such institutions run by ways of the heathen. And I say this, as I have stated, the profaning of the Sabbath, idolizing of players, normalization of character of the players, the introduction of improperly dressed women cheerleaders (which are designed to pollute the mind of men young and old, in relation to women,) hyper competition etc.

This new gym with its unnoticed ephebeum has had it's effect on our culture today. Surely you have heard of or seen signs on churches in which superbowl events are promoted. Why is this tolerated? Our children are being taught that it is ok to engage in events where immorality is normalized in the “culture” of the event itself. We normalize it, and promote it when we partake in it. Oh! but we say, "we are reformed" and can look above this fray of vanity fair, but still accept it's fruits where we see fit without the fear of reaping what we actively sow.

Well nothing is new under the sun, and the fruits of this have been noted.


Well, I mentioned enjoying wearing a red shirt if the dye was manufactured on Sunday, or a bowl of ice cream if it was delivered to the store last Sunday, or using a pen that was bought on a Sunday even if you re-bought it at a garage sale, in an earlier post.

It is rather encouraging to even witness a discussion such as we are having in this world today. Andres has pointed out that none of us perfectly Keep the Sabbath, and truly we do not, to our own shame. Matthew has caused us to question things we may enjoy wrongly, and Miss Marple genuinely desires to parse out the question, “of what may we partake in which its essence, production, or procurement, involves Sabbath Violation.”

I think the issue at hand is the culture that we live in. Sadly it is dominated by an infrastructure that is based in Sabbath desecration. One is hard pressed to find employment that does not require Sabbath breaking in many fields today. (I mean fields where there is not a work of necessity.)

When we mingle with the ways of the wicked, and allow their council to be heard, (to even have a voice,) the rulers will take council against the Lord and His anointed, and we will face the seat of the scornful. We must remember that the wicked through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God, for God is not in all his thoughts, and that the wicked will walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted. This is where many of us live today.

Ask yourselves, if we lived in a hypothetical society in which the Lord’s day was honored as much as a society has done, and it was found that a manufacturer was utilizing methods or materials that made their gain from Sabbath Desecration, would you not shun the product in favor of a product not may on the Sabbath, out of love for the Lord, his blessing, and a love for your fellow humans? Since we are as far away from this as the Church has been in a long time, and we have engaged in globalization of economies and governments that mingle the ways of the wicked in such a way as to allow them to “set the stage” of activity in these spheres, our burden of checking or even our ability to check is enslaved.

Because of this, we cannot compare the threads or produce of heathen manufacture in one country, which was shipped to another country for processing, etc. etc. with an openly ungodly social event of vanity in which Sabbath breaking is made entertainment.

Ps 7:9 Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.
 

au5t1n

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Benjamin, I find your analysis spot on and refreshing. Thank you for taking the time to write that.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
thoughts below.

can you give a clearer example?

Though I'm not advocating either position, one example I thought of was that of a restaurant. You know the manager/owner opens the restaurant on Sunday.
Yes, but if you and your Christian friends don't go there, he will close Sunday.:)


You know there are employees who prepare food (unpack food etc) there on Sunday in preparation for Monday's business. Does that preclude you from enjoying the establishment or their product on the other days of the week? It seems to be similar to the example of watching the Super Bowl on another day when it was originally people playing on the Sabbath.

Oh, the lengths the creature will go to to create hypotheticals to rationalize disobedience!

How do you know your food was prepared on Sunday for Monday?
You do know the Super Bowl is played, the beer parties are held, the television commercials are played, on the Lord's Day.


If you abstain from watching something done by Sabbath breakers (even on another day), then do you also abstain from supporting a restaurant that is in clear violation?

Now think about what you are saying.

If one were to abstain from something done by sabbath breakers, you would not do anything... including with yourself. Including with your Pastor.


I'm curious either way. My general approach has been to look after my own practice and not directly encourage but also not get bogged down in secondary causes. But I wonder what is different (if anything) about the two situations.

It's not our role to engage in undue speculation about what someone else might have done as a pretext for rationalizing, it doesn't make any difference, so let's support the Sunday Super Bowl by giving it all the attention we can on Monday.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Logan,
That line of thinking leads to rationalizing anything.

Since immoral people did something on another day, maybe, we're not sure, we can't discern how we hinder others from keeping the sabbath by demanding, on the Lord's Day, them to work for our convenience. And in this case, to entertain or amuse us.
 
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Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
We're all agreed (happily) that it is immoral to watch the Superbowl on the Lord's Day, which almost certainly means we are all agreed it is immoral to play organized football (or other sports) on the same day. What about a casual game at a church event? What about throwing the ball back and forth? I am curious what others think. I take the position of the Larger Catechism, but many who subscribe to the Westminster standards don't. I wonder, then, what the consensus is here and what your reasoning might be. If this is something for another thread please accept my apologies and do let me know.

Remember what the sabbath is. It's helpful to know the biblical principles and doctrine concerning it lest we drift far astray.

It's a day, ordinarily, to cease from the ordinary work and play of the other six days so that we might prioritize the worship of God all day.

It's not ordinarily a day to play sports, take walks, jog, talk about the Super Bowl or tape it because those things hinder the focus of the day. I say ordinarily because there might be some necessity exception on occasion, e.g. walking if there was a health condition, but even then I would say ordinarily, NO because the sabbath IS different.

It's not so much what one CANNOT do,
The Sabbath is about what one is free TO do,
which is worship God in a way different from the other six days because we have prepared for it, and ordered our lives so that we do not, ordinarily work or play on it.

Much disregard of it comes from our being careless about it, as we often are of God's Commands. Because we value other things more, and our hearts are not right with God.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
Oh, the lengths the creature will go to to create hypotheticals to rationalize disobedience!

Scott, please try to be kind. This is not a hypothetical and I am not trying to rationalize disobedience. I've never actually watched the Super Bowl as I have no interest. As I tried to make explicit, I am genuinely asking what is the difference in the two cases.

You say:

Scott1 said:
I would even say recording it to watch on another day is a violation of command four because we are indirectly encouraging the violation, hindering others from keeping the sabbath, causing others to stumble, etc.

...

One aspect that makes the Sunday Super Bowl, the topic of this thread, qualitatively different from the examples you mention is that these folks (football) are earning their living on the sabbath, for something purely for your convenience, e.g. entertaining you.

It's not even a close call.

If I am not supposed to watch the Super Bowl, even a recording, because we are "indirectly encouraging the violation", then why is going to a restaurant on Monday--Saturday okay if we are "indirectly encouraging the violation" on Sunday by people who are "earning their living on the sabbath"? Also, it is no hypothetical to think that an establishment that is open on Sunday would be preparing for your meal Monday, even by washing dishes. How is this "not even a close call"? I really want to know what you see different between the two.

Just as an aside, before I get too focused on the things forbidden I want to say that my approach to the Sabbath is to look at its purpose: to feed my soul and to delight in God---anything that distracts from this is what I want to avoid whether "lawful" or not.
 

au5t1n

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
My own rationale for eating at a restaurant on Monday when work may have been involved on the Lord's Day is that believers are not obligated to ask questions for conscience' sake (1 Cor. 10:25, 10:27). If I purchase a meal on the six working days, I do not ask when the animal was slaughtered or the crops harvested, when the ingredients were packaged, when they were transported, or when they have been handled at the restaurant. It is food. At this point it is better to eat it than to throw it out, unless by abstaining from purchasing it I can provide good testimony to my neighbor. If I am unaware of when the food was handled, however, I cannot provide this testimony by abstaining from purchase. My neighbor (in this case, the restaurant employees and owners) will not receive the message. The best thing to do, then, is to purchase on the six working days, asking no questions for conscience' sake, and to testify against Sabbath desecration by not purchasing on the Lord's Day. If enough people did likewise, it would become unprofitable for the business to be open on the Lord's Day by simple supply and demand and profit margin analysis.

It should be clear that the same reasoning cannot be extended to the Superbowl. I have never bought the DVR loophole, either. If I recorded the Superbowl and watched it on Monday, I would be receiving entertainment from knowingly watching others dishonor God. It is difficult to know how a Sabbath-conscious believer can do this without mourning the dishonor to our Lord rather than rejoicing at a touchdown. Surely the former emotion would overwhelm the latter, and all enjoyment that might have been obtained from watching the event will be gone.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Oh, the lengths the creature will go to to create hypotheticals to rationalize disobedience!

Scott, please try to be kind. This is not a hypothetical and I am not trying to rationalize disobedience. I've never actually watched the Super Bowl as I have no interest. As I tried to make explicit, I am genuinely asking what is the difference in the two cases.

It is a hypothetical. It's okay to ask a hypothetical but one must understand they are usually without other key facts, and so, often incomplete bases of comparison.:)

You say:

Scott1 said:
I would even say recording it to watch on another day is a violation of command four because we are indirectly encouraging the violation, hindering others from keeping the sabbath, causing others to stumble, etc.

...

One aspect that makes the Sunday Super Bowl, the topic of this thread, qualitatively different from the examples you mention is that these folks (football) are earning their living on the sabbath, for something purely for your convenience, e.g. entertaining you.

It's not even a close call.

If I am not supposed to watch the Super Bowl, even a recording, because we are "indirectly encouraging the violation", then why is going to a restaurant on Monday--Saturday okay if we are "indirectly encouraging the violation" on Sunday by people who are "earning their living on the sabbath"?

Again, in your hypothetical comparison,
The Super Bowl people are earning their living and all that goes with it on the sabbath (and a lot goes with it).

vs.

eating at a restaurant because some part of food might have been prepared on the Sabbath, might have been,
or because the restaurant is open on Sunday.
How does that taint your observance if you don't go there?


Also, it is no hypothetical to think that an establishment that is open on Sunday would be preparing for your meal Monday, even by washing dishes. How is this "not even a close call"? I really want to know what you see different between the two.

Just as an aside, before I get too focused on the things forbidden I want to say that my approach to the Sabbath is to look at its purpose: to feed my soul and to delight in God---anything that distracts from this is what I want to avoid whether "lawful" or not.

Again,
there are a couple different aspects being discussed in this,
1) your obligation to worship (and to abstain ordinarily from other things)
2) your hindering others from doing the same.

A hypothetical, possible, indirect violation (the person is not serving you on Sunday at the restaurant) vs.
A game that is, and has been played, promoted and commercialized on the Lord's Day, causing millions to be distracted away from the things of God,

and toward entertainment, amusement etc.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
It's clear the Super Bowl is *only* a Sunday event.
So, no question what it is about in regards to the Fourth Commandment.

So, when one employs his recording device on the Sabbath to watch it, talk about it, etc. one knows what it is about regarding the Fourth Commandment. One huge, profaning of it.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
My own rationale for eating at a restaurant on Monday when work may have been involved on the Lord's Day is that believers are not obligated to ask questions for conscience' sake (1 Cor. 10:25, 10:27).

Austin, as I said earlier, this has been my own approach as well, and I would rather focus on positive aspects of the Sabbath than on negative. For example, I try to avoid the PB (and the computer in general) on the Sabbath, not necessarily because I think I would be sinning, but I want to avoid what, for me, are distractions.

I'm also not advocating seeking loopholes. But the issue I've had is that Scott has made the claim that watching (apparently) any recording of the Super Bowl, on any day, is a violation because "we are indirectly encouraging the violation" (his words). Well, there's a lot of things that can "indirectly encourage the violation". In my example, patronizing a restaurant that is open on Sunday could be considered an "indirect encouragement" in the same sense unless I'm completely mistaken. Scott has focused on the differences between the two situations rather than the similarities but it is the objection over "indirect encouragement" that I was trying to be cautious of. Over direct violation I think we can agree. Over "indirect encouragement" is where my focus has been, and I fail to see the consistency.

Regardless, I believe the main intent of the Sabbath-keeping practices is to keep ourselves free of distractions and focusing on God, the Larger Catechism seems to bear this out. To that end, I believe watching the Super Bowl on some other day to be a matter of individual conscience and would disagree with Scott in calling it "one huge profaning of it".

Note again that I don't watch the Super Bowl (I have no interest) or any TV in general. I am not, as Scott said, trying to "rationalize disobedience". But I don't see this as a matter for censuring those whose conscience does not bother them.
 

au5t1n

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Austin, as I said earlier, this has been my own approach as well, and I would rather focus on positive aspects of the Sabbath than on negative. For example, I try to avoid the PB (and the computer in general) on the Sabbath, not necessarily because I think I would be sinning, but I want to avoid what, for me, are distractions.

Yes, we are very like-minded on this.

But the issue I've had is that Scott has made the claim that watching (apparently) any recording of the Super Bowl, on any day, is a violation because "we are indirectly encouraging the violation" (his words).

I am not sure whether watching a recording can be encouraging the event per se, so I will let Scott defend that view if he can. My own reasoning is more in line with what Matthew and Benjamin said above - that we should not choose to derive enjoyment from watching others dishonor our Lord to the hurt of their eternal souls. My view does not concern the watching in and of itself, but rather the choice to derive entertainment from it. I think the same way about watching shows and movies known in advance to contain blasphemy and fornication. If I can watch them without being sickened by their dishonor to the Lord who bought me and by their influence on society - no, worse, if I can watch them and find them cause for laughter, entertainment, and regular consumption - then I have good cause to question whether I have been numbing my conscience.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
I believe watching the Super Bowl on some other day to be a matter of individual conscience and would disagree with Scott in calling it "one huge profaning of it".

You misunderstand.

The Super Bowl being played on the Lord's Day, with its attendant super festivities and commercialism is the profanity, that's the profaning.

What Monday is is a direct (not indirect, not hypothetical, not partial) encouragement of that profaning of the Day.
(And anyone doing so is reasonably expected to know that it is).

The Super Bowl does not exist apart from Sunday.

The restaurant does.
 
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Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
In my example, patronizing a restaurant that is open on Sunday could be considered an "indirect encouragement" in the same sense unless I'm completely mistaken.

Quite mistaken logically, and the comparison between the two is not valid.

One can always go to the restaurant on a non-sabbath day.

One cannot go to the Super Bowl on a non-sabbath day.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
But I don't see this as a matter for censuring those whose conscience does not bother them.

Here's the difficulty.

With that attitude,
the Super Bowl would always be played on Sunday, attracting many to profane the Sabbath in many ways-
watching it, beer party on it, commercialization on it, players earning a living on it, huge distraction of worship on it, etc.

And we see the argument about going to a restaurant, is a red herring.
But I don't see this as a matter for censuring those whose conscience does not bother them.
It's not that you object to both, you start with the assumption the Sunday super bowl is not profaning, and use the other hypothetical as an excuse for saying that.

Don't forget televising it generates the money for it, one way or another, this is all about making money. If you don't support it, and that translates into making (lots of) money, they will not do it. You don't buy it because it's on Sunday, they will move the day. (cf "Monday night football.")
 

Pilgrim Standard

Puritan Board Sophomore
I believe watching the Super Bowl on some other day to be a matter of individual conscience
Logan, Are you saying that:
1) you believe watching people break God's moral law for entertainment is a matter of individual conscience?
or
2) you believe the people playing in the super bowl are not violating God's law by doing so on the Lord's Day?
or
3) you believe watching the super bowl on some other day (meaning if the game itself is played on a day other than Sunday) is a matter of individual conscience?

I don't understand.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
Logan, Are you saying that:

Each of the three questions seems to be begging the question. I am saying that primarily Sabbath-keeping is about Sunday and how we can keep from distractions, and to say others are profaning it by watching something on Monday seems to me to be worthy of caution. I am not defending the Super Bowl, just cautioning regarding the principle being used to condemn it. It may be a correct principle.

I'm not advocating "enjoying" watching others break the Sabbath. Here is another example: parts of "Hobbit" were filmed on Sunday and the team worked "round the clock" to finish the movie. To re-appropriate your three questions then regarding The Hobbit:

1) do you believe watching people break God's moral law for entertainment is a matter of individual conscience?
or
2) you believe the people acting in the movie are not violating God's law by doing so on the Lord's Day?
or
3) you believe watching the Hobbit on some other day (meaning if the movie itself is filmed on a day other than Sunday) is a matter of individual conscience?

For me, my conscience is clear about watching the Hobbit. Am I indirectly contributing to filmmakers working on Sunday? Possibly, but I can't control other people's Sabbath activity. I can control my own activity on the Sabbath though, and that is what I am directly responsible for, and that is my focus.

It's not that you object to both, you start with the assumption the Sunday super bowl is not profaning, and use the other hypothetical as an excuse for saying that.

Scott, you've made several accusations like this. Please don't assume you know my heart. I am not defending the Super Bowl, I am warning against using the "indirect encouragement" argument. There may be great reasons not to watch the Super Bowl on any day. I'm concerned about that particular argument though.

Quite mistaken logically, and the comparison between the two is not valid.
One can always go to the restaurant on a non-sabbath day.
One cannot go to the Super Bowl on a non-sabbath day.

You've repeatedly missed the comparison. You spoke of "indirect encouragement" and that is what I have confined myself to. In that sense, yes, you can go to a restaurant on a non-sabbath day and yes you can watch the Super Bowl on a non-sabbath day. Both are "open for business" on the Sabbath, and saying that the one is different because it is primarily on the Sabbath is not convincing to me. You've also repeatedly called it a hypothetical. Unless restaurants are not open for business on Sunday in your area, then it is not a hypothetical.

I'm really done here. Let me reiterate that I just want to be extremely cautious before condemning others for doing something on Monday simply because it "indirectly encourages" others to do things on Sunday. If I haven't got that point across yet, then I don't know I ever will.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
saying that the one is different because it is primarily on the Sabbath is not convincing to me.

No,
because you are not causing the restaurant to be open Sunday by eating there on Monday.
Exodus 20
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

Quite different than watching the Sunday only Super Bowl.
(Remember, some of us have no problem with the Super Bowl per se, e.g. played not on sabbath).
 
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au5t1n

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Logan,

I know you're done, but I want to say that taking a different stand on a moral matter from another believer is not condemning him in and of itself. Some brethren here have expressed that they watch the Superbowl via recording. They are another's servants. I do not condemn them. But I will share convictions and the reasoning behind them in hopes that we might continue to press one another toward greater obedience to our Lord. I love the Lord, and therefore I want my brethren to point out my inconsistencies.

I will also take my leave here, as I do not think I can add to Benjamin's analysis in his long post earlier. For those who may have missed or skimmed it, please do go back and give it a read.

Sent from my XT557 using Tapatalk 2
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Regardless, I believe the main intent of the Sabbath-keeping practices is to keep ourselves free of distractions and focusing on God, the Larger Catechism seems to bear this out. To that end, I believe watching the Super Bowl on some other day to be a matter of individual conscience and would disagree with Scott in calling it "one huge profaning of it".

The first statement is true, keeping ourselves free of distractions so we may focus on God on the Sabbath.
The second statement, it is not "watching" on Monday of a recording of it that profanes the day. It is knowing that the event caused many, many and depends on many, many people profaning the Sabbath so you can be entertained Monday.

We are not an island unto ourselves. We must love our neighbor (Mark 12:31). Exodus 20:10 is getting back to that biblical principle. We cannot wash ourselves of guilt when we know we demanded many people to profane the day so we can be amused.
 
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