Soccer as a universal secular religion

Leonardo Boff

The World Soccer Cup currently being held in Brazil, and other great soccer events as well, take on characteristics proper of religions. To millions of people, soccer, the sport that possibly mobilizes the most people in the world, has occupied the place religion commonly held. Some scholars of religion, like Emile Durkheim and Lucien Goldmann, to mention only two of the most important, say that religion is not a system of ideas; but above all, «a system of forces that mobilizes people to lift them up to the highest exaltation.» (Durckheim). Faith is always associated with religion. The same classical writer affirms in his famous book, The Elemental Forms of Religious Life: «faith is above all warmth, life, enthusiasm, exaltation of mental life, the transport of the individual beyond himself» (p.607). And Lucien Goldamn, sociologist of religion and a Pascalian Marxist, concludes: «to believe is to assert that life and…

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