Sport Reshaping the Christian Spirit: The Origin, Development and Influence of the “Muscular Christian” Movement (1840-1920)


Author: HUO Chuansong, Lecturer, School of Foreign Languages, Chengdu Sport University.


The “Muscular Christian” movement emerged in the mid-19th century as a religious and cultural movement in certain Western countries that sought to instill Christian moral values through sports. This movement essentially resulted from the combination of the Christian perspective on the human body and the demands of capitalist industrialization. Objectively, it contributed to the development and globalization of modern sports, ultimately leading to the ascendance of Anglo nations.

This paper traces the historical background and evolution of the Muscular Christianity movement and its influence on modern sports. It aims to explore the foundational role of sports at the spiritual and cultural levels, and contends that sports serve as a means of positively disciplining individuals, strengthening cultural beliefs, enhancing personality, fortifying willpower, nurturing social responsibility, and fostering patriotism.

Through an examination of the philosophical underpinnings of Muscular Christianity, this paper elucidates the role of sports in bolstering a nation’s physical and mental prowess. It asserts the constructive significance and historical value of sports within the context of the Chinese nation’s resurgence, grounded in philosophical ideas and spiritual culture.


Christianity, “Muscular Christian”, modern sport

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HUO Chuansong jscc