Biblical Archaeology Review 41:3, May/June 2015

Biblical Views: Punch Thy Neighbor

By Stephen J. Patterson

Biblical Archaeology Review, May/June 2015

Nothing says “Love thy neighbor” like a punch to the face. Christian cage fighting is a trendy new phenomenon among some evangelical churches, which are organizing teams and forming leagues. At the website, one can find upcoming fights, buy logo apparel and check out a gallery of fighters in action, beating their opponents into submission.

In a UFC-style cage fight, men exchange brutal punches and kicks to the legs, torso or head until one or the other “taps out,” that is, begs for mercy. There is no head-butting, eye-gouging or biting, and no grabbing the other guy’s shorts. What appeals to the men who watch these fights is the total domination achieved at the end, often with the loser on his back, legs spread and clasped around the torso of the winner, shielding himself from the blows. To describe the scene as pornographic would be more than a little obvious. It looks like rape.

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