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Bass Fishing: The Role in Christianity

Fish symbols and images have a special sacral meaning in Christianity. The mentioning of the fish is correlated with the ancient rituals and can be found in the Bible. Some Christians associate Jesus Christ with the image of fish as a symbol of holy ablution. Today, there are different fishing styles that have become a promising market direction. The popular one is bass fishing, widely spread in North America. However, this flourishing activity originally had a sacral meaning and was a vital ritual to be united with God in each Christian’s life.

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The correlation between the fish and Jesus Christ appeared at the time of the Roman Empire. The Romans persecuted Christians, and images of Jesus Christ were banned (Linzey 192). Therefore, secret symbols began to emerge in Christians’ everyday lives. One of them became the acronym ΙΧOΥΣ – “ichthys” (“Seven Symbols of Protestant Christianity”). It translates as “fish” and stands for “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior” (Parke). Fish was often depicted in Roman catacombs in the second century before Christ. This is how Christians designated the places for their secret meetings. Instead of Christ, who carries the sacrament, they painted a fish with a basket of bread and wine on its back (Parke). The fish also served as an identification symbol: upon meeting, one of the strangers drew an arc on the ground, and the second completed the second (Konisky 280). They understood that both professed Christianity and could not be afraid of each other through such a ritual.

The fish symbol can also be found in the Gospel. Many of Christ’s disciples – the apostles Peter, Andrew the First-Called, John the Theologian – were fishermen. Jesus himself told his followers that they should “fish for people” (Bible, Luke 5:10). Another appearance of the image of fish is when “the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish” for three days (Bible, Jonah 1:17). This action implies the purification of Jonah’s soul and ablution of the sins. The fish is also associated with one of the miracles of Christ: he fed five thousand people with five loaves and two fish. In the 1970s, the “Jesus fish” image became part of popular culture (Konisky 272). Young Catholics and Protestants hung fish pictures on bumpers of cars and wore them as decorations to demonstrate their religious affiliation.

Based on the information provided in the Bible, it is necessary to respect the life of fish because it was given to people by God. As a result, Christians should be wary of any form of cruelty or disrespect for life. Fishing is a direct dialogue with God and can be treated as blessed activity. However, it is essential to mention that turning fishing into a sport is disrespectful to God’s gifts. Bass fishing is the sport direction that requires profound skills and efficient instruments (Maahs et al. 102). There are even annual competitions held in some states of America (Maahs et al. 102). Basically, such actions contradict the sacral image of fishing and should be avoided by Christians.

Therefore, fishing is an essential concept for understanding the nature of Jesus’s doctrines. Being mentioned in the Bible many times, the image of fishing becomes the inevitable mediator between people and God. The famous bass fishing today can be treated as a tool to be closer to the Cristian doctrines. However, this direction was corrupted by the sinful nature of humans. Christians should consider fishing as the connector to God and the opportunity to be purified of the sins by this sacral activity.

Works Cited

Bible: New International Version. Biblica, 1984.

Konisky, David. “The Greening of Christianity? A Study of Environmental Attitudes Over Time.” Environmental Politics, vol. 27, no. 2, 2018, pp. 267-291.

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Linzey, Andrew, et al. “Orthodox Christianity: Compassion for Animals.” The Routledge Handbook of Religion and Animal Ethics, edited by Clair Linzey, Routledge, 2018, pp. 188-197.

Maahs, Brandon, et al. “Influence of Largemouth Bass Behaviors, Angler Behaviors, and Environmental Conditions on Fishing Tournament Capture Success.” Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, vol. 149, no. 1, 2019, pp. 93-107.

Parke, Blair. “Ichthys, The Christian Fish Symbol: Five Origin and History Facts.” BibleStudy, 2020, Web.

“Seven Symbols of Protestant Christianity: Fish (ICHTHYS), Cross, More.” Christianity, Web.

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