Podcast: The Olympics and Sports

Mere FidelityOn this week’s Mere Fidelity, Matt, Derek, and I are joined by Michael Austin for a topical discussion of the Olympics and the place that sports have in our culture. We take the following quotation as a starting point for our conversation:

In their beliefs, Coubertin and his followers were liberals in the spirit of Thomas Jefferson and John Stuart Mill. Deeply suspicious of conventional theistic religions, they promoted Olympism as a substitute for traditional faith. “For me,” Coubertin wrote in his Mémoires Olympiques, “sport is a religion with church, dogma, ritual.” In a radio address delivered in Berlin on August 4, 1935, he repeated his frequently expressed desire that the games be inspired by “religious sentiment transformed and enlarged by the internationalism and democracy that distinguish the modern age.” Nearly thirty years later, Coubertin’s most dedicated disciple, Avery Brundage, proclaimed to his colleagues on the International Olympic Committee that Olympism is a twentieth-century religion, “a religion with universal appeal which incorporates all the basic values of other religions, a modern, exciting, virile, dynamic religion” (pp. 2-3).

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About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
This entry was posted in Culture, Ethics, In the News, Podcasts, Society, Theological. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Podcast: The Olympics and Sports

  1. The man who was . . . says:

    Reading Steve Sailer on steroid use has radically diminished my appetite for watching sports. I can’t stop wondering if any of these performances are real.

    • Yeah, I have huge doubts about many of the wins. Although he may be a sporting superstar here, I don’t believe that Mo Farah is clean, for instance. Wayde van Niekerk’s incredible time in the 400m is almost certainly drug-assisted in my estimation. Even if the British cycling team isn’t illegally doping, I highly doubt that they are observing the spirit of the law. I suspect that the IOC really wouldn’t want to catch any of the big stars anyway. If someone like Bolt were caught doping, it would devastate the sport. So it is unlikely that he ever would be even if he were.

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