Modern Heathendom

It is virtually impossible not to notice something of the excitement of the world about the Winter Olympic Games in Calgary. At school we receive an astounding amount of material, including videos, lesson plans, posters, and books about the Olympics. Millions of dollars are squandered in order to idolize the sports heroes of man (more than $250 million is spent on new or renovated sports facilities alone). Countless hours are wasted. Drinking hours are extended. The Lord’s Day is trampled under foot. Immorality is encouraged by free contraceptives for all participants. Mockery with God is blatant by everyone having to catch ”the Spirit.” Man’s honor must reign supreme.

What is, really, the background of this all? The whole Olympic movement is nothing but a modern heathendom. The ancient Olympic feast was held to the honor of goddess Rhea. Young men would run towards the altar and the first one to reach the priest would receive the torch from him and lit the sacrificial fire. Throughout those early centuries before Christ, religious ceremony was the central theme of the games.

When the modern games were revived, a Frenchman by the name of Pierre de Coubertin was the chief organizer. He wanted more than athletic games, he believed in the ”doctrine of Olympism.” This included such ideals as ”the creation of a movement whose membership transcends racial, religious, political and economic categories, a brotherhood that promotes understanding and thus contributes to world peace.”

At the opening ceremonies, all countries march in with flags and official uniforms. There is a salute of three guns and a release of doves, as a symbol of peace. The Olympic flame, called a ”sacred flame” is then brought in. This flame comes from the altar of Hera, in Greece, the wife of Zeus, the chief god.

This modern heathen religion becomes even more manifest in the taking of the oath by the flag bearers of each country. ”In the name of all competitors I promise that we will take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honor of our teams.” Note who must be glorified - man.

At the closing ceremony all the competitors march from the arena mixed as one whole group. This symbolizes that man is achieving peace and understanding among each other by following this ”doctrine of Olympism.”

When the Frenchman de Courbertin spoke of an -athletic religion,” he meant what he said. After his death, his heart was buried in Greece at the site of the ancient games.

How did the Christian church regard all this in the past’? The Greek games had their height before the spread of Christianity. The Roman games of the gladiators fighting each other to death was a bloodier version of the Greek games to please the masses. Ignatius, the bishop of Antioch, called the Roman games one of the most ”cruel tortures of the devil.” The old church refused to baptize voluntary gladiators and whoever attended the games was excommunicated. The Christian emperor Theodosius closed the festival place of Olympia in 394 A.D. The games then only lasted but a brief while.

In the years 522 and 551 two large earthquakes destroyed the temple and changed the course of a nearby river. Olympia was literally buried under massive layers of swampy sand and gravel.

Sixty years ago, in 1928, the Olympics were held in Amsterdam. God’s faithful servants of those days seriously warned against it. Rev. G. H. Kersten issued a flaming protest in the Second Chamber of the Estates General. ”For the honor of God and the salvation of the country,” it would be a joy to him if the games would pass by the Netherlands. Since those days the sinfulness has only grown worse.

To give just one more example, the Boekowski Stichting, a research foundation in Amsterdam, has published figures for the years since the 1952 summer Games that show that no less than 59 Soviet participants died. The reasons’? For the majority the causes of death were training methods, the use of medicines, and biological and physiological experiments. For the USA and West German the figures were 14 and 12.

Nowadays the media excites the masses more than ever before. The true character of this false religion undeniably reveals itself. People even boldly say that the Olympic flame brings from darkness to light. Indeed, the Olympics are a modern heathendom.

We live in an evil time. The powers of darkness and the spirit of worldliness do not go past our doors. No, sad to say, they find an open access to our hearts; our corrupt nature loves to have it so. May he that reproveth in the gate be not wanting. Our young people, especially, must be warned to stay away from such wickedness. But, moreover, may the Lord’s people be brought to the inner chamber to sigh unto the throne of heaven for our poor nation, for our poor youth, for our poor souls on the way to the never-ending eternity.