Philadelphia Atheists Meetup Message Board Philosophy and Critical Thinking › Olympian Religiosity

Olympian Religiosity

nicholas
nicholas
Audubon, NJ
Post #: 7
I’ve been tuning into this year’s Olympics and have been watching USA do an outstanding job. But, one thing I’ve noticed is the amount of religiosity among these athletes. During many interviews with team USA’s winners and losers, I’ve noticed many have had some words giving thanks and respect to the big fellow in the sky. This struck me as odd, hearing a majority invoke God. Gabby Douglas, the winner of the gymnastics all-around, said something along the lines of, “reigning in his blessings”. She also did mention a bit about the hard work paying off, but regardless, is such religiosity really where many athletes are? I’m not looking to single her out and had only used this example as it was still fresh in my mind. However, it is definitely curious. Why would so many Olympians credit god for their accomplishments over their own hard work and determination? Now, here comes the fun part. I do have a theory. For most, it starts while growing up with the parents or early teachers saying, “Wow, you have some gift!” And, as they age and refine their abilities, those words they will hear even more so and from many more people, too. Back in reality though, it is just a misunderstood cliché that runs viral in our society, having most who use it not even know what it actually implies. So anyhow, not to cut this post short but it sure would be great to one day have some research on the subject. Hmm. I may consider doing this, too, once I reach the level of psychology grand master. But for now, I will only speculate. Anyone else care to?
A former member
Post #: 350
You see the same thing in the NFL, ultimate cage fighting, and boxing. Look at Tim Tebow. Seems that there are still a lot of religious athletes that come from urban areas. The quality of education in the urban areas is pretty poor. In Trenton the teachers don't teach evolution because the families raise their children to be religious, it may confuse them, it is hard for students to understand, and it is the last chapter so the teacher doesn't usually get to it. Even bright kids like Gabby Douglas may have families that are from the Bible Belt and loyal to the local church. The grade point average of athletes that put in huge hours in the gym or at the pool are not going to be spending as much time learning logic and science that leads to a courage to go against the religious dogma imposed by family and clergy at an early age.

John Z
Anne H.
thebat137
Philadelphia, PA
Post #: 393
I think John has pretty much nailed it. Add to all that the fact that religion is still a pretty dominant force in our society and it becomes a lot less surprising to see athletes mouthing such cheesy, thoughtless pieties. For kids growing up in lousy neighborhoods with lousy schools, athletic prowess is a readily accessible way out, and one that doesn't alienate them from their peers and their families in the way that can happen if they instead pursue the academic prowess that might draw them away from their inherited worldview. As John said, it's very hard to do both athletics and academics, especially if you're really devoting enough of your life to your sport to achieve Olympic-level excellence. And even if you *do* start to question the shared religious views of your community, you can rapidly find yourself deprived of the total support of family, friends, and mentors that is so essential to Olympic achievement. So there's selection at just about every level for athletes to thoughtlessly conform to whatever religion their families choose for them.
nicholas
nicholas
Audubon, NJ
Post #: 8
Yes, your answers are further worked out. But, if it wasn't for society, knowingly or unknowingly, reinforcing these lies, then perhaps an open discussion could be had, and these athletes could realize that it comes down to them, and only them. Hearing over and over again, from sports casters and the like, that these athletes have God's gift, makes me ill.

Speaking of professional athletes, I've always noticed a strong amount of religiousness, like from Tim Tebow (who couldn't, right?) and others who wear Christian symbols and pray before events, but I had hoped for more with our younger generation. After all, they are the Millennial generation. And even though this sample clearly doesn't define the norm I find myself feeling disillusioned. I mean what does this say to all the other children who desire to become Olympians or professional athletes. Clearly, it doesn't say that with your own hard work and determination you can one day achieve your goals and dreams. NO. Instead, it says unless you have God’s love on your side, it’s hopeless. And that's pitiful.
A former member
Post #: 352
There is hope. Many of these athletes may transfer that Olympian work ethic to academics. When they study science and logic as well as evolutionary biology, cosmology and physics they may begin to question the dogma of their clergy and immature youth. I can see Gabby Douglas going to Princeton and graduating with a secular view like Jodi Foster who went to Princeton. There is hope!

John Z
A former member
Post #: 5
This reminds me of a funny College Humor video...




It's certainly rooted in satire, but it definitely pokes fun at all the athletes that thank god instead of whom they should be thanking.
A former member
Post #: 760
I am glad Billy posted the last video in this discussion, I think it is very funny. Thanks, Scott(y)
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