Those Wacky Pagans

It seems that there is no end to Olympics articles, and it’s ripe pickin’s for the Pagan Bloggers. This latest look into our pagan past comes from that bastion of tolerance and love Christianity Today who tell a tale of horror and woe from the time of the original Olympics and it’s eventual banning, and remind us that the moral and upstanding Christians had every right to ban it.

“new historical research suggests Emperor Theodosius may have had some very good reasons for outlawing the Games?ancient Olympia sponsored a few events the International Olympic Committee might just look askance at today. Not to mention what went on outside the arena.”

These included gory horse races and combat spectacles. Not to mention the nudity and prostitutes, surely any moral Christian would be horrified. Then again, if they were so against violence for sport they seemed to have no problem with it when it came to destroying pagan-era art and institutions.

“Theodosius banned the Games, along with other festivals, for being “too pagan.” Under the emperor’s direction, fanatical Christians closed and later tore down ancient wonders of the world, most notably the Temple of Zeus built in Olympia and the Temple of Serapis in Alexandria. Search a bit more, and you might discover Theodosius’s successor, Theodosius II, ordered his Roman army in 426 to demolish the impressive stadium of Olympia, which could accommodate more than 40,000 spectators at its peak.”

Violence for the Lord is different however than violence for sport, so I’m sure they were in their rights. Essentially this article is a defense of the Christians at the time of the original Olympics being shut down, and how The Christian Emperors were justified in their actions. The article ends with this dramatic “or is it” horror novel trope.

” Of course, all this is ancient history now?we moderns have revived the Games without all this mythological nonsense. Or have we? Consider our present-day Olympian anthem: “Ancient Immortal Spirit, chaste Father of all that is Beauty, Grandeur and Truth Descending appear with Thy presence Illumine Thine Earth and the Heavens. Shine upon noble endeavors wrought at the Games on Track and in the Field ? To Thine Temple, to Thy Worship, come all. Oh! Ancient Eternal Spirit!” Yes, athletes no longer sacrifice animals to Zeus. And yes, a number of Christian athletes are performing in these Games. But I wonder if, last Friday night when Eros descended to give his blessing on the ceremonies, Theodosius was frowning from beyond. And I wonder if we should have frowned as well.”

Yes, perhaps we should all frown at the fact that everything hasn’t become completely white-washed by modern Christian values, because as previous articles on this blog maintain our downfall lays with our reluctance to “choose” the one “true” God over all this “mythological nonsense”.

Jason Pitzl-Waters