THE OLYMPIC GAMES AND PAGANISM?
You can type in "Olympic Games History" on Google Search (or
any other search engine) and you will have all kinds of sites to
visit and learn about the history (ancient and modern) of the
Yes, they are said to have started in Olympia, Greece. Yes,
the Greeks were pagans, or heathen, or without knowledge of the
true God. They had many gods they worshipped in various ways,
some very bad ways, some not so bad, as far as the standards of
the world, innocent ways shall we say, like various basic sports
skills such as wrestling, running and whatever else was looked
upon as a sport skill in those Greek ages of the time before
As the original Olympic Games was connected to a pagan
nation (meaning a nation without the true knowledge of the true
God) that worshipped gods that really were no gods at all, is it
then bad or even SIN for a Christian to participate (this I use
all through the article meaning the Christian will still observe
the Sabbath and not participate in their skill on the Sabbath) or
even watch the Olympic Games? Some, because the Olympics was
connected with false Greek worship will say it is very much like
observing Christmas and/or Easter, and Christians should have
nothing to do with it - kinda shun it all in thoughts, words, and
Some might think this special event every four YEARS is part
of the "years" mentioned by the apostle Paul in Galatians 4:10.
Is this really so? There are studies on this Website that expound
the truth of Galatians 4:10. I will say no more here, but refer
the reader to those studies.
Let's suppose there is a case for not observing in any form
the Olympic Games.
We now need to ask some questions.
Is it wrong also to observe the WINTER Olympic Games, in
viewing or participating? Is the Winter Olympics connected to
some pagan nation that we can find in history did winter sport
skills in the name of their god or gods? What about the "year"
the Winter Olympics are held (it is now not the same year as the
summer Olympics, it was changed in the last decade or so as I
write in 2008). Is there some "mystic religion" tied to the
"year" of those world Athletic Games?
We could ask the question what about the MANY sport skills
in either of the Olympic Games (summer or winter) that most
definitely were not in the original Greek games in the Olympia
city. Is the type of sport skills that were in the original
Olympia Games SIN while the other sport skills are not sin? Is
part of the Summer or Winter Olympic Games sin while other part
are not sin? Can we watch SOME sport skills and not watch others
because they are tied into in some way, back to the Games in
IF you could insist that BOTH the Summer and Winter Olympic
Games are sinful paganism not for Christians to enter into in any
form. What about the "World" Championship Games that are held on
a regular basis for track and field, soccer, ice skating,
gymnastics and other sport skills? Are they also sin and not for
Christians to view or participate in? Are the "years" they are
held in a part of what Paul was talking about in Galatians 4:10?
Is there something about the "World" games connected to a pagan
nation? I guess some could probably find they are if they dug
deep enough, or twisted history to suit their case. It is
surprising what the human mind can dig up if it really wants to.
So, going with the argument that what we have put forth so
far in world sport events, is pagan and is sinful, we need to ask
the next question. Is the British Commonwealth Games (held in
certain "years" once more) of pagan origin and hence sin to view
and participate in? Again, some might say yes to that question.
Next question. Is the Pan-American Games (held in certain
"years") also pagan and sinful?
Is the World Soccer Games (held every four years) connected
with "years" and of some pagan ties? Well, certainly there are
probably some nations and their teams that do not espouse
Christianity, hence some may believe they are sinful.
Can nations of the earth "do away with" their "gods" as the
ancients had them, taking "religion" out of the equation, and be
allowed to still have their sport skill games, as shall we say
"cleaned up" from the clothes of the past, and be given new
clothes that have no "religious" powder on them? Or, because of
the past ages, are the nations of the earth forever condemned as
"gross pagan" for all times, hence no Christian should have
anything to do with such world games as the Olympics?
Can you find a specific verse in the Bible that would
condemn world sport athletic competitions, whatever name they go
There was a man on a church forum I was on some years ago,
who could connect paganism with just about anything brought up on
the forum, certainly when it came to various "observances." Now,
I agree some observances we have adopted to "worship" God with,
are from the pagan nations. But this man was so skilled that he
could probably, if he had a mind to, come up with say the color
"green" as having some connection with "pagan" and so Christians
should not wear green anything. It was kinda funny, or would have
been funny, IF he had not been so SERIOUS about it all. He was
dead serious about this and that and more of that and this, being
"pagan" and so Christians should not participate. After a few
years on this forum with him, you would have to have lived in a
convent to satisfy his demands that this is pagan and that is
pagan, and should be off limits to Christians.
I have found over the years (about 40 of them) that one of
the greatest troubles and pit-falls is that of BALANCE! And
another pit-fall along with balance (they often go hand in hand)
is PART TRUTH! Many have had part truth and along with un-balance
and they CRASH into all kinds of "cultic" mind-sets. I have found
that such people are just about impossible to reason with, debate
with, or to get them to see the WHOLE truth, and be balanced.
It is through much tribulation and pain that some have to
learn they have only part truth and with it are un-balanced.
I want to take you back to the middle 1980s in Oshawa,
Ontario, Canada. I was pastoring a small congregation. One
Sabbath in walked a middle aged lady with a few other ladies and
a couple of men. They stayed around for our after service
fellowship. I found they had many of the same beliefs. They were
Sabbath and Festival observers. We soon found out they were from
the Seventh Day Adventist organization originally. They were the
Branch Dividians from Waco, Texas. A year later they returned
again to visit us and discuss God's word. They observed the new
month day but claimed it was a Sabbath day. I presented to them
that such a belief could not be found in the books of Moses,
which should bear weight over all other books as they were the
books of the Law. What Israel did hundreds of years later as way
of tradition in making the new month day into more like a
Sabbath, did not take away from the fact that God in the books of
Moses (which came first) NEVER said that the new month day was a
A mother and her daughter were from the local town of
Oshawa, and spoke to me now and again during that year from their
Waco representatives coming the first and second time. I tried to
help them see the errors of the group they now wanted to join.
After that second visit of the woman leading them from Waco, we
never saw them again, UNTIL the TV coverage of the FBI at Waco
and the Branch Dividians. By this time David Koresh had taken
control of the group. The mother and daughter from Oshawa had
moved to the Waco group. The mother voluntarily left the Waco
Dividian compound early on during the stand-off between the USA
Government and the Branch Dividians led by Koresh. The mother's
daughter jump to safety (one of just a few that saved their
lives) when the Davidian's compound went up in flames.
The mother and daughter were interviewed after it all ended,
and I certainly got the impression they had learned an important
lesson, but learned it the hard way, and the daughter literally
going through the flames of affliction.
It was a lesson that part truth can be misleading and even
dangerous, especially if you are not willing to search the
Scriptures. Such not fearing the Word of God, not searching, not
meditating on all the facts and logic of the matter can get you
in trouble, and often that trouble comes in this life time.
THE WORLD CAN CHANGE ITS MIND-SET
Jesus once gave a parable about the people of the world
sometimes being wiser than the people of the light of God, and
that the children of the heavenly Father needed to be wise, and
in some situations and matters as prudent as the world.
The Olympic Games was done originally out of a certain mind-
set, of the Greeks and their gods. But I submit that over a large
period of time, which included the ENDING of the Olympic Games in
actuality, the RE-newing of the world coming together to have a
world championship of summer athletics, called by the old name
"Olympic Games" there was born a NEW attitude towards holding
these games of athletic skills. Gone was "religion" and
supposedly even "politics" though now and again some nations have
withdrawn from them, in protest for political reasons. But by and
large politics has been kept out of the Olympic Games.
In many ways I contend the modern Olympic Games cannot be
compared to the original Games held at Olympia. I contend that
the world has CHANGED its mind-set. The Olympic Games are not
held as part of "worship" towards this or that god. There is no
"religion" in the modern world of the Olympic Games, at least by
99.9 percent of those nations competing. Certainly individuals
may have various religious beliefs, but the overall of the
Olympics today in mind-set CANNOT be compared to the ancient
Greeks and their mind-set towards the athletic games held at
The overall attitude today is one of doing the very best you
can in your chosen field of athletics. There is much positive
good that is exhibited by the majority of athletes at the Olympic
Games. Yes, sometimes a few athletes show poor sportsmanship if
they lose, bad emotions can surface in some athletes, but this
happens in all human activities, be it work or play. The positive
good that inspires people FAR OUTWEIGHS the negative in the
Olympic Games, sportsmanship can still be seen in a very large
way in the Olympic Games, which can often be lacking in many pro
sports around the world.
Yes, I contend there is a great deal of DIFFERENCE in a
possible mind-set from the Olympics of the Greeks at Olympia, and
the modern Olympic Games of the whole world. There is no religion
in the modern Games, no honoring this or that supposed god. There
is no politics in the modern Olympic Games, at least most of the
time, some nations (and a few individuals) have brought in
politics from time to time, but the usual for most nations is
that politics should not enter, just as religion should not enter
the modern Olympic Games.
If you have done any length of time watching the Olympic
Games you will see MUCH good coming forth, overall very fine
sportsmanship, the attitude of doing the very best you can, the
inspiration of the underdog upset, honor, respect, the ability to
"go beyond" your expectations, the positive effects it can have
on children to set goals and to try your best to reach them. Good
dedication is taught, good life style habits of health and work
The positive of the Olympic Games is much needed in this
world of "win at all costs" - the positive of many good
attributes that people should have is all over the Olympic Games
for the vast majority of the times it has been held over the last
100 years or so.
If we want to claim the Olympics was a religious festival at first
and then sports were added, and then say it is something like Christmas
which is more secular now than ever, there is one large difference for
Christians. Christmas was accepted and adopted by "Christians" to indeed
be used to worship God with, which takes away from the true Festivals of
the Lord as found in Leviticus 23. Christians have not as a "church" adopted
the original Olympic Games to worship God with. They are not declaring them
some type of "festival" to honor the Lord, and so detract away from what
God says are HIS Festivals. Satan is not taking what people may claim was
originally a feast to a false god or gods, and trying to turn it into
a feast of the Lord, or anything even "secular" to the true God per se.
The modern starting up again (as it was closed down) of the Olympics had
nothing to do with taking or adopting anything towards worshipping God with,
hence Deuteronomy 12:29-32 does not apply. That passage is prohibiting the
taking of pagan rites and deliberately using them to worship God with. Such
would be the case with the Saturnolia and Ishtar pagan feasts that were
adopted by the Christian church and turned into Christmas and Easter, festivals
specifically designed to worship the Lord with. The Christian church (even
all of it, the Roman Catholic church and all the Protestant churches) do not
use the Olympics or any World Championship sports events to "worship God" nor
have they adopted those world sports events into "festivals" of the Lord to
take the place of God's true Festivals. Those sports events do NOT deceive
anyone as to the truths contained in the Bible or the plan of salvation
contained in the Festivals of the Eternal. Those athletic sport events do
not teach any "theology" per se, they do not deceive anyone concerning the
doctrines of true theology. The Church of God or Christianity as a whole
does not influence or guide or rule any world athletic events. The Church
of God does teach individuals to serve and obey the law of the Lord, and
certainly that would include observing the Sabbath even during the Olympic
Games or any other athletic events anywhere at any time. But the Christian
church has never adopted sports events as "festivals to worship God" or as
"festivals" to replace God's Festivals. There is a large DIFFERENCE with that
and the Christian church adopting festivals intended to worship God with and
intended to be in place of the Lord's Festivals of Leviticus 23.
Let me repeat: The truth of Deut.12:29-32 is FIRST, it is addressed to
the people of God, the church of the Old Covenant and so the church of the New
Covenant, to those who want to be the children of God. Keep that formost in your
mind, the ones who call themselves the servants of the Lord are involved. SECOND,
it is to do with taking something, a religious rite and adopting it to "worship"
God with it, to use it even in place of a truth and commandment of the Lord, that
would be the ultimate wickedness in God's sight. Ask yourself: Has the Christian
church, any part of it (such as the parts of Roman Catholic and Protestant churches)
ever in all the history of the last 2,000 years, been involved specifically, in
the world's athletic events, where the Christian church has taken over, claimed it
for themselves, made it a part of theology, and so used those athletic events to
worship God with, and to teach the rest of the world that it should also do what
it has already done? Has the Christian church, those who call themselves the
children of God, used athletic events to "change" "alter" "do away with" "abolish"
the laws and commandments of God, then turned around and claimed the adopted athletics
is now the law and commandments of God? NO OF COURSE NOT! Some will even be laughing
at all I've just said. Athletic events have decieved no one about "theology" or what
is contained in the words of the Bible. In fact the Christian church as a whole has
fully realized that athletic events do nothing per se for the spirituality or
"religious faith" as to what you believe are the doctrines and theology teachings of
the Lord. The Christian church as a whole will laugh at the idea that "athletic" events
could be adopted and made to be in some way true parts of the worship of the Almighty
and part of accepting Jesus Christ as Savior.
But a massive part of the Christian church, those who call themselves the children
of God, HAVE taken certain religious rites of the nations around them, and HAVE adopted
them as part of their theology to correctly (as they see it) worship God and Christ
with them. They have taken certain pagan religious rites and baptized them as "Christian"
and have then said these adopted rites are NOW the teachings and commandments of the Lord.
They have taken certain "traditions" of whoever from wherever, and said they are the laws
of God and as Jesus said to the Pharisee religious leaders of His day, in so doing, "You
have made the commandments of God of no effect, by your adopted religious traditions."
Now that is HOW Satan works to deceive the tens of millions around the world who call
themselves Christian. Even he does not waste the time to try and use "athletics" to deceive
and have millions sinning while they think they worship God. He's done a mighty good job
using replacements for God's truths, like Easter for Passover, Christmas for the Feast
of Tabernacles, Sunday for the 7th day Sabbath etc. He does NOT have to waste time and
energy trying to deceive the world through athletics, which the world as a whole would
only laugh at if he did. The only deception in athletics is that of those who try to
deceive us by taking drugs on the quiet to improve their chances of winning.
YOUR OWN CONSCIENCE
People will differ at times. Christians will differ on some
things that do not have a "thus says the Lord" on them. The
apostle Paul addressed those differences and how they should be
kept within the proper perspective of Christians differing with
Christians. There are many things in this physical life that our
individual conscience will allow or not allow. And God accepts
BOTH the conscience of those who allow and those who do not
allow, and teaches us our attitude of approach towards either
In Romans 14 we have a section to do with those who eat meat
and those who do not (vegetarians we call such people), those who
fast on certain days and those who decide to fast on other days.
Paul says Christ died for both. In this "liberty" we are not to
condemn our brother. We are not to put a stumbling block before
each other over such matters. If someone is in your home say, we
should go to full lengths not to offend the conscience of our
Christian brother or sister. All that God allows freedom in is
pure, but it is evil for those who participate in if they are
offended. We are to accommodate the feelings of others on certain
issues. All that is not of faith is sin.
That is the overview of Paul in Romans 14.
Getting specific. If someone truly believes in their heart
that the Olympic Games is connected to false paganism and is sin,
and they should come into my home (for whatever reason) during
the TV coverage of those Games, I would not put the TV on to
watch those Olympic Games. I would not want to offend such a
brother with such a view. Then I probably would not invite my
Christian brother with such a view on the Olympic Games into my
home during the two weeks I'd be watching those athletics, unless
of course on the Sabbath, when I would not be watching anyway.
This is how you would apply Romans 14 to people who would be
offended in your presence if the Olympic Games was being aired on
your TV while in your home.
On the other hand Paul gave some instructions on the "idol"
(pagan god) in 1 Corinthians 10:23-33. It's good to read this
section in a modern translation such as the Amplified Bible. Some
things may have a connection at some point with an idol (false
god), which is no god at all really, as you know the truth of the
matter, but some may have a conscience that cannot see it as you
see it. It is liberty and freedom from God for you, but not so
for the other man's conscience. If such offence is raised by
another then you are to go out of your way to not offend.
One example could be the "chocolate Easter bunny" - you may
know the god of Easter (Ishtar) is no god at all, just does not
exist, and the pagan connection that the chocolate bunny may have
to the festival of Easter, is also nothing. Chocolate is not sin
per se. The rabbit or bunny is not sin per se. You may have no
trouble buying a chocolate bunny at Easter time, just because you
like chocolate period. But a fellow Christian may not look at it
that way at all. He still sees it all connected with a false god,
during a festival dedicated originally to a false god, in a
certain month, within a certain calendar year. If he would
question your liberty, then as you do not want your liberty to be
evil spoken against, for his conscience, NOT yours, you would not
buy or eat that chocolate bunny in his/her presence, at that time
of the year.
Paul was quite adamant that you should give no offence to
anyone, that you should go out of your way to not offend.
But the point is that there are a number of things that are
NOT black or white in this life, a number of things that there is
no "thus says the Lord" on the matter, hence God gives LIBERTY
for and to BOTH sides of the issue. You may or you may not,
freedom to do or not do.
I believe the Summer Olympic Games, the World Championship
Games, the British Commonwealth Games, the Pan-American Games,
the World Soccer Games, the European Soccer Games, the Para-
Olympic Games, the Winter Olympic Games, and many other world
championship sports are NOT SIN per se. I believe God gives the
freedom to participate in and/or view those sport games if you
desire (within His law which includes Sabbath keeping, honesty,
fair-play, following the rules, respecting others, and plain
Christian love). He also gives you the liberty to not have
anything to do with such world sports, for whatever your view of
As the apostle Paul said, "Whatsoever is not of faith is
sin" Yet he also said, "Happy is he that condemneth not himself
in the thing which he alloweth" (Romans 14:23, 22).
Written and entered on this Website August 2008