The Olympics and C S Lewis

The 2006 Olympic Games in Torino, Italy are winding down.

Every time the Games are on, it seems most of the world is held captive by them. So much money – so much hype! I have never liked them and I had no idea why. Since they were originated in Greece —– I considered them “Hellenistic”! Not a good thing for the Jews …Neither have I read the “Chronicles of Narnia” or any of C S Lewis’ other books. This post I received from a friend seems to hold the answer. If you are an admirer of the above, I apologize, but I still hold my opinion. I will leave you to yours. Please bear with me on this one and ask the Lord for truth.

The Olympics and C S Lewis
By Berit Kjos

“During the ancient Olympic Games in Greece, a sacred flame burned at the altar of Zeus, in whose honor the Games were held. Its lighting signaled the opening of the Games, and its extinguishing signaled their end…. The flame itself is lit during a ceremony at the site of the ancient Olympic stadium in Olympia…. Women dressed in robes similar to those worn by the ancient Greeks use a curved mirror to light the torch naturally with rays of the sun. The high priestess then presents the torch to the first relay runner.”[1]
C. S. Lewis would have loved the Olympics. Its roots sank deep into the ancient mythology that had captivated his heart. Long after he chose to believe the Bible was true (1931), he continued to justify pagan myths as precursor to the Gospel. In his imagination-rich mind, he believed that “Christianity fulfilled paganism,”[2] for the two were simply a continuous thread of the same evolving story. Lewis’ description of his visit to Greece in 1960 fits that persuasion:
“I had some ado to prevent Joy and myself from relapsing into Paganism in Attica! At Daphni it was hard not to pray to Apollo the Healer. But somehow one didn’t feel it would have been very wrong — would have only been addressing Christ sub specie Apollonius. We witnessed a beautiful Christian village ceremony in Rhodes and hardly felt a discrepancy.”[2]

The countless similarities between Olympic themes and the books by C. S. Lewis remind us that human nature doesn’t change with time. In spite of cultural shifts through the ages, humanity faces the same timeless temptation to trade Biblical absolutes for the allure of man-made myths. The lures of the Olympics — titillating tales, spiritual ideals, triumphant power, fleshly sensuality, and the vision of peace and unity — match Lewis’ enticing stories. Take a look at some of them:

1. WORSHIPPING ZEUS
Ancient myths tell us that the ancient Olympic Games were founded by the mighty Heracles (Hercules to the Romans), son of Zeus, the reigning god on Olympus. This ancient theme continues to drive the opening ceremony of modern Olympics. One revealing part is the Olympic hymn, a prayer to Zeus, the ruling Greek deity at Olympus:
Immortal spirit of antiquity / Father of the true, beautiful and good … Shine in a roseate hue and for a vast temple / To which all nations throng to adore thee Oh immortal spirit of antiquity![1]
Many would justify this pagan ritual as little more than an affirmation of a benevolent spirit that fits global demands for a universal spirituality. But C. S. Lewis carried this pagan theme further. For example, he presents the Roman gods Mars and Venus as visible angelic deities on planet Venus in his book “Perelandra,” the second book in his Space Trilogy. Ransom, the main hero, was transported to that planet by some friendly elvila, angelic messengers visible only by the light they emanate. On Venus, the nude Ransom befriends an innocent Eve and protects her from an earthly, demon-possessed tempter. The ensuing battle kills the villain but bruises Ransom’s heel, which continues to bleed until the end of the story — as if a fulfillment of Genesis 3:?15.
The third book in the series, “That Hideous Strength,” is set in England. Ransom must now stop a team of evil, totalitarian conspirators determined to rule the world through modern behavior strategies and ancient magical powers. But stronger forces stand by Ransom. Having traveled to both Mars and Venus, he has continuing contact with the friendly elvila. Working with Ransom and Merlin (the Druid magician featured in ancient Arthurian tales has been awakened from his 1500 year sleep), they summon the mighty powers of the planetary pantheon. The first god to arrive is Mercury (called Hermes by the Greeks), the “messenger” god of dark Hermetic magic.[3] Lewis described his mind-altering power:

“All fact was broken…. turned inside out, kneaded, slain, and reborn as meaning. For the Lord of Meaning himself… was with them… whom men call Mercury [or Hermes].”[4 - page 322]

Moments later, Venus, the goddess of love, arrives. Mars follows close behind. As you read the next excerpt, remember that in the ancient Greek games, the athletes — all male — competed in the nude. Homosexuality was considered normal. The fact that Lewis’ lifelong friend, Arthur Greeves, was a homosexual,[5] may help explain why Lewis added these details before introducing Zeus.
“The three gods who had already met… represented those two of the Seven Genders, which bear a certain analogy to the biological sexes…. It would not be so with those who were now preparing to descend. These also doubtless had their genders, but we have no clue to them….”[4 - page 325]
“Suddenly a greater spirit came…. Upstairs his mighty beam turned the Blue Room into a blaze of lights…. Kingship and power and festal pomp and courtesy shot from him…. For this was great Glund-Oyarsa, King of Kings… known to men in old times as Jove [ Jupiter to Romans, Zeus to the Greeks]…. Then… Merlin received the power into him.”[4 - pages 326-267]

2. A GLOBAL ETHIC FOR MAN AND NATURE

Working hand-in-hand with the United Nations, The Olympic Committee established a set of goals and “universal rules” for human development. These include:
“the promotion and safeguard of human rights, as historically achieved through the [United Nations'] Universal Declaration of Human Rights….
“the recognition – in addition to economic and social rights – of the principles of sustainable development.”
“educate people to the values of peace, tolerance, justice, freedom, solidarity and equality….”[6]

For more ——— go to: Web Site: www.crossroad.to/index.html

Berit Kjos is a widely respected researcher, writer and conference speaker. A frequent guest on national radio and television programs, Kjos has been interviewed on Point of View (Marlin Maddoux), The 700 Club, Bible Answer Man, Beverly LaHaye Live, Crosstalk and Family Radio Network. She has also been a guest on “Talk Back Live” (CNN) and other secular radio and TV networks. Her last two books are A Twist of Faith and Brave New Schools. Kjos Ministries

Home
Like the UN and Olympic leaders, C. S. Lewis saw a need for a global ethic. Thirteen years after he called himself a Christian, he wrote “The Abolition of Man,” which presents the Chinese Tao, not the Bible, as a moral and ethical standard for all mankind.”

See you next time,
Shalom, Sharaka

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