Re: Olympic piety

Kurt Rongey (
Mon, 29 Jul 1996 23:59:28 -0500

Max More:
> I think there are ways of achieving extreme
> focus, but I seriously doubt that believing in a God helps much. When the
> runner said "the first person I want to thank is God", she was simply
> interpreting her victory in terms of her religious beliefs. She didn't see
> how utterly absurd this was (why should God favor her?). The fact that she
> interpreted the result that way is not evidence that her belief helped her
> win. How would her belief help? If she believes her winning is inevitable
> because God is on her side, she might actually train less hard. Someone who
> believes it's up to them, and believes that they *can* win through maximum
> effort, seems to have a better chance (other things being equal).

Kurt Rongey:
But apparently they didn't, since she went ahead and won the race,
this limitation you would claim she had. So, either:
a) she was lying, and doesn't really believe God had anything to
do with it. or
b) her competitors were also depending on "God's grace" and
didn't get it. or
c) her competitors were rational thinkers with high motivation,
but just happened to be lousy runners. or
d) a mix of b & c. or
e) she somehow found a compatibility between her belief in God and
the drive to do the work it takes to win an olympic medal.

Maybe the Believer has stronger motivation when doing it for God
(who is flawless and radiant and created the universe and all of that),
than the one who is doing it for his or herself (who takes a crap
every day, had acne as a kid, etc).

My point is that that certainty and determination have to come from
somewhere, and must be intense to survive through the years of
training. Pure love of the activity is probably the greatest reason
for having the drive to excel in it, no matter whether one wants to
thank a mystical being for it or not.

BTW, I don't know what Donovan Bailey (Canadian 100m world record guy)
for motivation, but hot damn, how about that look on his face after the

Kurt Rongey =============== ==========