Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Sports Bloopers

I'm planning to do a series of posts about the philosophy of science. But first, the sports world seems to be demanding some attention. I'm a sports fan myself, so it is without pleasure that I turn the bloglight on some unseemly situations...

The Tour de France (which is, along with March Madness, my co-favorite 3-week-long sporting event) has been contested this year under a cloud of suspicion. Despite riders being tested every day of the race (including the overall reace leader and the stage winner without fail), only two (out of more than 180 racers) have been caught cheating. But then today, the rider otherwise destined to win this year's race was fired from his team for lying to them about his whereabouts the last two months.

The big three American sports are currently reeling from (shall we say?) 'issues.' A star NFL quarterback is in court charged with conducting dog fights at one of his homes, an NBA referee is alleged to have bet on games in which he had a say in the outcome, and a hallowed baseball record is about to be broken by a man whom almost everyone this side of Aunt Bea believes took illegal steroids throughout his prime.

But isn't sport--in this issue as in many others--just a reflection of culture at large? Why should we be surprised that high-paid athletes (and officials) cheat to make a buck or prolong a career, or when they think they can live above the law (in the case of the quarterback, Michael Vick)? The same thing is going on in corporations throughout our nation; remember Enron? (I have friends whose life savings went down the drain in that case.) When the best business schools in the land no longer teach that there is such a thing as truth, as right and wrong, why wouldn't some of the brightest students cheat others on their way to a fortune? Indeed, if what the schools are teaching is true, it's those of us who still believe in morality that need remedial instruction.

More than half of Americans think that when the President of these United States cheated on his wife (had an adulterous affair), it in no way diminished his qualifications for leading the world's most powerful nation. What we have here--not only in sports but in all of our culture--is a moral crisis, and that, quite simply, is what is to be expected in a post-Christian society. As Dostoevsky's character Dmitry Fyodorovich has it,
Without God... all things are lawful.
I think he was right. Having banished God from our nation's classrooms and public places, we should not be surprised when we see whole generations living without any moral compass. If naturalism is true (as is taught in virtually every subject area, not just biology), or if there's no such thing as truth, then the question becomes not "why do these athletes cheat?" but "why don't all athletes cheat?"


Anonymous said...

Very well stated

Anonymous said...

It seems that famous athletes, politicians, celebrities, etc. seem to think they are above the law, but yet you make a great point - what law? There really doesn't seem to be a moral law in today's society. The very nature of law/truth requires us to determine a wrong from a right or else, by definition, it would cease to exist since they are co-dependent. How quickly everyone forgets when faced with an issue or decision that has moral or ethical consequences where the foundation of right and wrong is derived - our Almighty God. Many would be better served to simply admit they did something because they just wanted to or it felt good vs. trying to justify it in some cultural mentality.