Olympic Values, Religion Values

Olympic Values on Scoreboard

A recent symposium on Olympic Values examined these values further and revealed aspects of these values which are found in all the world’s religions.

Olympic Values were laid out by the founder of the modern Olympic Movement, Baron Pierre de Coubertin:

  • Friendship
  • Excellence
  • Respect

The Paralympic Games states that participation in sport is a basic human right:

The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practising sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play….Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to
the Olympic Movement.

The Paralympic Games gives four values:

  • Inspiration
  • Determination
  • Courage
  • Equality

Scope within the Olympic Values

A recent symposium examined the Olympic Values of respect, excellence and friendship and found that these values had practical elements and application.

Participants reached broad consensus on the importance of clarifying the definition of the three core Olympic Values – Excellence, Respect, and Friendship – and their relevance to sport and beyond.

Excellence encompasses not only athletic talent but a host of other human capacities, including discipline, concentration, and effort. It is not about winning but about giving one’s all in pursuit of worthy goals such as professional success and service to others.

Respect involves regard for the rules of the game as well as human qualities of empathy, compassion, and understanding. It goes beyond fair play to encompass identification with and care for the other.

Friendship is a bond of trust and affection that transcends respect. The team pursuit of a shared goal, both inside and outside the sporting context, is a powerful forge of friendship; interaction with rivals can also generate mutual affection over time.

Each of these values resonates beyond the world of sport. But they are only Olympic values to the extent that they are exemplified before, during, and after the Games – by the athletes, the organisers, and the Olympic Movement itself. By better articulating and living up to its ideals, the Olympic Movement can create a more effective global platform for their realisation in other domains.

Values in Religions

The Olympic Values symposium told that these values resonate beyond the world of sport, and rightly so, for values are found in every sphere of human activity and guide persons in their choices.

All of mankind’s religions have shared goals: to reduce suffering, to increase happiness and to guide men and women to the goal of life through rituals, teachings and living out the values espoused by a person’s religious system. Values are action-drivers, they are guides to action and guides to choices.

There are common values which are found in all religions which are contained within five common, eternal values, which we call human
values, for they are found in all human beings in every time and every place where human beings live and practice their faith. These values can be elicted through education and through study and practice of religious teachings.

Human Values

What are Human Values? Human Values are those universal concepts and guides action—inherent within all persons—which are found in all cultures, all societies, all tims and in all places where human beings live out their lives. The five human values (which can be found in all cultures, societies and religions) are Truth, Right Conduct, Love, Peace and Non-Violence. These values are eternal; they are eternal essences, which elevate human life to its highest expression, its highest capacity. Click the image below to view full size in a new window.

Human Values and Sub Values
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You can read more on Human Values here.

In this list of human values, we see that many of the Olympic Values are found. The symposium on Olympic Values found that the prinicipal values had elements which were sub-values.

Extracting sub-values of the Olympic Values. The symposium which examined the Olympic values found the following behaviours, aspirations and guides to action within the Olympic Values:

  • Excellence has the following sub-values:
    • Discipline
    • Concentration
    • Effort
    • Professional success, which leads to
    • service to others
  • Respect has the following sub-values:
    • respect for rules
    • Empathy
    • Compassion
    • Understanding, which leads to
    • identity with and care for others
  • Friendship has the following sub values:
    • Bond of Trust
    • Affection
    • Shared goals which forge mutual respect and affection over

Pursuit of human excellence in living, work and spiritual progress is a central value in the religions of humanity. Discipline –particularly self discipline — (in the form of control of the mind and focussing attention on personal goals) is also a facet of religious endeavour. Hinduism teaches na sreyo niyamam vina (there can be no progress without adherence to discipline.

Concentration brings success to all endeavours. Concentration, single pointedness of attention — brings all activities to a successful conclusion, to personal best. Mystics of many religions – the Christian Saints, the Sufi Mystics, the Zen monks practising sartori, the Hindu sanyasins all speak to the process of concentration, right mindfulness. St Francis of Assisi even spoke to about “custody of the eyes” as a form of concentration in activity.

Service to others is central to compassion, feeling for the other, in all religions. Buddhism promotes metta, loving-kindness and compassion to all; Love of God and Love of neighbour is a central value in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. In Hinduism, guru-sevanam – service to man, is offered as service to God, the inner resident within the other.

Respect is embodied in the Golden Rule, which is a belief in all the religions of man. (You can read more about the Golden Rule here.) Compassion is also common to many religions – Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Sikhism, Jainism and Islam, to name a few. Understanding (the other) is also embedded within compassion, respect and right-conduct. So we can see that these Olympic Values — which are also Human Values — are found within the values of the world’s religions.

Table of Human Values showing these values in religions

Religion Truth Right Conduct Peace Love Non-violence
Christianity But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. (Jas 3:14)
(Love) does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the Truth (1 Cor 13:6)
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Mt 5:6)
“For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth” (Eph 5:9)
“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness” (Eph 6:14)
:All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (Tim 3:16)
“All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (heb 12:11)
“And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” (Jas 3:18)

“If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” (Rom 12:18)
“Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.” (Mk 9:50)

“Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;” (Rom 12:10)
“Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Rom 13:10)
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” (1 Jn 4:18)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,” (Gal 5:22)
“and those members … which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable (1 Cor 12:23)
“Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?” (Rom 9:21)
Judaism Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah. (Psalm 60:4)

These are the things which you should do: speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment for peace in your gates. (Zech 8:16)

“He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.” (Ps 23:3)
‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.’ (Hos 10:12)

Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor. (Prov. 12:21)

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (Ps 23:1)

Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. (Ps 34:14)

But because the LORD loved you and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt (Dt 7:8) “You shall not kill;
You shall not commit adultery;
You shall not steal;
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour;
You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, nor shall you set your heart on his home, his lands, his servants, his ox, his donkey, nor anything that he owns.
Islam “Confound not truth with falsehood nor knowingly conceal truth (Koran 2:42) It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards the East and the West, but righteousness is this that one should believe in Allah and the last day and the angels and the Book and the prophets, and give away wealth out of love for Him to the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and the beggars and for (the emancipation of) the captives, and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate; and the performers of their promise when they make a promise, and the patient in distress and affliction and in time of conflicts– these are they who are {rue (to themselves) and these are they who guard (against evil). (Koran 2:177) Those who spend (of that which Allah has given them) in ease and adversity, those who control their wrath and are forgiving towards mankind; Allah loveth the Good. (Koran 3:135) The Koran is replete with sayings as to how to win the love of Allah (all relate to behaviour towards fellow men) and that “Allah loveth not wrong-doers”, “loveth not the proud and boastful”. He loves “those who believe and do good works”. “He who fulfills his pledge and wards off evil, thosw who show kindness to parents and unto near kindred and orphans, to the needy and the neighbour … (4:36) “Do unto all man as you would wish to have done unto you and to reject for others what you reject for yourself”.

None of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself (Hadith, Prophet Muhammed)

Buddhism The Noble Eight-fold path includes “right speech” which means abstention from telling lies, back-biting and slander, gossip, etc. To refrain from wrong and harmful speech is to speak the truth. The Noble Eight-fold path includes “right action” which is aimed at promoting moral, honourable and peaceful conduct … abstinence from destroying life, stealing, dishonest dealings, etc — help others to lead a peaceful, honourable life in the right way. One should win anger through kindness, wickness through goodness, selfishness through charity and falshood through truthfulness.

“The victor breeds hatred and the defeated lies down in misery. He, who renounces both defeat and victory is peaceful.

Cultivate an all-embracing mind of love
For all throughout the universe,
In all its height, depth and breadth –
Love that is untroubled
And beyond hatred or enmity. (Karaniya Metta Sutta 8)
But why is harmlessness (or nonviolence, ahimsa) mentioned at the very beginning? Because it is the root of all virtues; harmlessness, namely, is a synonym of compassion. Especially, it is the root-cause of morality because it makes one refrain from immorality which has as its characteristic mark the harming of others. (Sallekha Sutta)
Jainism One of the five vows of Jainism is SATHYA – to speak only what is true, pleasant and good The three jewels or triratna of Jainism are ~ Right Faith, Right Knowledge, Right Conduct;

Know ye, that the karma leading to wrong conduct is bad and that leading to right conduct is good. How can that be right conduct which pushes jiva into samsara (cycle of births and deaths).Samaysar(Punya-pap)

He, who is evenly disposed towards all living beings, mobile and immobile, (is said to have) steadfast peace and equanimity, according to the preaching of the omniscient. Love in Jainism is expressed throught four forms of public conduct: – kind acts without reward; rejoicing at the well being of others; relieving the suffering of others; pity for miscreants and prisoners. The essence of all knowledge consists in not committing violence. The doctrine of ahimsa is nothing but the observance of equality i.e.
the realization that just as I do not like misery, others also do not like it. (Mahavira, Sutrakrtanga, 1/1/4/10
Hinduism Sathyam moomlam jagat: Truth is the basis of the Universe. Since righteous conduct leads to honour, it is priced more precious than life
Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitah Righteousness (dharma) protects those who uphold it.
He who gives up all desires and acts free from longing, without any sense of mineness or egotism, he attains peace (Bhagavad Gita) A body guided by love is a body vested with a soul; to those withou that (love) the bodues are but bones covered by skin. (Kural, 8:80) He who has experience of what is hurtful to himself, why indeed, does he do what is hurtful to others? (Kural 33:380)
Sikhism Those who do not have the Assets of Truth-how can they find peace? (Guru Nanak) Through karma and Dharma, good actions and righteous faith, the seeker becomes true. (Guru Amar Das) Give up your selfishness, and you shall find peace; like water mingling with water, you shall merge in absorption. (Guru Nanak) By true actions, this human body is obtained, and the door within ourselves which leads to the Mansion of Love, is found. (Guru Nanak) One whose mind is pleased and appeased, has no egotistical pride. Violence and greed are forgotten. (Guru Nanak)
Confucianism Truth: Truth is the lwa of God. Acquired truth is the law of man. Right Conduct: If a ruler is virtuous, then the people will also be virtuous. Peace: Only when one knows where one is to rest can one have a fixed purpose. Onley with a fixed purpose can one achieve calmness of mind. Only with calmness of mind can one achieve a tranquil repose. Only in tranquil repose can one devote soneself to careful deliberation. Only through careful deliberation can one achieve the highest good. Love: The blood of life is Love and virtue is its backbone; without virtue life cannot stand, and without Love, life is death.
If you love all beings, then you elevate yourself to perfection. (Luen Yu)

Non-violence: One moment of patience may ward off a great disaster; One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life.
Zoroastrianism Yasna 34:4 “The inner fire Ahura, to see we yearn —He blazes mightily through Truth. The righteous man is the one who is truthful, just, charitable. He looks after my creations, respect them and protects them. He is the man I shall bless forever!
Thou do teach me through righteousness about the wealth of the good mind (Ushtavada Gatha 46)
Righteousness increases by acts which lead to family happiness and peace of mind (Ushtavada Gatha 46) Those who are engaged in acts with love in this revolving world acquire your good wisdom (Ahunavada Gatha 34) Yasna 43:5 All acts and words shall bear fruit, evil to evil, and good to good.

Source: Paralympic
, Wikipedia:
Olympic Games,
Paralympic Games,
Centre for Religion, Peace and World Affairs

Photo Credit:
London Organising Committee Olympic Games