An eternal flame? How sports star 'lost' God

Posted by Hefin Rhys Jones  ·  7 visitor comments

World Champion Triple Jumper Jonathan Edwards once had a faith that burned as brightly, and as publicly as the Olympic flame, but after he lost his faith in 2007, many are asking - will he find it again?

As the Olympic torch winds its way towards London, Olympic fever is very much in the air.

One man who will be playing a key role during London 2012 will be retired Triple Jumper- Jonathan Edwards.

A member of the Organizing committee, who also chairs the athletes commission for this year’s  games,  as well as being an Olympic Ambassador for the Lloyds Banking Group - Edwards certainly has his hands full.

Arguably the greatest ever Triple Jumper, Edwards is a former Olympic, European, Commonwealth and World Champion, who at the World Championships in 1995 became the first man to legally jump more than 18 metres, breaking the World record twice in two consecutive jumps – his mark of 18.43 still stands today.  

And it wasn’t just for his athletic prowess that the 44-year old was known, but also for his strong Christian beliefs.

The son of a Vicar, Edwards initially refused to compete on a Sunday because of his faith, missing the 1991 World Championships in the process; before making a U-turn in 1993 and deciding to compete.

Edwards once said: “My relationship with Jesus and God is fundamental to everything I do. I have made a commitment and dedication in that relationship to serve God in every area of my life”.

But in early 2007 reports surfaced saying that Edwards had lost his faith, a claim which proved to be true.

He decided to leave his role as a presenter of   Songs of Praise, explaining in an interview last year: “From where I had been as a very committed Christian to where I was with no faith- to stand there and present a Christian programme, I didn’t think was right”.

An intelligent and deep thinker, Edwards said in an interview in February 2007: “If there is no God, does that mean that life has no purpose? Does it mean that personal existence ends at death? They are thoughts that do my head in.

“One thing that I can say, however, is that even if I am unable to discover some fundamental purpose to life, this will not give me a reason to return to Christianity. Just because something is unpalatable does not mean that it is not true”.

He added: “I feel internally happier than at any time in my life”.

 More than 5 years on Edwards who described himself in an interview last year as “probably agnostic, but practically an atheist”, didn’t completely rule out a return to his former faith.

“Now perhaps the fact I used to believe so profoundly and now I don’t, makes you wonder, and you have to be open to the fact that maybe it will come back. But I don’t at this moment feel like it’s something that I will find again, but who knows what path life will take you down?”

Many of us will be praying that Edwards finds his faith once again.

28th May

May 28th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Hefin Rhys Jones

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Batta Isho

Batta Isho

Posts: 1

Dear Edwards i am very sorry you lost your faith. Some times hapines because we not focus on god but on pepole or  problems ,i pray in jesus name your faith will be back.

Monday, 18th June 2012 at 9:02AM

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Paul Hall

Paul Hall

Posts: 1

Interesting little article. Also interesting that the writer will be praying for him to find his faith...... surely it would be better to pray that he found a purpose that was productive and good, rather than Inducted to God? Perhaps he can be a good person without devoting himself to something that has no empirical proof of existence... that is to say scientific, repeatable, and demonstrable

Saturday, 4th August 2012 at 1:30PM

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Stephen Hailes

Stephen Hailes

Posts: 2

You say........'Perhaps he can be a good person without devoting himself to something that has no empirical proof of existence... that is to say scientific, repeatable, and demonstrable..' .Well you have faith too! I am not aware of any such 'proof' of evolution, yet I am sure you believe it

Monday, 6th August 2012 at 7:41PM

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james g

james g

Posts: 1

Stephen, I am very sorry to point out the obvious, but if you are unaware of any proof of evolution then it is not because such proof fails to exist but because your are poorly read and uninformed. The empirical data supporting the theory of evolution is voluminous. The evidence disputing the theory is non existent. A scientific theory is never proven, that's why it's called a theory. But there are degrees of certainty based on empirical data. And the data is indisputable. To deny evolution is, in the nicest possible way, plain ignorance of the facts. I am not accusing you of being an ignorant person, I am sure that you are not in the slightest, however I suggest before you deny evolution that you check your facts.

Friday, 10th August 2012 at 7:45PM

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Stevie H

Stevie H

Posts: 1

James G- to say there is no evidence disputing evolution is uninformed and ignorant. There are many modern scientists moving away from the Darwinian theory and many intelligent arguments against it that aren't based on faith. It seems ironic that so many who accept evolution unquestioningly would mock those with faith if they did the same thing.

Thursday, 23rd August 2012 at 8:43AM

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Carl Grant

Carl Grant

Posts: 1

How refreshing to read thisarticle.Jonathan has made the conclusion that he feels so much happier leaving his belief in a supervising God that looks over you every second,and concludes to it'self if you have done right or wrong,even in what you think or what youdream.Science and the knowledge of what we no now is sooverwhelming.That is soexciting.To think we are still teaching chrildren the belief in "a burning bush,parting of water,and the talking snake,really has no place in our schools anymore.

Sunday, 12th August 2012 at 9:09AM

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Craig Palmer

Craig Palmer

Posts: 1

It's stories like this that make me wonder whether these people truly got saved at some point in their life. Someone who has recieved Christ and the Holy Spirit would not be turning round one day and proclaiming that God does not exist, it leads me more to the idea that some people were, at one point, more only "convicted sinners" and never took the step of repenting. I know we are not to judge others, but I know born again Christians who have back slidden, and as much as they have denied God, it's still obvious that a part of them still believes. I hope that this is the case with Jonathan, that deep down he still knows what's right, because I can't understand why a true son of God would deny the One who saved him unless he was never saved in the first place :/

Friday, 12th October 2012 at 11:32AM

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