April 26, 2016

No Gods In United States, Only Mortals

[From article]
I notice Homer didn't care much for political correctness. Even for Nestor the diplomat is not particularly careful about whom he offends. As it turns out, Achilles has anger issues. No pajama boy, he rails at his rival: "Drunkard, with the face of a dog and the heart of a fawn, you never dare to go out with the army to fight. You shun fighting as you do death.”
Nestor gives a speech, ending with pragmatic advice to Achilles: Well, yes, your mom is a goddess, but Agammenon has a bigger army. You probably should take that into account.
But in spite of his goddess mother’s and Nestor’s advice to quell his anger, Achilles nurses it and pines for battle. Peace did not ensue and the Trojan war came to be. Otherwise, the saga would not have been written.
[. . .]

The Greeks conceived themselves as being in constant intimacy with the gods, consulting with them over everything. The gods, only slightly more elevated but more powerful than the humans with whom they consorted and slept, take pleasure in the songs of mankind; they enjoy the feasts at the temples; they accept the drink offerings. Jove is even portrayed as staying awake while he ponders how to do honor to Achilles. Mere men and their daily affairs were always on the minds of the gods--discussed endlessly and in detail. Everything mattered to the gods.
[. . .]

There is something to be learned in the relationships of gods and men as portrayed in Homer’s Iliad and in the mythology that gave meaning to Greek culture; particularly in a day and age which has sought to excise the supernatural from every aspect of life: It is better to at least believe in gods than to believe we are mere beasts with no particular purpose but to eventually die to no end. It is better to believe in a superior being than to believe there is no God at all.
Or to believe you yourself are a god.
And that is where too many are today: Mere humans pretending to be gods who permit themselves everything. For without reference to anything or anyone other than self, any action can be and will be permitted.
Taking the burden of being gods upon ourselves is too great a burden for mere human beings. The consequence of our trying to make ourselves gods is that the gods go crazy. The gods believe anything and everything is not only possible and permitted, but that every other human being must recognize and worship the ever expanding pantheon of gods and goddesses among us. Crazy gods demand we worship them and allow them every expression of self will without quibbling.
[. . .]

Nothing is sacred except themselves.
[. . .]
But as C.S. Lewis points out, the Christian view of mankind promises a redemption that augers a greater destiny than the flawed and fallible gods or goddesses some would make themselves out to be. He writes:
[. . .]
“There are no ordinary people.
“You have never talked to a mere mortal.
[. . .]
Immortality is a very different thing than making one’s self a god by an act of will. Immortality is a given. But it winds up in two differing places: Immortally pure evil or immortally pure good. We are destined for one or the other, and the path we take in this life is an indicator of our ultimate destiny.
[. . .]
There are only human beings on this planet--no gods and no goddesses. As mere mortals with an immortal future, it behooves us all to see in each human being a creature of immense worth, a being we are either helping or hindering in the walk to eternity.
The measure, then, of our humanity and our destiny is how we love God and how we love our fellow human being. "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
That commandment is the best antidote for any god complex.


April 24, 2016
Greek Gods and the Modern Quest for Immortality
By Fay Voshell

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