Has anyone else noticed modern organized religion is kind of a bummer? Even if your divine belief system isn’t violently persecuting another, it seems like you’re still trapped in a church singing dirges all Sunday. Modern religion doesn’t have any flair. This is why I’d like to offer a modest proposal: Let’s bring back the ancient Greek gods. Yes, I mean Zeus, Hera, Apollo, Aphrodite, Ares, the whole shebang — and here’s why I think they’d make a significant improvement over our current options.
They’re relatable. The Greek gods are definitely gods, but they’re also still recognizably human. They have the same emotions, problems and insecurities as regular humans do, and thus, they’re far more understandable than nebulous clouds or old bearded men on thrones. The Greek gods actually know what people go through in their lives, because they experience the same feelings. This may make the Greek gods fallible, but it also makes them far more relatable than other divine beings.
They have variety. If you’re part of a monotheistic religion, your god is kind of your one-stop shopping for divinity. You’re stuck with them, no matter what happens in your life, no matter what your current needs are. But there are tons of Greek gods! Don’t think Apollo is getting the job done? Switch to Hephaestus. Have a specific home-related issue coming up? Then pray to Hestia, goddess of the hearth. While a monotheistic god pretty much handles everything for his followers, the Greek gods know how to delegate, giving followers options based on need, preference and situation.
They’re easily adaptable to modern life. Most major religions haven’t had a serious update for at least a millennium or so. As such, it can be hard to truly integrate these religions into modern times. But thanks to their diversity, the Greek gods would snap right into place. Hermes is obviously the god of cellphones, emails and text messages. As a craftsman, Hephaestus would probably handle all computers and network issues, while Demeter would watch over restaurants. Apollo, the god of YouTube videos. You can’t tell me that life wouldn’t be at least a little bit easier if we had a god specifically handling YouTube videos.
They are extremely open-minded. Greek gods do not care what you are. They don’t care about your gender, the color of your skin, or your sexual preference. They have never told anyone to start a war (except Ares, the god of war, and even then it was just to be having a war, not to persecute other groups). In fact, it was generally ancient Greeks who started their own wars, and then asked the gods for help, at which point they’d pick sides. All I’m saying is that the Greek gods never inspired any holy wars, never gave anyone shit for not believing in them, and never demanded their followers proselytize. Because the Greek gods only cared about themselves, and the side benefit of that self-centeredness was a refreshing lack of prejudice.
You know where you stand with a Greek god. The Greek gods are like hormonal teenagers. Their emotions run high, and can change at a drop of a hat. They’re easily angered and easily enamored, but they can be managed. You know they’re going to be voltaile, so you can deal with that — and if they happen to be nice and kind to you, hey, bonus. The Greek gods didn’t suddenly change from a brimstone-and-fire-worship-me-or-I’ll-smite-you Old Testament-type thing to a love-everybody-hippie-dippie New Testament-thing, completely contradicting themselves. They’ve always been self-centered jerks, making them consistent, if nothing else.
Greek gods will have sex with you. That’s pretty awesome. Just knowing you have a chanceto score with a god or goddess adds a certain zest to life. Now admittedly, some time the Greek gods got a little… er, rape-y, and that’s not cool. On the other hand, Law & Order: SVU would become super exciting.
They make at least as much sense as the other guys. One of the biggest problems with the Judeo-Christian God that Christian scholars have tried to rationalize over the centuries is how a good and loving god could allow evil to exist; while they’ve come up with plenty of answer, none of them are particularly satisfying. This isn’t an issue for the Greek gods, because they aren’t pretending to be omnipotent and loving. Like humans, they can be good and evil themselves. You don’t have to wonder why the Greek gods let bad things happen to good people, because the Greek gods can simply be assholes. They care about you as long as you’re caring/genuflecting/sacrificing bulls to them. Tit for tat. Honestly, just take a look around. Does it seem like the universe is currently being run by one omniscient guy who completely loves everybody or by a bunch of over-emotional, self-centered jerks? I rest my case.
They’re so much more fun. Here’s a short list of things we could do if we brought back the Greek gods:
• Go to oracles.
• Go on quests.
• Fight monsters.
• Challenge gods to contests.
• Go to Hades and try to rescue dead loved ones.
• Dip babies in magic rivers, making them invulnerable.
Now, not all of those are good ideas — most of them are insanely dangerous — but man, they’re still a hell of a lot more exciting than sitting in church for an hour every Sunday.
See on io9.com