Was Zeus real?

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Was Zeus real?

Post by Guest on August 2nd 2013, 1:23 am

By GARY GUTTING

When my children were little, they liked to play "Mother, May I?" At one point,
I combined the game with an early introduction to classical culture, changing
the key question to "Zeus, May I?" with an imaginary thunderbolt throwing back
anyone forgetting to ask permission.

Reminiscing about this recently, I asked the kids if they had thought that Zeus
was real. "Well," one said, "I knew he didn't exist anymore, but figured that
he did back in ancient Greece." This set me thinking about why we are so certain
that Zeus never existed. Of course, we are in no position to say that he did.
But are we really in a position to say that he didn't?

The standard line of thought seems to be that we have no evidence at all for his
existence and so have every right to deny it. Perhaps there is no current
evidence of his existence — certainly no reports of avenging thunderbolts or of
attempted seductions, no sightings around Mount Olympus. But back in the day
(say, 500-400 B.C.), there would seem to have been considerable evidence, enough
in any case to make his reality unquestioned among most members of a rapidly
advancing Greek civilization.

Further, as this civilization developed the critical tools of historiography
and philosophy, Zeus's reality remained widely unquestioned. Socrates and Plato
criticized certain poetic treatments, which showed Zeus and the gods in an
unworthy light. But they never questioned the very existence of the gods, and
Socrates regularly followed the dictates of his daimon, a personal divine guide.
There were many questions about the true nature of the divine, but few about its
existence.

Why did belief in the gods persist in spite of critical challenges? What
evidence seemed decisive to the ancient Greeks? Robert Parker, in his recent
authoritative survey, "On Greek Religion," emphasizes the role of what the
Greeks saw as experiences of divine actions in their lives. "The greatest
evidence for the existence of gods is that piety works . . . the converse is
that impiety leads to disaster," with by far the most emphasis given to the
perils of ignoring the gods. There were also rituals, associated with the many
cults of specific gods, that for some worshippers "created a sense of contact
with the divine. One knows that the gods exist because one feels their presence
during the drama of the mysteries or the elation of the choral dance." More
broadly, there were "epiphanies" that could "indicate not merely a visible or
audible epiphany (whether in the light of day or through a dream . . .) but also
any clear expression of a god's favor such as weather conditions hampering an
enemy, a miraculous escape, or a cure; it may also be used of the continuing
disposition of a god or goddess to offer manifest assistance."

Most of us do not find our world so filled with the divine, and we may be
inclined to dismiss the Greeks' "experiences" as over-interpretations. But how
can we be so sure that the Greeks lived in the same sort of world as we do?
What decisive reason do we have for thinking that for them divinity was not a
widely and deeply experienced fact of life? If we cannot eliminate this as a
real possibility, shouldn't we hold a merely agnostic position on Zeus and the
other Greek gods, taking seriously the possibility that they existed but holding
that we have good reason neither to assert nor deny their existence?

Let's consider some objections.

1. Once you take seriously the possibility of Zeus, you have to do the same for
all the other gods that some people somewhere have worshiped. Reply: This is a
problem only if you have a predisposition to monotheism, and even the great
monotheistic religions allow for a variety of lesser supernatural beings
(angels, demons) variously allied or opposed to the hegemonic deity. Or the
plethora of local gods can be regarded as various manifestations of the One God.

2. The fact that many people have believed in Zeus does not show that they had
any evidence for his existence, and there's every reason to deny the existence
of something for which there is no evidence. Reply: Yes, but the people who
worshiped Zeus claimed to experience his presence in their everyday lives and,
especially, in their religious ceremonies. There's no reason for us to accept
this claim, but we have no reason for thinking they were wrong.

3. But we do have reason for thinking they were wrong. Their society inculcated
them from infancy with belief in Zeus and the other gods. There was constant
affirmation and no tolerance for doubts because divine authority was the basis
of social and political authority. Given this brainwashing, it's no surprise
that people thought they experienced Zeus, even though they didn't. Reply: Yes,
but why did the society so insist on belief in the gods? We may assume it's
simply for the sake of social control. But the reason could just as well be
that everyone was rightly convinced — from their own and others' experiences —
that the gods existed. Then the control would derive from the belief, not vice
versa.

4. We know that all manner of religious experiences can be produced by
electrochemical alterations of the brain. There's no reason to assume that
anything else was going on in the Greeks' alleged experiences of Zeus. Reply:
In principle, any experience of our daily lives can be produced by
electrochemical alternations of the brain, but this does not show that, for
example, I did not actually eat breakfast or talk to my wife this morning.

5. The modern development of science leaves no rational room for appeals to
supernatural forces. Unlike the Greeks, we have good reason to believe that
everything in their world could have been explained by natural laws, with no
divine intervention. Reply: This response has force only if we assume that
there is very little likelihood of a world that contains supernatural forces.
But we have no a priori basis for such an assumption. We may well think that
our world contains little or no evidence of the supernatural. But that is no
reason to think the same was true of the Greek world.

On reflection, then, I'm inclined to say that an atheistic denial of Zeus is
ungrounded. There is no current evidence of his present existence, but to deny
that he existed in his Grecian heyday we need to assume that there was no good
evidence for his existence available to the ancient Greeks. We have no reason
to make this assumption. Further, supposing that Zeus did exist in ancient
times, do we really have evidence that he has ceased to exist? He may, for all
we know, just be in hiding (as Heine's delightful "Gods in Exile" suggests),
now that other gods have won humankind's allegiance. Or it may be that we have
lost the ability to perceive the divine. In any case, to the question, "May we
properly remain agnostic about whether Zeus ever existed?" the answer is "Yes,
we may."

Definition of agnostic.
a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience.

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: Was Zeus real?

Post by laura ann on August 2nd 2013, 3:21 pm

If one believes a God plane exists..

then  one must believe God's exist in the plural.

my personal  take is
Yes ZEUS is a name for a God or you might say a highly elevated being title
avatar
laura ann
Member
Member

Number of posts : 739
Age : 65
Location : east coast ..usa
Appreciation Points : 999
Registration date : 2012-04-01

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Was Zeus real?

Post by sunmystic on August 3rd 2013, 11:53 am

Stephen you come up with the most interesting things Smile  ! Love, john
avatar
sunmystic
Administrator
Administrator

Male
Number of posts : 944
Age : 67
Location : pacific nothwest, USA
Hobbies : none
Tell us about yourself : I love the loving Divine
Appreciation Points : 1034
Registration date : 2010-12-04

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Was Zeus real?

Post by Guest on August 3rd 2013, 11:55 am

Specially for you.
Wave

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: Was Zeus real?

Post by sunmystic on August 3rd 2013, 12:31 pm

skfarblum wrote:Specially for you.
Wave

 Thank you Smile  . So Stephen Smile  what does your research have to say about the part animal part human creatures that legend also talks about? Pan was a god and still is in some parts of Northern Britain. Love, john
avatar
sunmystic
Administrator
Administrator

Male
Number of posts : 944
Age : 67
Location : pacific nothwest, USA
Hobbies : none
Tell us about yourself : I love the loving Divine
Appreciation Points : 1034
Registration date : 2010-12-04

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Was Zeus real?

Post by Guest on August 3rd 2013, 12:45 pm

Same as Zeus.In some astral plane he is playing his pipes and charming all.
He will be back.
Stephen

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: Was Zeus real?

Post by sunmystic on August 3rd 2013, 1:01 pm

skfarblum wrote:Same as Zeus.In some astral plane he is playing his pipes and charming all.
He will be back.
Stephen

 He might also have reincarnated in human form and is alive today Smile. Maybe Smile  , the jury is still out on that one so we will have to wait and see what happens. That fellow in Australia that claims to be Jesus reincarnated has opened up an interesting reality Smile  .  Love, john
avatar
sunmystic
Administrator
Administrator

Male
Number of posts : 944
Age : 67
Location : pacific nothwest, USA
Hobbies : none
Tell us about yourself : I love the loving Divine
Appreciation Points : 1034
Registration date : 2010-12-04

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Was Zeus real?

Post by Guest on August 3rd 2013, 1:12 pm

Smile

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: Was Zeus real?

Post by laura ann on August 3rd 2013, 1:46 pm

you all do realize we are running an energy grid across the planet don't you..with these conversations.

I wonder how much of it is making a 5 point star of david pattern

thought passing through my mind just now is all..>>>>>>>>there it goes>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
avatar
laura ann
Member
Member

Number of posts : 739
Age : 65
Location : east coast ..usa
Appreciation Points : 999
Registration date : 2012-04-01

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Was Zeus real?

Post by sunmystic on August 3rd 2013, 4:11 pm

skfarblum wrote:Smile

 I have the genetics for it, the abilities for it, the knowledge for it, and the soul memory for it. The problem is my "nature". I am a solitary deep woods god and find me if you can. And it it against my nature to directly admit to it or to allow myself to be discovered using my abilities Smile  .  And being an old yogi mystic on an obscure quiet message board who says things that most folks can not understand, fits my nature and is way safer Smile  . Actually Stephen, there are quite a few of the old gods living in today's world, they just, are quiet about it Smile  . Just love Smile  ! john
avatar
sunmystic
Administrator
Administrator

Male
Number of posts : 944
Age : 67
Location : pacific nothwest, USA
Hobbies : none
Tell us about yourself : I love the loving Divine
Appreciation Points : 1034
Registration date : 2010-12-04

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Was Zeus real?

Post by Guest on August 3rd 2013, 10:52 pm

I love the Old Gods.I see a one Source but lots of gods and goddesses.
Stephen

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: Was Zeus real?

Post by laura ann on August 4th 2013, 3:49 am

I am a solitary deep woods god and find me if you can

made me instantly think of Cernunnos (Kerunnos).
John your a never ending contradiction in your words.

you say the jury is still out, your solitary, you can never admit to it yet in next breathe  admit to it....
you make my head spin sometimes trying to keep up.. not a bad thing nor a good thing just a  notice of action. 

-------------------------
on the guy who proclaims to be Jesus I have issues.

the Jesus  who I walked with  never boasted who he was.
he was a simple man who  used simple things to teach.
when people tried to elevate him or boast him about he always said

'who do you believe I am'
'who do you say I am'

when pushed to the limit he would say 'I am' ' I am'

or he deferred to the FATHER.. never to self till the very end of his journey here.

To boast  and say I am Jesus is not his way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

sends my red flags high in the sky
avatar
laura ann
Member
Member

Number of posts : 739
Age : 65
Location : east coast ..usa
Appreciation Points : 999
Registration date : 2012-04-01

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Was Zeus real?

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum