Monday, January 22, 2007

Worshipping Zeus:

Apparently some folks are still doing this and Anthony Paul Mator at WorldMagBlog has some strong comments about the Pagan Deity:

When well-educated Greeks gather at ancient temple ruins to worship the pagan god Zeus, one may well ask why anyone would exchange the loving, self-sacrificial Christ for a malicious demigod who married his sister, raped women, and was more like a sinful human being than a transcendental authority....Let's be frank. This religious cult knows full well that Zeus does not exist, and that is why they love him. The allure of the ancient demigods is that they were created by man in man's image, and now we can re-create mighty Zeus to fit our secular humanist lifestyles. May the torches ever blaze before the temple of autonomous Greek culture.

One of my fascinating discoveries while researching the Founding Fathers on religion, particularly John Adams, was that he believed such Pagan Greco-Roman worship was more or less the same thing as Christianity. As he wrote in his Dec. 25, 1813 letter to Jefferson, "The Preamble to the Laws of as orthodox Christian Theology as Priestlys." Joseph Priestly was, as we know, Adams' and Jefferson's spiritual mentor. And the "laws of Zaleucus" were a set of laws revealed by Athena 600 years BC. In that same letter, he calls a Hindu treatise -- the Shastra -- "orthodox" and "profound" and terms the Christian Trinity a "fabrication."

The entire letter is worth a read. It's not linked online but can be viewed on pages 409-13 of The Adams-Jefferson Letters, Cappon edition.

What's also interesting is that in the very same letter Adams also states:

“I have examined all, as well as my narrow Sphere, my streightened means and my busy Life would allow me; and the result is, that the Bible is the best book in the World.”

And the Christian Nation crowd loves to quote just that one passages, but not the rest of the letter where Adams reveals what he really means in context, which is that he is a syncretic unitarian.

Update, Tom Van Dyke emails with Adams' Defence of the Constitutions: Vol. I, Letter LI. In this chapter Adams describes ZALEUCUS and the preamble to his code. While he doesn't explicitly equate this code with Christianity, the argument is implicit in the following excerpt.

In this preamble he declares, that all those who shall inhabit the city, ought, above all things, to be persuaded that there is a God; and if they elevate their eyes and thoughts towards the heavens, they will be convinced, that the disposition of the heavenly bodies, and the order which reigns in all nature, are not the work of men, nor of chance; that therefore they ought to adore the gods, as the authors of all which life presents us of good and beautiful; that they should hold their souls pure from every vice, because the gods accept neither the prayers, offerings, or sacrifices of the wicked, and are pleased only with the just and beneficent actions of virtuous men. Having thus, in the beginning of his laws, fixed the attention of his fellow-citizens upon piety and wisdom, he ordains, above all things, that there should never be among them any irreconcilable enmity; but, on the contrary, that those animosities which might arise among them, should be only a passage to a sure and sincere reconciliation; and that he who would not submit himself to these sentiments, should be regarded as a savage in a civilized community. The chiefs of his republics ought not to govern with arrogance nor pride; nor should the magistrates be guided in their judgments by hatred nor by friendship.

This preamble, instead of addressing itself to the ignorance, prejudices, and superstitious fears of savages, for the purpose of binding them to an absurd system of hunger and glory for a family purpose, like the laws of Lycurgus, places religion, morals, and government, upon a basis of philosophy, which is rational, intelligible, and eternal, for the real happiness of man in society, and throughout his duration.

Hopefully, this should help put to rest the notion that when Founders like Washington and Adams talked up "religion" in a generic sense, they meant the Christian religion only. Nope, Pagan Greco-Roman laws, even a code that was supposedly revealed by Athena 600 years BC likewise qualified as sound "religion" which provided the necessary moral support that all republics need.

1 comment:

nicky said...

Yeah, I agree. Why do they worship Zeus knowing all his unacceptable deeds!!