Friday, August 7, 2009

The Gods in Myth: Malicious?

Since I brought up the subject of seeking guidance from the Gods, opening oneself up to whatever guidance from them one might glean in the world, I have to ask a question here.

Do you perceive the Gods the way they are often portrayed in myth, as often malicious, short tempered, and violent beings who play with the lives of man for sport?

I do not, you see, and I tend to see Myth as interpretations of the nature of the Gods in a way that the ancient Greeks were capable of doing.

I see the Gods as a fairly neutral force in the lives of human beings. We have free will, so we are capable of choosing, and with choice comes consequence, consequence we must be willing to accept if we are to accept our free will and all the responsibilities that come from it.

But when it comes to myth, we are often faced with a view of the Gods that is a bit unsavory. All religions face this. YHWH, or El, is not really a very pleasant God in the old testament, Egyptian Gods are often odd in their behavior toward mankind, and the Hindu Gods are, like the Greek Gods, very mischievous. But i think most religions realize that the stories of the Gods are interpretations of a divine reality that we do not really have full access to. This means that the nature of the Gods, whether you see them in Judaeo/Christian, Hindu, Egyptian, Aztec, etc. terms, is one that is different from what we see in myth. That they act not out of maliciousness, or even beneficence, but out of necessity, which the Greeks called “ananke”.

This leaves me with a bit of a problem. I, like most, do ask the Gods for guidance, help, the occasional lottery numbers, etc. But believing as I do means that I know they will not directly grant these things. That is not their function. That is not what the Gods do, so I believe that we open ourselves up to guidance by seeing what the Gods do do in our world, and hope that i learn good lessons and how to behave in such a way that I will be led in the right direction.

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