How to respond to: "Explain why your god is REAL while Zeus is imaginary"


#1

how do you respond to someone who says this to you:

Explain why your god is REAL while Zeus is imaginary


#2

As a basic starting point is there ANYONE around who still worships Zeus sincerely? If not, then it can at least be guaranteed that at some point in the past, between Ancient Greek times and the present, there was a time when nobody worshipped Zeus.

A real god, it occurs to me, doesn’t let faith in him die out once he’s revealed himself - not temporarily, nor permanently. Why would he?

So that narrows the choice to religions that since their inception haven’t died out. Christianity and Islam, Hinduism, Judaism (Not Buddhism, true Buddhism makes no claims about Gods and such).

Funny that at least three of 'em claim to worship the same God - you think it’s just possible that they actually have that much right at least?


#3

If the person who asked this is at all sincere, the only place to begin IMO is by solidifying his or her acknowledgment that there is indeed a Creator / God / Higher Power of some sort. If they are there, then the next questions are, how can we know this Creator, and do you really want to?


#4

If you notice, a lot of the Ancient’s perceptions of “Zeus” and what we imagine God to be like (long white beard, serious, old, etc.) are very similar.

It is in my belief that, because we are God’s creation and we have been created with a longing for union with Him, that we all find ways to worship Him - some are better than others and some are blatantly against Him.

The ancient religions were polythesitic, but they did have a concept of God - even if it was hidden in the false ideas of Zeus.

To respond to the challenge, I would simply say - “Zeus was the manifestation of the Ancient’s longing for God. They did not know God and created their own gods, but it is perhaps more appropriate to challenge me to explain, ‘How did the Romans come up with a god so similar to the Christian God?’”

In short, I don’t think Zeus is “imaginary” - he is simply the confused image of the Christan God.


#5

Good answer Zahmir!


#6

St. Augustine considered the pagan gods to be demons who tricked men into worshiping them to feed their egos (not to mention leading men astray).


#7

St. Augustine was a little biased - He was a pagan himself at one time.

I agree, however, that with Jesus Christ and the spread of the faith of the Christian God all over the known world, no longer did the pagans have a good reason to worship their false gods.

But Zeus (Jupiter) was believed hundreds of years before Jesus Christ became man. My point was simply that the Greeks and Romans did get a lot of things right when it came to God, but they were deceived by their notion of “polytheism.” Some would even argue that Plato believed in only one God - that being to be the “form of the good.”

Muy interesante if you ask me…


#8

Yes.


#9

LilyM:

The Hindu traditions are diverse, and as historical evidence has shown, don’t necessarily reflect steadfast beliefs:

  1. before the Aryans arrived in the Indus River Valley, there is a lack of evidence for reincarnation or the caste system. Likewise, the deities worshipped were diverse and most assuredly not called Shiva, Vishnu, or Brahma…

  2. Aryan civilization was extremely ordered: Aryans maintained social, religious, and political authority. this was cone by dividing society into four classes: Rulers, Priests, Merchants and Farmers. Seeing as the Aryans conquered, its not to hard to see who the Rulers and Priests (brahmins) were. Now we see were Hitler got his ideas from. :wink:

  3. To reinforce the caste system and its social stability, it appears as if the brahmins a) began to assert their dominance over rulers, and b) introduced the idea of reincarnation into a better/worse caste/subcaste.

  4. The religious texts, the Vedas (written first), the Upanishads (written later) and tha Gitas show a varied and diverse sense of divintiy and tadition. Many of these texts are at a variance with each other in some way shape or form. For example, many Hindus do not believe in Shiva or Vishnu or Brahma, but rather Brahman (an all-powerful, non-divine force that is all-in-all). Many Hindus worship Vishnu, Shiva, or Brahma with an understanding that they are all part of Brahman. Many deny Brahman altogether. Many gurus today deny the traditions that emerged from the Vedas onwards.

In short, Hinduism, is not what Islam, Catholic/Orthodox Christianity, or Judaism are: historically, doctrinally, and ritually stable. Although there are many scholars who attempt to refute this, these three religions (who do claim to worship the same, True God) have essentially the same doctrines/dogmas and rituals as they did when they began.


#10

34 The world, and man, attest that they contain within themselves neither their first principle nor their final end, but rather that they participate in Being itself, which alone is without origin or end. Thus, in different ways, man can come to know that there exists a reality which is the first cause and final end of all things, a reality “that everyone calls God”.10


Therefore there is only one God. The God Catholics believe in has revealed himself to man.


#11

Zeus? there was something there, specifically demons. I would argue that there was an reality behind Zeus which are/was demons.

1 Corinthians 10:18-21 (New International Version)

18Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? 19Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.


#12

Yeah yeah, a latter day pseudo-revival. No-one can claim to know an awful lot about how the ancient Greeks understood and worshipped Zeus and their other gods. Lots of knowledge was lost and the faith entirely dead or very very dormant for centuries.

It’s questionable that it’s even the same gods you’re worshipping as the ancient Greeks did. Looks to be just the same names attached to an idea probably so different that your gods may as well be called Hewey Dewey and Louie as named after those of the ancient Greeks.


#13

I believe there is room here for both views. A pagan’s worship of the Divine can be sincere. He will be truly seeking God, perhaps even doing some good and mitigating his sins, but his ideas are not totally accurate. 1Cor10 is showing that when your idea of God becomes clearer and more accurate, then you cannot go back to your old ways, because that would be idolatry.


#14

Thanks Zimir; God bless you. You have given me a new perception of world religions and why there are so many different kinds.

Of course, with out revelation, man may know that there is a God, but he might never get his true nature correct and will often errect Gods that reflect their own sinfull nature; such as the God of war!

Thats why The God of abraham is likley to be the most truest because because that God is totally unflattering when it comes to our selfish desires and sins.

Using this Logic, I can now see that the pagan ritual of sacrificing human beings could be in actual fact the imperfect, perverted and confuesd version of the sacrificail lamb we see in Christianity; The act of sacrificing to God, to gain favor.

That makes perfect sense to me now.

Peace.


#15

Specifics to back up that assertion, please?


#16

The way I see it, you made the assertion that people today worship Zeus. Therefore, the burden is yours to show that:

  • people who claim to worship Zeus are indeed worshiping the same deity as the ancient Greeks, and not some nebulous idea of that deity, which has been named Zeus

-people are worshiping “Zeus” are worshiping him in the same manner he “revealed” to his ancient cult, and not by some nebulous idea of how he was worshiped (e.g., which ancient texts describing the temple worship of the cult of Zeus are you using? do you sacrifice to Zeus, like the ancients did?)

I think Lily’s point is valid. How can you be sure you are worshiping the same deity? I could conceive of an entity I think is Zeus, call it Zeus and begin worshiping it. However, there is no guarantee I am actually worshiping the same pagan god.


#17

No, she asked if anyone still worships Zeus. I responded “yes.” She said that the deity isn’t really Zeus, and I asked for her basis for that statement. The ball is in her court to show her evidence for making the claim that the deity being worshipped is not, indeed, Zeus. I presume she has some or she would not make such an assertion.

Suppose someone says “No one really drives a Ferrari because they don’t really exist.” I respond “I know people who drive a Ferrari and, while I don’t own one, I have had occasion to drive one” and then the person says “no, it was a Geo,” and I respond, “no, sorry, it was a Ferrari,” and they respond “well, you may think it was a Ferrari but you really just put a Ferrari nameplate and body style on it, it’s really a Geo, because I know there are no Ferraris” particularly when they have never seen the car? Is it unreasonable to ask why they presume that I am less capable than they are to understand what type of car I drive when I am the one doing the driving?

There is no point in responding to her accusation that no one actually worships Zeus until I understand her evidence for making such a statement. She may well be talking about something entirely different than I am.

Now, as to your questions, which are more specific:
people who claim to worship Zeus are indeed worshiping the same deity as the ancient Greeks, and not some nebulous idea of that deity, which has been named Zeus

What criteria would you use to determine that the deity is indeed the same?

people are worshiping “Zeus” are worshiping him in the same manner he “revealed” to his ancient cult, and not by some nebulous idea of how he was worshiped (e.g., which ancient texts describing the temple worship of the cult of Zeus are you using? do you sacrifice to Zeus, like the ancients did?)

I would consider Walter Burkert’s “Greek Religions” to be a pretty fair place to start in terms of known scholarship. Personally, Zeus is not a God with whom I have a primary relationship, but yes, I do make offerings to Him when appropriate, along with other Gods. Examples maybe in celebration of our anniversary (Zeus Teleios), by means of giving or accepting hospitality (Zeus Xenios), in gratitude for a successful year or unexpected prosperity (Zeus Ktesios), etc.

** I could conceive of an entity I think is Zeus, call it Zeus and begin worshiping it. However, there is no guarantee I am actually worshiping the same pagan god.**

The problem I would see with that is that you are positing worshipping your conception of the God rather than accepting Him as He is. I can have all sorts of conceptions about a God, but if those conceptions do not fit the reality of what and who He is, then my efforts at best will be entirely fruitless.

I will definitely grant you that there are folks out there who are worshipping a Deity that they name Zeus but who bears little resemblance to the Zeus that is described by the Greeks or my experience of Him. If someone comes to me saying that Zeus is the God of fluffy bunnies and sweetness and light, I will definitely say that that is not the way in which I and others have encountered Him, nor the way in which the Greeks record that they encountered Him. I cannot entirely rule out that He may have chosen to appear in that fashion to that person (He is a God, after all, and entitled to appear as He chooses), but then, that is their business, not mine. It does not infringe on my worship of Him.


#18

You worship Zues? May i ask why? Isn’t it apart of such a tradition to offer human sacrifices?


#19

Various religions have included human sacrifice at times in their distant past, usually at times of great trouble, and in addition to animal sacrifice and bloodless sacrifice. After all, what is Jesus but the ultimate human sacrifice?

There are aspects of ancient Greek religion and culture that I do not follow any more than modern Jews or Christians follow every aspect of the origins of their religions and cultures.

As to why, the Gods that call to me. It is more accurate to say that Zeus is part of the pantheon with whom I have a relationship.


#20

You can hear what you believe to be zues calling to you?


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