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Author Topic: Do pagans really believe in greek gods?  (Read 32803 times)
Hannibal
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« Reply #15: February 27, 2008, 10:26:32 am »

Hannibal, we don't comment on someone's spelling unless it's so egregious that it's impossible to tell what the original word was.  Please go re-read the rules.  Thank you.

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 Oh sorry must have spaced on that. I apologize that was totally my bad.

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« Reply #16: February 27, 2008, 07:59:02 pm »

Do all pagans believe in the greek gods. I have been reading and studying about paganism, specifically wicca, and is really resonates with me. The greek gods are the one aspect that really confuses me. I am looking for an alternative to catholicism, not to replace one god for many gods. I get the whole goddess and god thing and yes it makes so much sense. But do pagan's really believe that Zeus is in the sky throwing lightning bolts- do they really believe that the seasons change based on a mother that misses her daughter? I first thought that these stories were just ideas or symbols to help focus your energy and intentions, which i could work with. BUT after reading "The outer temple of witchcraft", the author makes it very clear that he believes these gods are REAL.

Can someone explain?? Thanks!
  It all depends on the Pagan. 
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« Reply #17: February 27, 2008, 08:14:17 pm »

I wasn't being wishy washy when I said that.  "Wishy washy" usually indicates not knowing where one stands, or an inability to choose a position and stick to it.  I know exactly where I stand and do not see myself doing otherwise in the future.  However, as you say, it's difficult (if not impossible) to find something that all Pagans believe, so I really can't answer for all Pagans and don't want to give the impression that I'm doing so.  It's not wishy washy, it's a statement of fact.
I apologize for the bad word choice... I meant more of... "don't be put off by the lack of clear answers" by "wishy washy." lol.

On dictionary.com, the first definition of wishy washy is "lacking in decisiveness." That is purely what I meant, and I did not mean to imply the "without strength of character" part at all.

Apologies again. Smiley
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fiamma
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« Reply #18: February 27, 2008, 09:00:26 pm »

Do all pagans believe in the greek gods. I have been reading and studying about paganism, specifically wicca, and is really resonates with me. The greek gods are the one aspect that really confuses me. I am looking for an alternative to catholicism, not to replace one god for many gods. I get the whole goddess and god thing and yes it makes so much sense. But do pagan's really believe that Zeus is in the sky throwing lightning bolts- do they really believe that the seasons change based on a mother that misses her daughter? I first thought that these stories were just ideas or symbols to help focus your energy and intentions, which i could work with. BUT after reading "The outer temple of witchcraft", the author makes it very clear that he believes these gods are REAL.

Can someone explain?? Thanks!

As Star and Randall, and probably at least one other person that I missed have pointed out, we can extract value from the myths without believing in their literality.

If you were to study ancient Greek religion for any period of time, you would quickly learn that the gods of Greece as they were seen in religious cult were very different from the gods as they were portrayed in mythology. The same remains today with many folks who worship the Greek gods.

One of the common examples that I use in explaining this is that from mythology, everyone knows that Zeus is the philandering, womanizing, cheating husband, right? And Hera is the jealous shrew waiting to clock Zeus with the frying pan when he comes in at daybreak from a night of dalliance, right?

That is the mythology.

In religious cult, there is none of that. Zeus is supreme ruler, giver of democracy, wise and just. Hera is his partner, a regal queen deserving of reverence. The two preside over the institution of marriage.

That is the cult.

Myself, I am highly devoted to Apollo. It took me quite a while to wrap my brain around the Niobe myth- Apollo and Artemis killed the children of Niobe to punish her for insulting their mother, Leto.

How could I ever worship such a god?

What it comes down to again is that his mythology is not his literal truth. I absolutely believe in his literal existence. But not that his mythology is a chronicle of his actual doings

But one thing to think about...even though we may know that Zeus isn't up there literally throwing lightning bolts, we know scientifically how it happens...we don't know for certain that somewhere along the line he is involved in the process, that perhaps he gave the universe that scientific process. Just a thought.

And to echo the many times already said...there are no universal beliefs amongst pagans. So some believe literally, some don't, some believe in specific deities and not others, some are monotheists, duotheists, polytheists, monists, pantheists, panentheists or some combination of the above...

Hope that's helpful.

I don't know how deep you're interested in delving into things, but if you want to learn more of the Greek deities in religion as opposed to mythology, the book Greek Religion by Walter Burkert is great- it's a fairly hefty tome, and many folks find it a bit of a haul. I read from it like a kid reads from a storybook...lol...it's just that fascinating to me.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2008, 09:02:35 pm by fiamma » Logged

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« Reply #19: February 27, 2008, 10:04:23 pm »

Do all pagans believe in the greek gods. I have been reading and studying about paganism, specifically wicca, and is really resonates with me. The greek gods are the one aspect that really confuses me. I am looking for an alternative to catholicism, not to replace one god for many gods. I get the whole goddess and god thing and yes it makes so much sense. But do pagan's really believe that Zeus is in the sky throwing lightning bolts- do they really believe that the seasons change based on a mother that misses her daughter? I first thought that these stories were just ideas or symbols to help focus your energy and intentions, which i could work with. BUT after reading "The outer temple of witchcraft", the author makes it very clear that he believes these gods are REAL.

Can someone explain?? Thanks!

As many of the others have said, it all depends on the individual. While I may believe in and worship the Greek gods, the Pagan two counties north of me may not, they might believe in and worship the Norse gods or the Mesopotamian gods.
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« Reply #20: February 28, 2008, 05:38:54 am »

..If you were to study ancient Greek religion for any period of time, you would quickly learn that the gods of Greece as they were seen in religious cult were very different from the gods as they were portrayed in mythology. The same remains today with many folks who worship the Greek gods...

Wow, thanks for that! I've had that problem for quite a long time now, and you cleared up my mind in an instant with that essay.  Gods in general, not just the Greek ones, do pretty stupid things in myths once in a while... and that really un-motivated me to 'work with them'  Roll Eyes.
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« Reply #21: February 28, 2008, 08:08:34 am »

  You misspelled egyptian. Never a wrong time for a spelling lesson.

-Hannibal

Oh, thanks. *blushes*

Selegna (learning English at The Cauldron).
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« Reply #22: February 28, 2008, 11:26:33 am »

Gods in general, not just the Greek ones, do pretty stupid things in myths once in a while... and that really un-motivated me to 'work with them'  Roll Eyes.

One thing that helped me here was that *people* do pretty stupid things from time to time. Some are so stupid or such a big deal to me that I don't want to spend time with them if I don't have to. But a lot of them are things that I'm not crazy about, or don't like - but either those events were in the past, and they're behaving differently now, or they're not a make-or-break issue for me.

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« Reply #23: February 28, 2008, 10:51:02 pm »

Wow, thanks for that! I've had that problem for quite a long time now, and you cleared up my mind in an instant with that essay.  Gods in general, not just the Greek ones, do pretty stupid things in myths once in a while... and that really un-motivated me to 'work with them'  Roll Eyes.

Happy to be of help.
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« Reply #24: March 17, 2008, 07:50:34 pm »

Do all pagans believe in the greek gods. I have been reading and studying about paganism, specifically wicca, and is really resonates with me. The greek gods are the one aspect that really confuses me. I am looking for an alternative to catholicism, not to replace one god for many gods. I get the whole goddess and god thing and yes it makes so much sense. But do pagan's really believe that Zeus is in the sky throwing lightning bolts- do they really believe that the seasons change based on a mother that misses her daughter? I first thought that these stories were just ideas or symbols to help focus your energy and intentions, which i could work with. BUT after reading "The outer temple of witchcraft", the author makes it very clear that he believes these gods are REAL.

Can someone explain?? Thanks!

the Greek gods were basically an anthropomorphisation of forces on nature which the people of the time couldn't understand. therefore, instead of understanding what causes lightning they would create a deity whose job was to throw lightning during storms.

however, many of the gods also represent archetypal forces present in each of us and by invoking them and working with them it is possible to utilise the energies they represent to your own ends.
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« Reply #25: March 17, 2008, 08:38:20 pm »

however, many of the gods also represent archetypal forces present in each of us and by invoking them and working with them it is possible to utilise the energies they represent to your own ends.

This is one viewpoint. (And some Pagans do indeed believe this).

Others, (myself included) DO believe that the deities exist literally as distinct individuals (and that they may or may not influence or even pay attention to our lives as they see fit.)
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« Reply #26: March 17, 2008, 09:54:59 pm »

the Greek gods were basically an anthropomorphisation of forces on nature which the people of the time couldn't understand. therefore, instead of understanding what causes lightning they would create a deity whose job was to throw lightning during storms.

I think that is a big oversimplification of the Greek gods.  While these deities might be responsible for a particular aspect of nature, they were much more complex personalities than just Zeus = lightening thrower.

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« Reply #27: March 17, 2008, 10:08:26 pm »

the Greek gods were basically an anthropomorphisation of forces on nature which the people of the time couldn't understand.

Others have addressed the multitude of alternate theological views, but I'd like to mention that the ancient Greek philosophers were discussing naturalistic (rather than supernaturalistic) means of explaining the world around them back in the 5-6th C BCE.  The view that "people of the time couldn't understand" any other view is a misunderstanding of the state of ancient thought.

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« Reply #28: March 17, 2008, 10:10:59 pm »

the Greek gods were basically an anthropomorphisation of forces on nature which the people of the time couldn't understand. therefore, instead of understanding what causes lightning they would create a deity whose job was to throw lightning during storms.

however, many of the gods also represent archetypal forces present in each of us and by invoking them and working with them it is possible to utilise the energies they represent to your own ends.

Then how would you explain someone like Athena who isn't connected to the forces of nature?  As others have said, the Greek gods are more than archetypes and they each have distinct personalities and motives.

I'm curious, you said "the Greek gods," do you have the same opinion of all gods?
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« Reply #29: March 17, 2008, 10:33:22 pm »

the Greek gods were basically an anthropomorphisation of forces on nature which the people of the time couldn't understand. therefore, instead of understanding what causes lightning they would create a deity whose job was to throw lightning during storms.

That's quite and oversimplification of the Greek deities and the people who worship them.

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however, many of the gods also represent archetypal forces present in each of us and by invoking them and working with them it is possible to utilise the energies they represent to your own ends.

Many Pagans are true polytheists, however, and believe the Gods are mostly independent entities.
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