–Response Paper Essay, Research Paper
Many of the stories written by Greek authors fill the mind with questions that parallel those asked by Christian minds throughout the world. Does God or the Greek gods predestine what will happen in a person’s life? Many Christians in the world believe that this is the case and it is obvious that the ancient Greeks had these types of beliefs. The idea that the Christian God has it in for a person is flawed. The idea that separate gods get angry with different people and then try to get back at them for however they were wrongs is anti-Christian and draws the line between God and the Greek gods.
The main problem with Greek gods is that they are not all powerful. They are also not very intelligent. It is a little like the super spy movies of the nineteen sixties where the evil Soviet spy put the good American or British agent into a device that was meant to kill him. True these devices were effective killers if they took three seconds perform their task, unfortunately for the evil Russian their device always allowed plenty of time for the good spy to escape and foil the Russian’s plans for world domination. In a way that is how the gods are. If Poseidon was so powerful and really wanted to kill Odysseus why didn’t he just talk Zeus into frying Odysseus with a lightning bolt? Either Poseidon had no desire to kill Odysseus or he simply did not have the power to do that.
Greek gods do not know how a person’s life will turn out. In the Odyssey after Odysseus ruins Cyclops’ eye Cyclops prays to his father Poseidon and says, “Hear me, Poseidon, Girdler of Earth, god of the sable locks. If I am yours indeed and you accept me as your son, grant that Odysseus, who styles himself Sacker of Cities and son of Laertes, may never reach his home in Ithaca. But if he is destined to reach his native land, to come once more to his own house and see his friends again, let him come late, in evil plight, with all his comrades dead, and when he is landed, by a foreign ship, let him find trouble in his home” (Homer, pp 154). It goes on to say that Poseidon heard his prayer. The outcome is known that part of Cyclops’ prayer is answered. Obviously it was not known to Poseidon that Odysseus was going to gouge out Cyclops’ eye or else Poseidon would have done something to stop it earlier, in fact the story alludes that Poseidon was not even aware that it had happened until Cyclops prayed to him. These gods are not powerful enough to have a person’s life planned out before they are born.
The Greek gods simply play the small and backseat role to man. If someone prophesied that a god would become angry at some point the man who angered the god could make a sacrifice to the gods and pray for clemency. In the Odyssey the Phaeacian’s ship was turned to stone because Poseidon wanted to teach them a lesson. “For the future give up your custom of seeing home any traveler who comes to our city; and for the present let us sacrifice twelve picked bulls to Poseidon. He may take pity on us and refrain from hemming in our town with a long mountain range” (Homer, pp 206-207). The Phaeacians would not attempt this unless they thought there was a chance for results.
To put it very simply, Greek gods are powerless and are dim-witted. They will try to stop humans from doing what they want for a little while. Unfortunately for the gods with their minimal powers they do not have the power to stop a persistent human with a mind to do what they want. It is almost ridiculous how powerless these gods are. They cause a big wave or an earthquake and apparently that is supposed to have these classic Greek men quaking in their boots. Obviously the classic Greek man would give Zeus the ancient Greek version of “the finger” and then go on to succeed at whatever task they were doing prior to the gods getting involved. Odysseus would just cuss at Poseidon and make Poseidon look like a fool.