Rebel Without a Prayer

While researching Prometheus on Wikipedia, I came across this interesting observation regarding Aeschylus’ take on the character: “In Hesiod, the story of Prometheus (and, by extension, of Pandora) serves to reinforce the theodicy of Zeus: he is a wise and just ruler of the universe, while Prometheus is to blame for humanity’s unenviable existence. In Prometheus Bound, this dynamic is transposed: Prometheus becomes the benefactor of humanity, while every character in the drama (except for Hermes, a virtual stand-in for Zeus) decries the Olympian as a cruel, vicious tyrant.”

The implication is that the gods aren’t necessarily always right. I was thinking of this in light of the God of the Abrahamic religions, and the tale of the rebellion of Satan.

I’m not trying to say that Satan is all that much like Prometheus. The latter is an advocate of mankind, while the former is the greatest enemy of humanity. In fact, some versions of the story have it that one reason for the rebellion was that God favored humanity over the angels. And the motivation of Satan is to set himself up as ruler of the universe, hardly a noble cause. Let’s put the character of Lucifer aside for a minute, though, and just look at the idea of whether it would ever be acceptable to rebel against God. The typical response of believers is that it isn’t, because God is perfectly good and just. How do we know this is true, though? From God’s own word? Well, of COURSE he’s going to say that! If we examine what the Bible says about God, though, I wouldn’t be so sure. What about how he promotes genocide in the book of Joshua? Or the episode where he kills David’s baby with Bathsheba in order to punish the king’s wrongdoing? If these things would be wrong for humans to do (and I think we can all agree on that), why is it acceptable for God to do them? And if we say God has to be held to a different standard, then what right does he have to dictate morality for the rest of us?

History has established that nobody likes a ruler who declares himself above the law, so why do so many people still hold to a religion that’s structured that way? It almost seems that, if God exists and has the character with which he’s usually portrayed, it would be our duty to rebel against him, even though someone revolting against an all-powerful being doesn’t have (if you’ll pardon the expression) a prayer. Now, some people probably believe in God but regard those Old Testament episodes as examples of a more primitive notion of the Almighty, and hence not really accurate when it comes to establishing God’s character. Even they seem to think God has the authority to kill people whenever he wants, though, right? I don’t know. It kind of seems like, if God exists, he has a pretty good scam going on.

This entry was posted in Christianity, Greek Mythology, Judaism, Mythology, Religion and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Rebel Without a Prayer

  1. Pingback: Baby, You Can Drive My Karma | VoVatia

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