Why were the Greek Gods imperfect and often morally dubious, while the God of Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism) is described as perfect and holy?
Myths of Ancient Greece are substantially different from that in what the contemporary people of Abrahamic religions believe. The gods of Olympus were sinners and committed various misdeeds with impunity. What is the essence of such a difference and why the ancient Greeks wanted to pattern themselves on the imperfect deities? Answer to this question should be sought in the ancient Greek epics and mythology.
In the Abrahamic religions there is only one god. He is the embodiment of everything holy and immaculate. In his scientific work Honderich states that Abrahamic religions are also called religions of revelation that are based on the fact that God disclose himself to people, telling his will and prescribing a certain behavior (Honderich, 1995, p. 314-315).
But the ancient Greek regarded the God a little differently. They were active, energetic people, who did not fear to discover the real world. In his work, Bryant writes that in their search for protection from the terrible natural forces, Greeks, like all ancient peoples, passed through fetishism, which later remained in the worship to beautiful statues of their gods (Bryant, 1807, p. 219-225). But the Greeks very early moved to anthropomorphism, creating their gods in the image of people. And they saw in the gods the beings, in which all the characteristics proper to person manifested in a grand and sublime form. Of course, it helped the Greeks to better understand themselves through the gods, to understand their own intentions and deeds and to estimate their strengths in real way. This is a reflection of a real life and a real human characters of ancient times.
Thus, we can say that the ancient Greeks were looking in the gods for themselves, for their successes and their problems. They did not make the gods perfect since they, themselves, were not ideal. In their turn, the confessors of the Abrahamic religions gave to the one Lord all the ideal qualities, since they are trying to inherit them and to live by God’s laws.
Honderich, T. (1995). God. In The Oxford companion to philosophy (pp. 314-315). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bryant, J. (1807). A new system; or, An analysis of antient mythology … (3d ed., Vol. 1, pp. 219-225). London: Printed for J. Walker.
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