In ancient Greek religions, people dressed up with animal heads for costumes and believed that most animals had definite human characteristics and emotions. Many of their deity back then were depicted as having visible beaks, talongs, fangs and/or claws. Greek deity, such as Zeus, were capable of changing into any animal form, at will (because they were shape shifters).
In the Christian Bible as well, there are many human-animal stories that go well beyond the tale of Baalam talking to (and understanding the audible replies of) his donkey. Amazingly, Baalam, who was utterly clueless, continually beat the donkey each time it saved Baalam from the angel of death.
In the New Testament we read that the Holy Spirit shapeshifted into a dove before it descended upon John the Baptist. Christian myths also depicted Satan as having cloven hooves. Reportedly the devil travels about "like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8). Here's another Biblical reference where a wealthy man grew a tail and began eating grass like a cow or ox: Job 40:15
"Behold now Behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox. 16 Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly. 17 He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together."
Reverting back to that reference to Satan (aka Christian devil) many historians say that the creation of this evil character was Christianity's means for mocking the Greek God Pan. (What better way to crush one's enemy, emotionally, than to use ridicule against what others hold sacred and dear?)
So you see? Greek stories and practices drammatically influenced modern religion and that makes me wonder why Greek traditions are often referered to as "mythology" today when the Christian teachings presents equally fantastical beliefs but are not regularly characterized as "myth." In many instances, Christianity seems to have borrowed Greek stories in their entirety and merely changed the names of the main characters; as if plagiarizing Greek tales could better legitimize what the Jews believed.
Similar to the stories of Jesus, son of the Christian God, and how he reportedly healed the sick, in Greek mythology Asclepius, son of the most powerful God Apolo, was widely worshipped as the greatest healer of all. What's more, Chiron, another Greek icon, was the famed as the "wounded healer."
Besides changing the names of Greek Gods or making a mockery of them, Christianity also copied or ridiculed other Pagan beliefs as well. Ancient spiritual people regularly practiced spiritual healing and divination techniques; even delved into various means of fortune telling. And while the Bible condemns fortune tellers, the Israelites are recorded as regularly "casting lots" (a divination tool that sounds amazingly similar to the Nordic Runes). From those cast lots, the Jews foretold future events and solved criminal mysteries.
Yet while King Saul (Old Testament) consulted a witch for the purpose of fortune telling, the Bible declares that witches (just like the Greek God Pan and all other Pagan gods) are evil.
That last fact seems to make Christians (and their Bible) look very two-faced; especially when you consider how they wildly condemned the Sepharvites for burning their children in the fire (2 Kings 17:30-31), as they should have done, but then turned right in a very hypocritical manner to fully applaud Abraham for his willingness to murder his only son Isaac on an altar for the Christian's deity (Genesis 22:1-19).
To those who are quick to be judgmental, I would quote their own sacred text: (Luke 6:41) "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"
I'll even quote Jesus: (Matthew 23:15) "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are."
And again: Here's Jesus speaking on such divisive behavior even further: (Matthew 23:27) "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean."
** Judgmental and dogmatic behaviors that we have all witnessed (acted against us) are exactly why so many of us are now claiming to be "spiritual" and not "religious." Dogma clearly separates and divides tribes of people. In contrast, spirituality unites us all. **
~ Tami Jackson
A new page in my life ...
5 years ago