Greek Mythology And The Influnces On Religion essay

When we talk about Religion and Mythology, often we mistake them for the same thing. This is often due to the fact that, both are based around stories and full of miracles and special events that, we the readers from a 21st century perspective deem as logically and physically impossible. Growing up as a child, religion was a pillar that personally was brought up with yet at the same time when it came to aspects such as entertainment, Mythology is a key influence on children’s programmer. There is a heavy element of magic realism portrayed in cartoons and T. V. Rise and so from a young age, both entities have at some point come to a crossroad. Linking and binding their stories together for example the monotheistic belief of One God as opposed to the Polytheistic approach Of Mythology. Religion and mythology as aforementioned are related but to a certain extent. Religion and mythology both involve cycles of creation and origins of the human life. Often this makes it difficult for people to distinguish the two, but there are still distinct features that allow us to see the differences in the two entities. Most elements of mythology and religion can be identified as belonging to one or the other.

The eye focus in this essay is to explore the similarities between Christianity and Greek Mythology as believe they are the eldest and most complex ‘religions’ and its seems befitting that we will explore them in depth and come to a conclusion whether Religion is influenced by Mythology at all? At first glance, there does not seem to be much similarity between Christianity and Greek Mythology. However, upon a more detailed examination, one finds many similarities. Cultural influences affect both Christianity and Greek Mythology and cause the similarities seen.

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These two religions’ origins are found in the Near East/European geographical area. Both religions arose within a similar culture, Christianity gaining popularity at the expense of Greek Mythology. The differences that the TV religions have are surface level differences. The most obvious difference deals with the number of gods. In Christianity, there is only one god: Yeah. This God is the personal God of all the Israel people. Yeah forbids the people to worship other gods. They are not allowed to ;worship a fertility god, because Yeah IS the only Fertility God.

He is also the god of war, the god of love; he is the god of everything and anything. The people are to worship only him. This is different in Greek Mythology. There are multitudes of gods. The excepted number of Olympian Gods is 12; however, there are other gods that are worshiped within Greek Mythology. When a new territory was gained that had a different local god, the region was allowed to still worship that god, however, the people had to acknowledge that the Greek Gods were more powerful. This idea can be seen in other religions besides Greek Mythology, like with Babylonian mythology.

The idea was one that helped with tensions between the territory that was taken over and the conquering nation, like the Greeks. It allowed the Greeks to merge and blend with other cultures. In fact there seems to be evidence that this was how the original twelve Olympian Gods originated. The reason why Christianity did not follow in the cultural path is that the role that religion played in society. For the Christians religion was something very serious, it dealt with the eternal soul and the place that the eternal soul would rest once it left this realm.

They believe that a person’s actions here on earth dictates where that person’s soul will go. A person has control over his or her destiny by the choices he or she makes in life. They not only pray to the lord for help in life, but also for help in saving the eternal soul. People pray for to repent whatever sins they may have committed in life. The role of religion of Greek Mythology is not like that. This role deals not with the afterlife, but rather with life on earth. The religion is also very public.

When there is a prayer, it is usually done by a group of people, because they felt that the more people that the gods promised something to (and the bigger the sacrifice) the bigger the reward would be. Often times the religion Was more Of a Status symbol for the rich and powerful. For the most part the people who were active in the religion were very wealthy and powerful, while the lay person was only concerned with local deities (mainly fertility gods). The idea of the afterlife in each religion really affected the role that it played in society. For the Christians the afterlife was very important.

They believed that the choice made on earth dictated the place that one would fill in the afterlife. If one lived a good life, believed that Jesus Christ was the son of God, that he died on the cross for one’s own sins, and one repents one’s sins, one will receives God’s glory in heaven for all eternity. However, if a person does not meet those criteria he or she is doomed to spend eternity outside of God’s light. For some, this existence also includes punishments, while for others never knowing God’s glory or being within his light is the only punishment.

For Christians, the afterlife of reward is easily attainable and within reach to all. This is not true with the Greeks. The afterlife is much different than the Christian afterlife. For the Greeks, the afterlife consisted mainly of wandering aimlessly within the underworld. A very small minority (mostly Heroes or people who have some direct connection with the Gods) re able to live in a part of the underworld known the Isle of the Blessed. This place can be compared to Heaven or Eden. It is a place of great happiness. However, very few people are able to make it there.

However, the reverse side is also true; very few people are put into “Hell,” known to the Greeks as Uterus. Only the worst of the Criminals, the ones the Gods are afraid of are placed here. It is in the lowest part of the Underworld. The idea of afterlife brings up one of the similarities between Christianity and Mythology. The first Obvious similarity is the idea of afterlife itself. However, there are more molarities than that. With Christianity, there is an idea of Heaven and Hell. In the Greek tradition those ideas are called Isle of the Blessed and Uterus respectively.

Now, the way a soul is able to get to Heaven or Hell is different. Another similarity deals with how a soul gets to hell (for Christians) or the underworld (for the Greeks). A soul must travel across a river, and Sharon charters him across. From there, the souls are not able to get back across, they are stuck for eternity. What happens after that varies with each religion. In order for the soul to get to the afterlife, he or she needs a burial for his or err body. If the person is not buried he or she is doomed to wander earth for eternity. This is true in both the Greek and Christian belief.

For the Greeks, a soul is not capable of crossing the river to the underworld if he or she does not receive a burial. A sprinkling of a little earth over the body is least amount of requirement for a burial. This idea is not seen just in the Greek tradition, but in many others, including Christian, Jewish (which was the religion that the Christians split off from), and Native American to name just a few. Besides the idea of death, the after world, and how to get to the after world, the elisions are similar in the roles that men and women are portrayed. This can show a cultural history of the people with whom the religion started.

The role that Women play in the religions is one of submission. A Woman must submit to her husband, father, or older brother. She does not have many rights, and the law (and religion) treats her as property of the head of the house. The Christian Religion portrays women as crafty, cunning, devious, dangerous, and the cause of evil. The bible rarely mentions women by name, unless a woman interacts with a man. When they are, though it usually has some active connotation with it. For instance: Eve. She is responsible for bringing evil into the world. She is the one that gave Adam the forbidden Apple.

It was her fault that God exiled the couple from the Garden of Eden, forced to live and forced to die. Another example is Siebel. She was the wife of ABA, who was the son of Norm and a ruler of Israel. The bible says she brought trouble on the Israelites by bringing in other gods for the people to worship, namely Bal. For the Greeks, women also brought in evil. The myth about Pandora shows this clearly. She was a gift from the Gods to Prometheus’ rather, Euphemisms. The Gods designed her as a punishment to humankind for Prometheus’ trickery. Pandora eventually led to the opening of a jar that contained evils.

She only closes the lid to the jar after all of the evils have escaped, except one. That one was hope. The myth states that Zeus told Pandora to keep hope in. In addition, women were to blame for trouble that occurred during the Trojan War. When Agamemnon refused to give up his girl to appease her father, he angered Apollo. To make things right he gave up the girl, but took Achilles’ girl. This caused Achilles to stop fighting, which dad things bad for the Greeks. Hear shows another example of the deceitfulness and craftiness of women, in Greek Mythology. Hear brings disaster down upon all the illegitimate children Of Zeus.

She does not do this in a forceful way, but chooses cunning ways to cause trouble for humans. Made shows a third example. She causes the trouble for Jason wherever the two of them went. They are kicked out of several towns because of Media’s tricks. Eventually she causes the Season’s downfall. Greek Mythology portrays women as being the homemaker and the person who raises the children. The Goddess’ powers reflect that. For instance, Hesitate is the Goddess of the hearth and home. Hear is the Goddess of marriage. Demeter is the Goddess of grain or rather fertile¶y’ of the soil.

Aphrodite is Goddess of Love. There are causes where this is not true, like with Artemisia, who is the Goddess of Hunting. The role of men differs from women, in that they are to be strong, brave, leaders, and the ones who support the family. In Christianity, the leaders who God chooses are all males. God does not choose any females to rule. He also does not choose to give his covenant to any females. The Old Testament shows men as brave, strong and sis. They seem to know exactly what to do. They are the masters of their house. God also places a different value on female slaves compared to male slaves.

Female slaves usually become concubines or sex slaves, whereas the men become fighters or laborers. Greek Mythology also portrays this idea. When Greek heroes (all of them male) fight a monster (usually female) he usually brings home a female as a war prize. The Iliad shows this quite clearly. When Achilles captured a nearby town of troy the men were killed and the women were taken as slaves. The Greeks then divided the women up the name as they divided the gold and other property. The leaders or rulers in Greek Mythology were all male. Zeus was the ruler of the Stars.

He was the one that supposedly ruled over all of the gods. He beat his wife and children when they got out of line. Zeus used force to control those around him. Poseidon ruled the Oceans, while Hades ruled the Underworld. In Myth, the rulers of the kingdoms were male. The leader of the Greek army at Troy was Agamemnon. The leader of the Trojan side was Prima. All of these similarities, especially the similarities with the role of men and women show a probably cultural influence. The fact that both religions originated in the same region where a culture was already present makes this suggestion more probably.

The Greeks and the Christians lived in a patriarchal society that is; they lived in a male dominated society. The portrayals of women as evil or monsters probably signify that men do not quit know how to relate to women. Men are trying to conquer something they do not quit understand. Besides cultural influence, the similarities could be caused from a way of solving similar problems or a way Of expressing similar fears. When one looks at what caused the fears or way in which the problem was solved one finds hat culture had an influence in it.

This would support the idea that culture influences religion. The differences in the religions probably deal with the culture trying to solve different problems. Since the two religions originated at different times, each would have to solve different problems. The way the problems were resolved affected the religion. Christianity and Greek Mythology have many similarities, which are due to cultural influences. The differences seen between them are because the religion arose in different times and so in a slightly different culture. Http:/Maw. Angelfish. Com/man/ cayenne/writing/mythology. Tm Well first off Greek influenced Roman mythology more, upon which a variation of it known as sun worship was merged with Christianity to create the branch of Christianity the New Testament, is founded on. This is the main source, including such things as the sun being the face of God, the time of Easter etc. December 25 was the “rebirth” of the Sun at the Roman Sol Invites. The face Of Zeus, the bearded man is often credited with influencing the Christian appearance of their God. Many stories in the Bible have been told elsewhere and it is unsure who came first or if indeed all existed multitudinously.

Examples are Cain and Able as a lesson ins sacrifice which was an integral part, showing the hierarchy of what the Gods favor (human, then animal then vegetable) Prometheus cast down for giving fire is comparable to the fruit of knowledge and the casting out of Lucifer It is ironic that the doctrine of Hell, adamantly held to by many Christians as a truth being taught by the one and only God, is actually not new to the Bible at all…. It is in fact a myth that originated with the ancient Greeks. Tartar’s, and Hades are both Greek gods that pre-date the New Testament by at least 700 ears.

Tartar’s is used only one time in the Bible as the place where the Angels who sinned are chained until judgment. The Greek philosopher, Plato wrote that souls were judged after death and those who received punishments were sent to Tartar’s. Pet. 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell (Tartar’s), and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; Tartar’s in Greek mythology, is both a deity and a place in the underworld even lower than Hades. In ancient Orphic sources, Tartar’s is also the unbounded first-existing entity from which the

Light and the cosmos are born. In Hosier’s Theosophy c. 700 BC, the deity Tartar’s was the third force to manifest in the yawning void of Chaos. In The Iliad (c. 700), Zeus asserts that Tartar’s is “as far beneath Hades as heaven is high above the earth It is one of the primordial objects that sprung from Chaos, along with Gaga (Earth) and Eros (Desire). Now doesn’t it seem a bit odd that the Bible states that God is sending the angels who sinned to a mythological place called Tartar’s? The word Hades refers both to the ancient Greek underworld, the abode of Hades, and to the god of the underworld.

The term Hades in Christian theology (and in New Testament Greek) is parallel to Hebrew shell(NUN, grave or dirt-pit), and refers to the abode of the dead. In older Greek myths, the realm of Hades is the misty and gloomy abode of the dead where all mortals go. Later Greek philosophy introduced the idea that all mortals are judged after death and are either rewarded or cursed. Very few mortals could leave this realm once they entered. Five rivers are part Of the realm Of Hades, and their symbolic meanings, are Coacher (the river of sorrow, or woe), Coitus (lamentation), Phlogiston fire), Lethe (oblivion), and Styx (hate).

Also, what I find extremely interesting is that one of the five rivers of Hades is ‘Fire’ which is a direct parallel to Revelation where it is written that Hades is cast into the lake of fire. So, my question is why is this mythological realm of Hades, being spoken of by Jesus as a real place of judgment? Rev. L : 18 1 am he that live, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore Amen; and have the keys of hell (Hades – the Grave) and of death. Rev. 6:8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell(Hades) followed with him.

And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth. Rev. 20:1 3-14 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell (Hades) delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell (Hades) were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. There are many comparisons and parallel similarities that can be said about Greek Mythology and Religion. Most people that are Christians or follow the principles of the Bible believe the stories told in the Bible itself.

The same can be said about the stories of Greek and Roman mythology as well. The idea that many different gods and goddesses controlled the universe can be looked at as stories that are no more than fiction or fantasy. The same could be said about Christianity for non-believers. But majority of these biblical stories are accounts of important people, events, and concepts of Christian faith. Similarities can begin with creation stories where in both the Christian creation story, Genesis, and in many accounts of the Ancient Greek creation Tory, ‘the earth began with darkness and nothingness, or chaos” (Genesis 1 :2), as known to the Greeks.

Both Heaven and Olympus are believed to have beliefs or prophecies that are very similar to each other. The overthrowing of rulers were frequent events in both Greek mythology and in Biblical stories. In both cultures these prophecies usually lead to the attempted suppression, usually murder in Bible stories of the group that the over thrower will supposedly come from. Mount Olympus was considered the residence of the divine family, the twelve most important ruling gods and goddesses of ancient Greece, who were also known as the Olympian.

Some of the Olympian include Zeus, Prometheus and Pandora. They all lived together in an enormous palace, high above the clouds. Olympus is identified with Mountain Olympus in Thessaly, which is the highest mountain in Greece. It mostly is identified though as some mysterious region far above the Earth. Heaven can be referred to as the kingdom of God. It is also said to be the place that the Will of God will be done as well as a place far beyond the Earth. It is associated as a place that is an afterlife for people who have died.

It is also where many biblical stories and teachings take place such as the beginning where “God created heaven and earth” (Genesis 1:1). It can also be great references for comparing people such as God, Jesus, and Eve to mythological figures such as Zeus, Prometheus and Pandora. The similarities are so parallel one must wonder as to the actual origin of these stories both myth and biblical. If the Bible holds so many similarities to Greek and Roman mythology, it causes one to question the actual relevance of the Bible. Christians believed and still believe to this day that those who worship other gods are heretical and pagan.

Although Christians refuse to accept that these stories are not historical accounts written by God through man, one cannot discount the likeness of both the stories of the Greek Gods and stories of the Bible. The common person cannot look past the facts, all of which are written in a book cherished by so many. Anyone can prove that the fall of Rome was credited partly to the rise of Christianity, and the Christianity that we know today had to start from somewhere. One may even go so far as to say, the stories in the bible are stories of Greek mythology changed to suit the belief system of what Christianity is today.