Bible stories and Greek religion

I am in Ecuador for the next two months with the four small children of my sister-in-law. I wish I knew more Incan myths to tell them – I’m gonna spend some time on Encyclopedia Mythica soon – but since I don’t, I’ll work with what I know. My niece (the oldest, at 9 years old) got a copy of D’Aulaire’s Greek Myths for Christmas last year, so we can talk about some of the gods and goddesses now and she already knows their background stories. But when she asked me to tell her about Greek Religion this afternoon, I found myself at a bit of a loss.

My niece is Catholic, although I’m not, and I am trying to be respectful of the religious education she is currently receiving. Her parents are smart, and very open to her learning about different traditions, but obviously they want her to understand why they have put their faith in their God and no others.

So she asked me, and when I hesitated she answered her own question, throwing her hands wide and saying almost scornfully, there’s Gods and Gods and Gods. Her grandfather, a very well read man himself, agreed with her saying, “they seemed to make up a god for everything.”

Well. I am not a neo-Hellenist, but I was indignant. “Perhaps,” I said, attempting to keep the frustration out of my voice, “they saw God in the world around them.” It was a gross oversimplification that almost made me cringe, but it had an effect. Suddenly it didn’t seem to her like these were simple uneducated people without the benefit of her theological background, but people just like her with a different perspective. In short, people she could learn from. And the myths – though still not the same (nor should they be taken as such) as the biblical cannon she is learning – began to earn her respect as meaningful to those people who told them.


One response to “Bible stories and Greek religion”

  1. religion is a good thing since this is our only connection to a higher being;”.

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