Religion, even I have to admit, has a very interesting history in the world and among the human race. Humans have chosen to believe some insane shit over the years, after all, and it’s easy to look at it with a certain air of smugness in our modern times. Egyptians, for example, used to believe that the sun god Ra actually hauled the sun across the sky every day with his chariot, hence the apparent movement of the sun. To think that the Earth was actually rotating would have been absurd, ofr course.
Going through grade school and high school, we learned a great deal about Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and, eventually, Norse mythology. I used to love the stories about the Greek gods, Zeus hurling his thunderbolts from atop Olympus, getting it on with human women and fathering demi-gods all over the place, Perseus and the Pegasus, Clash of the Titans, and all that.
It was in high school that I fearst learned of the Norse gods and, let me tell ya, they were BADASS! If you’re unfamiliar with it, Valhalla (the Norse idea of Heaven) is essentailly a 24-7 mead hall where the souls of those killed in battle go to drink and fight and rape and pillage for eternity. If you watch Star Trek: The Next Generation (or any of the newer Trek shows) watch the Klingons closely, their culture seems to be closely modeled on the Norse.
Of course, the world has seen a lot of mythology that they didn’t teach us in school too. The Sumerians had an interesting take on the concept of divinity, with their idea of old and new gods. The old, or elder, gods were largely responsible for the creation of the world as we know it, but since then have become something certainly less than benevolent. The dragon goddess, Tiamat, for example was, in myth, literally torn asunder by the warrior god Marduk, who then used half of her body to form the earth and the other half to create the sky. And here I thought the idea of it being spoken into existence by an invisible Sky Daddy over the course of six days was silly. Also numbered amongst the Elder Gods (capitalization used for effect here) is the mighty Cthulu, a hideous and heinous deity that many believe to have been the creation of writer H.P. Lovecraft. Whether Cthulu is actually the product of Lovecraft’s rather deranged imagination or not, there is no doubt that here is a god I can get behind. No burning bush or writing on stone tablet mysticism, no build a boat because I’m going to flood the world BS here. If you’re in place A and Cthulu is in place A, Cthulu will devour you whole and that is pretty much that. Dude’s huge and has a face full of tentacles and he does NOT fuck around. that’s my kind of Elder God.
You have to wonder, why would anyone “worship” a deity as heinous and evil as Cthulu? Then, when you think about it, Yahweh is a pretty nasty customer himself, isn’t he? In the Old Testament he drowns every living thing on Earth save Noah and his bunch, he turns Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt, and he orders the murder of every first born child in Egypt and deems that to be spared this loss the family must sacrifice an innocent animal and smear it’s blood all over the front door. This is still honored today in the Jewish celebration of Passover. Icky.
In fact, the God of the Bible, in the Bible, is solely responsible for literally millions of deaths while Satan, the Dark One and the Ultimate Enemy is guilty of perhaps… three? makes you wonder.
And then there’s the whole Jesus story. What a piece of work. The Greeks, Romans, egyptians, and Norse together never came up with anything this absurd. God creates man with free will and, therefore, the ability to sin. Man’s sins cause him to fall short of the majesty of god, so god offers himself as a sacrifice to himself to save us all from himself. i know it sounds like a bad internet meme, but that’s the gist of it. Never mind that creepy-ass Last Supper and the observance of Holy Communion. “Let’s get together this Sunday to eat the flesh and drink the blood of our holy savior!” What the actual fuck?
Even the Biblical Last Supper scene is nasty. “This is my body, broken for you. Take this and eat in rememberance of me.” You’re one sick bastard, Jesus.
Of course any god that lets thousands of children die of starvation every day while he is busy helping Tim Tebow throw touchdown passes is suspect in my book, but that’s just me.