Greek Religion (1)

Unlike many religions, such as Christianity, Islam, and Mormonism, Greek religion had no developed theology such as we would recognize. Nor was there an institutionalized worship of the gods such as we would recognize. The Greeks did not go to temples and worship the gods like we go to church to worship God. There were priests, but these were not like the Aaronic priesthood of the Old Testament. The priests oversaw the operations of the temples, but the Greeks did not need to go to the temples to worship the gods.

Moreover, there was no special revelation such as the Bible, the Koran, or the Book of Mormon. The works of Homer, the Iliad and the Odyssey, were in a limited sense “holy books.” All Greeks revered them, and Homer was called “the teacher of all the Greeks.” But unlike the Bible, Homer’s books contain no codified religious dogmas and no detailed religious law codes.

Further, unlike the Bible’s portrayal of God, the Greeks came increasingly to rezlie that the character of the gods was not worthy of imitation by man. The moral code of Homer’s works is not spelled out systematically like in the Bible, but would have been “absorbed” by those who heard him performed (or later read him). How should you think and live? Why, like the great heroes and heroines in Homer, of course! This meant seeking arete, or “excellence,” and part of excellence was showing proper reverence for the gods – the most excellent beings of all.

Rather than being a covenantal bond as it is in Christianity, Greek worship of the gods was what some have characterized as a do ut des affair. The Latin phrase means, “I give in order that you may give [to me].”

(Continued in Part 2)