Does Zeus Exist?

An interesting opinion article by a professor of philosophy on the question of whether or not Zeus existed.  His conclusion:

On reflection, then, I’m inclined to say that an atheistic denial of Zeus is ungrounded.  

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2 Responses to “Does Zeus Exist?”

  1. Atheistic denial of any spiritual “fact” is, in metaphor, like atheistic denial of the existence of China.

    Unless a person hasn’t been there (I haven’t), or they’ve been there and now choose to deny that those experiences were “real,” they just have to take other people’s word for it.

    “But China’s real!” Let’s all say it in unison. How do we know? We’ve seen maps. We have met people from there, or who have visited the place and brought back pictures.

    Of course, accepting China’s reality is a far cry from believing every piece of propaganda they release, or accepting the official worldview of the leaders.

    There’s a world of difference between “I accept the proposition that ‘China’ has some kind of existence” and “I am loyal to China and identify myself with it.”

    In the same way, one can accept the proposition that people have valid religious experiences without necessarily accepting that their underlying assumptions about the universe are true for all people in all times and all places.

    To return to the article, the Ancient Greeks clearly had meaningful religious experiences they categorized as “experience of the divine.” Even if we don’t accept the Greek Gods into our lives, we can still accept that they did.

  2. I think in these matters, we can at the very least refer to the Thomas Theorem from 1928 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_theorem)

    “If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences”

    I tend to go further; The whole point of magic is that we shape our lives, both in ordinary, causual choices and in acausual “magickal” choices. We shape the world, one way or another – why would we not think that our beliefs are real, since they have such very real consequences?

    Are they real or not?

    “Mu” ( http://www.ibiblio.org/zen/gateless-gate/1.html )

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