Hey Zeus! Is That Jesús?

3 Apr

 

Archaeologists say they have discovered the ‘Gates of Hell’, the mythical portal to the underworld in Greek and Roman legend. The site, in southwestern Turkey, is said to closely match historical descriptions of what was, once upon a time, a small temple with traditional Greco-Roman pillars said to have stood next to a wall with steps leading down to a cave doorway filled with foul and noxious gasses.

Describing the site over 2 thousand years ago, the Greek geographer Strabo said: “any animal that passes inside meets instant death.” In fact the portal still spews noxious carbon dioxide fumes which are still lethal to those who breath it.

It seems strange however, that such a deadly place would have a visitors center. What were people thinking when they visited there? Was this just a clever way for the ancient Greeks to eliminate malcontents and trouble makers that they didn’t want around anymore? “Hey Nikki, show these people the gates of hell. They’ll love it! And don’t worry about the fumes folks because…you know…the place is mythical.”

But then again religious beliefs and those who believe in them unquestioningly have always baffled me. Once upon a time hell was underground and heaven was up on the highest mountain tops. Then once humans visited those places we believed that heaven and hell were just a little further out of reach. Now we are sure that they must be in another dimension because we can’t find them anywhere in this one.

It has always amazed me how people who seem to question the validity of  just about everything these days never seem to have any questions about the efficacy of Bible stories…even when they seem to make very little sense or are childishly whimsical… For instance: How did Adam and Eve populate the world all by themselves without the help of incest? How come Jesus and all of his Jewish friends walked around Judea calling each other by Greek names? Or why did all mothers back in the day think that sending their babies down rivers in little baskets was a great way to get their kids adopted into a royal and loving family? 8 people and 2 of every animal species on 1 boat? What divinely inspired writer could possibly have thought that the sun moved? (not to mention the creation of daylight savings time just to have more time for killing people) And no matter how old the Shroud of Turin is, why isn’t anyone curious as to why Jesus’ sweat shadow looks like a medieval knight from Prince Valiant’s Nordic castle?

Anyway, maybe that’s just me, but people once believed that the underworld was a place where souls went after death and at that moment of death the soul was separated from the corpse, taking on the shape of the former person, and transported to the entrance of Hades.

Nowadays many still believe in the soul separation thing and an afterlife in some other-where where living people cannot go…But curiously, even if most of us believe that we are headed to someplace nice and wonderful like Heaven where God and all of our family and friends are waiting to be reunited with us, no one is in a hurry to “smell the vapors” and get there any time soon. And if we meet someone who is we call them crazy and write them a prescription for Prozac!

We even have laws prohibiting the voluntary passage through that portal by any humans at anytime other than their God’s chosen, naturally prescribed, day of reckoning… no matter how ready they are or how much pain they are in, or are suffering etc… We don’t want to hear it! There will be no going to that wonderful place of bliss unless God says so, or there’s some kind of unavoidable man made collateral damage… or whichever comes first.

Why is that? What do we all have against death if happiness beyond compare awaits? Even Jesus said, “To conquer death you only have to die.” But even so, for a paradise that we only have to die to get into… there really is no one who is dying to get into it… is there?

 

14 Responses to “Hey Zeus! Is That Jesús?”

  1. rbdavis5 April 3, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

    I thought I read the other way they knew it was the gateway to hell was because the road to it was paved with good intentions.

  2. Janyaa April 3, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

    “But then again religious beliefs and those who believe in them unquestioningly have always baffled me…” Me, too!

    In regards to your points about religion and euthanasia, I’ve always thought it was particularly ironic when super religious people insist on keeping the patient (victim?) on life support by claiming we should wait on God’s timing. With that logic, keeping them plugged in is thwarting His will…right?

    Regardless, that temple looks pretty cool. It doesn’t matter if we’re in ancient Greece, the Middle Ages, or modern times, Death remains mankind’s best kept secret, and the greatest equalizer of us all.

  3. TamrahJo April 3, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

    I think the moral and religious beliefs that state it is wrong for us to want to choose our own time of death all started in a time when slaves and peasants grew all the food and did all the work, but were so miserable, they wanted to ‘be done’ – hence, the wealthy elite, with the help of the spiritual leaders, both of whom had no desire to grow their own food or wash their own laundry, made sure the peons new that to escape from their miserable existence was the surest way to spend eternity in a place worse than they already occupied –

    Not scientificly or historically hard to figure that ball game out… 🙂

    In today’s culture, we’ve inherited these beliefs, but more importantly, our taxes are desperately needed – –

    LOL 🙂

  4. hbw April 3, 2013 at 11:03 pm #

    I think that the Christian prohibition on suicide was to originally to discourage people from actively seeking martyrdom in the sense of trying to become spiritual superstars. I don’t know what the situation is in where you are, but here there is no prohibition on suicide.(It used to be a crime, but that was originally because the estate of a person who committed suicide went to the Crown (the state)). What IS illegal is assisting someone to die, which is more complicated because you have to be able to distinguish between people who know their own minds and have caring families, people who are temporarily depressed and people who are being pressured by greedy relatives.

  5. appletonavenue April 4, 2013 at 2:48 am #

    I saw this story recently, and really enjoyed your take on it. Then tonight I saw a program on volcanoes in Iceland and it said that in 1783 30 volcanoes opened up on the island. People at the time called it “The Gates of Hell.” Now I’m confused, is the Gate in Iceland or Turkey?

  6. st sahm April 4, 2013 at 3:14 am #

    Fascinating…mortal knowledge and faith… How could we as mere humans handle omniscience and omnipotence?

  7. serendipityherbals April 4, 2013 at 3:34 am #

    It won’t make any sense if taken “literally”. And goodness knows, the Bible has been edited and edited, and ideas of this touching have moved through time in many forms. God can only be known through walking into an unknown gate.

  8. serendipityherbals April 4, 2013 at 3:52 am #

    >>>Even Jesus said, “To conquer death you only have to die.” But even so, for a paradise that we only have to die to get into… there really is no one who is dying to get into it… is there?<<< It is something beyond the literal, and people go through it all the time, to this day. Some priests have, many who preach have not. It is something beyond title and rank (which even Jesus knew). Most people worship concepts, and do not understand WHAT is being represented, and have fallen for idolatry. Idolatry isn't just images and statues. The Bible points. Jesus was a person, and he pointed. That's the point, a path, a walk, a journey. So, where will one find God? Plato "so ancient is the desire of one another which is implanted in us, reuniting our original nature, making one of two, and healing the state of man. Who would walk into Hell, walk through a portal? Whose concept of Hell is that, and why would they find something there? There are whole religions outside of Christianity, which are the same flow of spiritual knowledge as Christianity, and yet, how claims are made by many that one or another is the only? Only what, and who walks through portals? Those who want to know and not believe!

  9. Ophelia's Dreaming April 4, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

    I don’t know how anyone could take the Bible literally. To do so borders on the ridiculous. IMHO.

    In my days as an RN I witnessed what I can only call a denial of death ~ families wanting to keep the body ‘alive’ by any and all means. At some point it seems undignified. And, how will we know when someone is ‘meant to die’ if s/he is on life support?

  10. Jason Preater April 4, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    Now I’m waiting for them to find the Pearly Gates just to round things off nicely!

  11. Jae April 4, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

    From a Christian perspective, killing oneself is considered sinful because it is something you are destroying that doesn’t actually belong to you. Your will belongs to you and you can still choose to murder yourself. But we only get one shot at this existence. I think of it in terms of visiting a place you can only visit once, and rather than cut your visit short because you’re home sick or whatever the reason, to instead find what wonders and experiences the place has to offer you for the limited time you have. Plus, I’m more of the belief that our lives have specific purposes. (Think of the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”.) We’re here to make the world a better place, though of course we still have the free will not to do all those things we might have done to improve our lives.

    I personally don’t fear death, because I firmly believe in “the soul separation thing” and that my family will be waiting for me on the other side. But in the meantime, I intend to enjoy every bit of life I have while here on Earth. If that’s not something you can believe, that’s okay. Anyway, that’s my perspective.

  12. ontyrepassages April 6, 2013 at 2:11 am #

    It isn’t just you. Apparently the divine hand that wrote the Bible needed help so in some cases ancient Greek tales were usurped and the names changed. I’m still trying to figure-out the argument that the Bible is law, but you can’t take it literally. Huh?

  13. Po' Girl Shines April 9, 2013 at 12:26 am #

    Jesus said the kingdom of God is within us, I guess if we let it.

  14. medtitou31 April 9, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

    Reblogged this on medtitou31.

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