“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”
Back in the old Greek times, there lived a man named Orpheus. Loved his wife, took it easy on the ouzo, played a mean guitar. Upstanding guy. So what did the almighty gods do? They fucked with him. Made his life Hades. Why? ‘Cause that’s what those in power do to those of us with none.
So, Orpheus’ wife’s strolling along, gets bitten by a snake, and dies. Orpheus freaks out and heads down to the underworld to demand that his lady be returned. And some goddess says, “Okay, on one condition. If you look at her before you get back to Earth, she’ll disappear.” With, like, ten feet to go, motherfucker turns around and wife is sent right back to hell. Orpheus should have known better: you don’t fuck with the gods!
So, Orpheus returns to Earth. Alone. Sad. And what happens? Do the town’s people console him? Fuck no. They blame him for his failure and tear him to bits, literally. Then they throw his organs in the river. All this ‘cause he let his family down, ‘cause he took one last look at someone he loved. The gods don’t have a sentimental bone in their bodies.
I would not mind having to write the description panel that introduces an exhibit/gallery/work of art.
These are my favourite things.
Ancient cultures did not worship idols. Their god-statues represented ideal states which, when meditated constantly upon, one might aspire to. Science proves there never was a mermaid, blue-skinned Krishna or a virgin birth in physical reality. Yet thought is real, and the domain of thought is the one place where gods inarguably exist, wielding tremendous power. If Aphrodite were a myth and Love only a concept, then would that negate the crimes and kindnesses and songs done in Love’s name? If Christ were only ever fiction, a divine Idea, would this invalidate the social change inspired by that idea, make holy wars less terrible, or human betterment less real, less sacred?