Well aware that this is unnecessary, I write it anyway...
Jesus was a weak god who couldn't withstand being questioned.
And what about those miracles?
Jehova: "I made the entire world and everything in it!"
Yeshua: "I made dinner and took a stroll."
This? Certainly it's impressive if you're a poor shepherd or carpenter. Especially a hungry one. I expect the creator god to have a better imagination than me, however, rather than a worse one. Perhaps this is why Gandalf had to be so anemic? "I have, like, a lightbulb. A big one." Law 1 of the 48 laws of power: don't outshine the master.
Even Thor can make lightning. Jesus can make lunch.
Free fish sandwiches is cool and all, but it's not exactly top-tier, you know?
Jehova allegedly did bigger things, but conveniently it's all stuff that can happen non-miraculously, with the occasional thing that leaves no archaeological record. As if someone was making it up and was aware they might be questioned about it...
Likewise, the Christian miracles are all things than can be done by a canny schemer or outright lied about. Handy, that.
Of course we can do this to Zeus et al as well. What does Zeus do that's genuinely miraculous? He turns into animals. Apparently not only does he not make his own lightning bolts, they don't even return on their own. If his eagle rebelled he would be kind of boned.
No, what Zeus does is all stuff regular vanilla humans can do, ± exaggeration and embellishment. "My wife cheated on me with the strongman, but uh it wasn't her fault he looked like a swan at the time." Beastiality makes it okay, does it? Err, if you say so. Carry on.
Zeus was a peltast who was mythologized after endless retelling. The lightning bolts are distorted javelins, which is why they need to be carried back. The guy who invented music probably was named Apollo or something, but that was millennia before Attica existed, and he was just some dude, not literally the sun.
Allegedly ignorant tribesmen tell stories like this because they don't know any better. In reality there are atheists and skeptics even among the Yanomamo. No, ignorant moderns seriously pass on the myth that the tribesmen took these stories seriously, instead of telling them to children for entertainment.
Some fools would take it seriously, as the Yanomamo have not only atheists, but fanatics, just like everyone else. They tend not to be told because making fun of them is fun. Why ruin the fun? It's bonus entertainment. They probably won't believe the debunking anyway, what with being such fools.
Heracles could apparently crush boulders with his bare hands, yet he's okay with proving himself. The top dogs get angry when you ask them to prove themselves because they're aware they can't. (Zeus seems okay with it though.) I'm not 100% sure why this works. Why does anyone buy it? It does work, though. Being able to force others to stop asking for proof counts as proof, apparently. Not being able to do so counts as condemnation.
Perhaps because the bottom 88% can't read proof anyway? It would be meaningless even if provided. The top 12% already know they can't prove themselves without having to ask, but can appreciate that it is (sometimes) best not to rock the boat, a sophistication the bottom 88% can't manage. (Percentages subject to revision.)
You can ask an Abrahamite why Jehova didn't put a Fence around the Tree. This is the kind of question a genuinely curious person might ask to understand the stories. They don't try to answer it though, they just get upset.
Like it's two naked dudes and an allegedly omnipotent overlord. Who is really responsible for what happens in this situation? "I know the future. Therefore, what happens is your fault." Wat?
Quick question: would the creator god realize his performance would look like a scam to folk even the next town over? Would he expect this obvious-scam isomorph to be convincing in the future?
(Don't really ask this of an Abrahamite. Melting snowflakes on purpose is unkind, unnecessary, and ineffective.)
Theology is way, way easier if you assume there are no omnipotent powers, or at least none you can reach from here. Or, more generally: don't take it too seriously. I interpret St. Augustine as a Straussian. In fact he believed the entire Bible was metaphorical, but had to say he took some of it literally for political reasons. Churches tend to fill with foolish fanatics, after all. The "One True God" nonsense actively encourages their Prideful self-indulgence.
P.S. Don't outshine the master is such an important principle that Greene repeats it in the laws of war. Though partly this is because Fascism is an envy-worship cult, encouraging such degenerate anti-glory behaviour.
P.P.S. Speaking of foolish fanatics, care to laugh at folk expecting Greek myth to be consistent? Yeah when the one guy comes up with the Heracles/Atlas myth, all the other myth-tellers rush to ensure their myths show Heracles is strong enough to hold up the sky. Sure.
By the way, no Heracles wasn't dumb, he was intellectually lazy. Liked flexing his arms, not his brain. He could, but would avoid doing so if at all possible. That said, won't is a lot like can't.
P.P.P.S. The moral I take is that humans are fuckin' dumb and even if they were told about genuine divinity they wouldn't remember, or understand if they did remember. Exactly the same way that if you told an ancient Greek about quantum mechanics, they would dismiss you as a raver. Exactly the way that if you told an ant about grocery stores, they probably wouldn't even realize you're talking to them, and couldn't even imagine it if you did. Even though you're talking to an ant who is in a grocery store at the time.
Humans tell each other things they can understand that's vaguely divinely inspired, at best.
Gods/divinities don't keep humans in check by the application of psychic power, there is too much low hanging fruit (I keep reading that this is the case in spiritualist literature).
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