There Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

Millenia ago, the Greeks worshiped a myriad of gods and goddesses. Zeus & the Olympians[ref]Sounds like a band name…[/ref] ruled over a variety of areas of life from high upon Mount Olympus.

Local legend taught that the Olympians often came down to interact with mortal humans.[ref]It is, after all, how Heracles is supposed to have been conceived![/ref] When finished, they would return to Olympus, the tallest mountain in all of Greece, and their residences within its gorges.

From Olympus, Zeus would hurl lightning down into the realm of humans, while he and the other deities would observe, judge, and perhaps even be entertained by the actions of the mortals.

Why, then, did the Greeks never climb Olympus to find their gods? Was it fear? Were those who did climb it simply disbelieved upon their return?

We face our own Olympuses today, stories of gods[ref]Far fewer of them, fortunately.[/ref] who in strange & marvelous ways interact with humankind for their own purposes.

In Christianity, for instance, the Bible tells us to not test God,[ref]Whatever his name is.[/ref][ref]Deuteronomy 6:16, Luke 4:12.[/ref] and to fear him because of how powerful and capable of destruction he is.[ref]Matthew 10:28.[/ref]

The Bible is a big book, though.[ref]Bigger still, if you’re a Roman Catholic or otherwise accept any apocryphal, deuterocanonical, or pseudopigraphical books as part of the Bible.[/ref] There may have been a time when its admonishments to blind faith[ref]2 Corinthians 5:7.[/ref][ref]I say “blind faith” because the Bible explicitly says “not by sight.”[/ref] motivated by fear were enough. But we have come too far as a global human civilization — too far civilly, too far scientifically, too far morally — to not explore Olympus — our Bibles, our Korans, our catechisms, our Book of Mormons, etc.

Kevin Strom wrote, “To determine the true rulers of any society, all you must do is ask yourself this question: Who is it that I am not permitted to criticize?”[ref] “All America Must Know the Terror That is Upon Us” (1993).[/ref][ref]You may know that better as “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize,” often misattributed to Voltaire.[/ref] Plenty of people would say that we are not allowed to criticize religion — when we do, it leads to terrorist attacks, religious protests, banned books, constant lawsuits, and endless talk of a “war on religion/Christianity/Christmas/whatever.”

I submit, however, that the time for blind allegiance to religions, whatsoever they may be, has passed. It is time for us to embrace each other for the sake of each other, not because some imagined deity demands it; for us to pour our efforts and curiosity into the sciences to progress our understanding of life and the universe, not pouring the same into ancient religions dependent upon ignorance.

It is time for us to ascend our Olympuses. It is time for us have a Secular Now.

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