Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Why I Believe The Gods Have Personalities

Not everyone within the Hellenic community believes that the Gods have personalities, which is fine, everyone has the right to their beliefs. I can respectfully disagree with my fellow Hellenists. However, I am among those who believe otherwise, and in this entry I will explain my position in detail, as the Gods have many forms of personality. 

For one, let's look at the obvious, which is the fact that each Deity has specific attributes and epithets, and they are able to be distinguished because of these. We don't pray to a Goddess of Marriage for divorce advice. We don't pray for success in battle to a Deity of Peace. If the Gods did not have personalities, they would not have these distinctions. But, because they do indeed have them, because they indeed have attributes, epithets, and characteristics, they possess personality.

Another thing that makes the presence of their personalities self-evident is piety, which is a big, big focus in modern Hellenism. If piety and impiety exist, and the Gods smile upon piety as opposed to frowning on impiety, that means the Gods can show preference, they can show likes and dislikes. Showing favor to the pious and disfavor to the impious constitutes an existence of their personality. Someone who lacks it cannot express preferences. Personality is based on reactions, which the Gods clearly have if they can react differently to piety and impiety. To say they have no personalities would be to say that they do not react, which they clearly do if they can judge, rule over, be an active presence in the universe, and recognize what they think is pious and what is not.

Thirdly, I believe the Gods have personalities because they can clearly disagree among themselves. Let's speculate for a moment. If Demeter raises a field and Zeus refuses to let it rain there, thus causing the field to eventually cease to exist, can we say that Zeus did not favor that field? If so, then we must say that the Gods do not always work in harmony, and if they do not always work in harmony, that means they have the power to disagree, make their own decisions, draw their own conclusions, and determine their own destinies, and therefore have personalities. If the opposite were true, if they did not have these powers to disagree and so forth, that would mean that they are constantly in the same state, which they are in terms of their existence, but not in terms of their actions and reactions. These can vary from time to time, place to place, God to God, and circumstance to circumstance. In short, independent thought do the Gods have.

Lastly, the Gods are self-aware, and can therefore tell themselves apart from other selves, and therefore have personality because they can make those distinctions. They can say, "This is who I am, and this is who you are!" They can say, "I am a God and you are a mortal." The act of such distinguishing constitutes an existence of personality. Personality must be present for this distinguishing to take place because recognizing differences is what defines it.

Feel free to comment and leave your own beliefs and thoughts on the matter.

In the Goodness of the Gods,

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