Dr. James D. Price's arguments in the September/October 1997 issue of The Skeptical Review have convinced me that the anti-supernatural bias of skeptics is wrong. I hereby renounce my former irrational anti-supernaturalism and take up the cause of the divine powers that created and govern this universe: the gods of Mount Olympus.
Although he does not say it, I suspect Dr. Price is one of those atheists who deny the existence and power of Zeus, the King of the Gods; Hera, the Queen of Heaven; Poseidon, Earth-Shaker; Herakles, the son of Zeus and the mortal virgin Alcmena, who was resurrected after his death to save the gods and humanity from evil; and the other deities who have done so much for us all. "The glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome" are a clear testament to the gifts from Olympus.
So I'm ready to debate Dr. Price on the proposition: Are the gods of Mount Olympus our creators and guardians? We'll debate under the rules of logic he lays out in his article. I will present positive proof for my thesis, and, as the opponent, he "must present objective evidence to disprove it."
I have no doubt of my victory. Dr. Price himself admits that "(m)any unlikely events are recorded in ancient records the validity of which historians accept on the basis of good (but not extraordinary) evidence."
Thus, we have the many fulfilled prophecies found in Homer, acknowledged even by many of those Zeusless atheists called Christians to be one of the greatest poets of all time. Homer records the prophecies of the deaths of Hector and Achilles and the ruin of Troy, plus the many troubles that beset Odysseus and crew. Furthermore, the contemporary 13th-century B. C. E. records of the Hittite empire provide independent confirmation of the existence of Troy, its war with the Greeks, and of Paris of Troy (also known as Alexander), the lover of Helen, who signed a treaty under the name Alexander with the Hittite King Muwatallis.
Dr. Price cannot deny this undeniable evidence for a fulfilled prophecy, which is more than those atheists called Christians can present for their god Jesus. We have no independent, contemporary proof of his existence, only the later, noncontemporary Christian texts with their contradictory statements about the alleged events of his life.
Beyond Homer is the acknowledged genius of Greek civilization, and its later Roman imitator. Christianity, by contrast, presided over the collapse of Roman civilization and the descent of the western world into what is now called the Dark Ages. The West certainly paid a terrible price for abandoning the Olympian gods. Only the revival of the literature and philosophy of the Greco-Roman civilization, during what is properly called the Renaissance, pulled the western world out of its malaise. The gods of Mount Olympus gave us back civilization when we began paying attention to them again. What's Jesus done for us lately?
I will note, as an indirect proof, that Fox TV honors the gods of Olympus with a popular show (Hercules) about the dying-and-resurrected son of Zeus, at the same time that the United States is undergoing its biggest economic and scientific boom ever. Coincidence? Or a gift from Olympus? Considering what the Olympian gods did for Greece and Rome, I will argue the latter.
Dr. Price must agree with me on this, since he says (using an incorrect singular title to refer to the Olympian gods), "To those who believe in an omniscient God, the idea of fulfilled prophecy attributed to Him is not a fabulous claim, but what one would reasonably expect." As Farrell Till points out, no evidence exists for any prophecy in the Bible save the statements in the Bible. Homer has the Hittite records to support him as well as statements by later writers attesting to his authorship and verifying his authenticity.
I know Dr. Price will agree because he points out that "(i)n a court of law and the canons of historical research the authorship of an ancient document is determined by the internal claims of authorship and by internal and external witnesses to that authorship." I can find more references to Homer, Troy, and the prophecies regarding Troy among Greek writers than he can find for Jeremiah in biblical sources and Josephus, the Mishnah, and Talmud. All ancient witnesses agree Homer wrote the poems, and there are no dissenting witnesses, to paraphrase Dr. Price.
Other contemporary historical records support the fact that the Olympian gods told Croesus of Lydia that if he attacked the Persians, an empire would collapse. He launched his invasion, and an empire collapsed in 547 B. C. E.-- ironically, his own, at the hands of Cyrus of Persia. We have a contemporary, independent record of Cyrus' invasion in the Babylonian Chronicle, and the 5th century B. C. E. Greek historian Herodotus passes on the prophecies Croesus was given, which Herodotus researched in contemporary 6th-century B. C. E. records. That's a more certain dating of the prophecies than can be provided for Jeremiah, leaving aside the fact that as Jeremiah did not claim his prophecy came from the Olympian gods, it automatically must be a false prophecy.
The gods of Olympus very clearly spoke, and their prophecy was accurate. And the gods also prophesied Rome would become a great power. We know from our history books how that prophecy turned out.
Indeed, the conquests of the Greek and Roman generals were greater than any Christians ever achieved. Alexander the Great, who was directly counseled by Zeus, conquered an area far greater than the Christian Crusaders did. His successors held the area he conquered, and even expanded it in Asia, until displaced by the Romans, who acknowledged that their gods were merely the gods of Olympus under other names. No Christian empire achieved the size of the Roman realm. (England and Spain built their larger empires only after the Renaissance return to the Olympian gods.)
The evidence that Zeus favored Alexander, that Troy was doomed, that Croesus of Lydia was doomed, and that Rome was divinely favored is far more massive, diverse, and objectively verifiable than most of the material in the Bible.
How can Dr. Price deny this plain evidence?
Even those atheists called Christians indirectly admit the truth of what I say, since many of their so-called Bible miracles are merely copied from the true stories of the gods of Olympus. Jesus's death and resurrection, as well as the alleged ascension of his mother to heaven, are copied from the stories of Herakles and his mother, who was taken to Mount Olympus with her son, according to the Greek scriptures.
Jesus's water-to-wine miracle imitates Dionysius' real miracle, attested by eyewitnesses. Jesus's healing of a blind man imitates the miracle in Alexandria that the Olympians (acting under the local name of Serapis) performed in A. D. 69 for the Roman Emperor Vespasian, who also made a crippled man walk. Vespasian did his gods-given miracles in front of a large audience, as reported by the Roman historian Suetonius in The Twelve Caesars. Although the Christian gospels contain similar stories about Jesus, they were not written until after Vespasian had performed his miracles. The plagiarism is obvious.
Jesus's raising of dead people and other healings are similar imitations, and the visions of the Virgin Mary are obviously stolen from the Greeks' reports of real visions of their gods.
Furthermore, polytheism is clearly more rational than monotheism. The many problems of this world are best explained by conflicts among multiple supernatural entities. Even those Zeus-less atheists called Christians admit this indirectly, since they claim that their "one god" is really three gods, and that he's at war with an evil god, and that both their three gods and the evil god command lots of lesser gods, known as angels and demons, and that a goddess named Mary helps out the trio. Just as Zeus sometimes sent Hermes to carry messages to mortals for him, so Christians claim their gods send messages to mortals via his angels.
Yeah, sure. Accept no imitations. Only the real thing-- straight from Olympus--speaks to this world.
Well, as Dr. Price himself states, "I am willing to accept the historicity of reported supernatural events if they are verifiable, regardless of whether the source is the Bible, secular history, or a non-Christian religious historian."
So I prophesy, under the inspiration of Apollo, the god of reason, that by the end of our debate, Dr. Price will admit that Christianity is a blasphemous form of atheism, and he will come to Zeus, begging forgiveness for his transgressions against the divine laws.
I didn't really need help from Apollo to reach this conclusion. Based on Dr. Price's arguments, the gods of Mount Olympus are undeniable.
(William Sierichs, Jr., 316 Apartment Court Drive, Apt. 44,
Baton Rouge, LA 70806)