Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Someone Expects?

"'God expects us to work for His favor, my lord.'
"Or Someone does, she thought, conscious of the owl amulet around her neck beneath the breastplate and arming doublet."
-SM Stirling, The Tears Of The Sun (New York, 2012), Chapter Seventeen, p. 552.

See also Thank Varda.

Either Someone helps us or They do not. Either way, They clearly want us to persevere even without apparent help. So, at the beginning of a campaign, theists pray, atheists do not and then we cooperate. Since no one exists in isolation, some factors do work in our favor and can be interpreted as help. And that is all I can say unless and until I see a deity intervening on our behalf. Meanwhile, Christ, Varda, whatever, thank You...


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Yes, both monotheists and polytheists pray. I think if a person perseveres in doing what needs to be ever under the most difficult circumstances, that is a sign God has helped him. We were never promised life would be easy, only that God would help us.

And I think even atheists might pray when matters gets really bad! Recall the adage about there being no atheists in foxholes.

And I certainly agree with you about it being right to give thanks to God, if He exists (and I believe He does).


S.M. Stirling said...

Technical note: Hellenic reconstructionist pagans (which d'Ath is, though a new one) make an "offering" of certain behaviors and actions to their deity, along with ritual.
(There's very substantial evidence in the literature that this is also how actual ancient Greek pagans thought of it.)

Hospitality, particularly to a stranger, is pleasing to Zeus; if you help a suppliant who has nothing to bargain with, it's an offering to Zeus.

Apollo likes "justice and due proportion, in men and in cities".

Athena "delights" in cleverness and knowledge; and in seeing them applied to certain things -- like the defense of your home community.

That's why one of her epithets is "Defender of the City". She's a war Goddess in that sense, not in being patron of fury and bloodshed like Ares; she's the Goddess of -intelligence-, in war as in other aspects of life.

So if you exercise your mind in defense of your home, you're making an "offering" to Athena, in the same sense that pouring a libation before her altar is an offering.

If she accepts the offering, she'll help you -- by making you smarter, mostly.

This is why she was Odysseus' patron, the "man of cunning mind", who didn't want to go to Troy and once there wanted to win the damned war as quickly as possible, stay alive, and get back to his wife and home and people.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Dear Mr. Stirling,

Very interesting, what you said about Greek paganism. And it fits in with what I recall about Odysseus and how he behaved in Homer's ILIAD and ODYSSEY. I recall how Rieu, in his prose translation, often called him "Odysseus of the nimble wits."

And, of course, approving of hospitality, justice, cleverness, loyalty to one's city or people, etc., were not limited to the Greeks! I see all of these things in the history of the Jews, for example, as recorded in the OT.