Monday, June 24, 2013

Olympianity: The Religion of Power

Olympia is the name I give the land of Europe, Southwest Asia, and North Africa. Olympia is important as a world all its own, as a microcosm of our world as a whole, and as the center of a history that now dominates the whole world.

The oldest, most popular, yet least recognized religion in Olympia and the world is Olympianity. In Olympianity, people devote themselves to six gods. Using their old Roman names, these six gods are (1) Jupiter, god of politics; (2) Mars, god of war; (3) Vulcan, god of technology; (4) Venus, goddess of sex; (5) Pluto, god of money; and (6) Bacchus, god on consumption.

Each person in Olympia differs from every other person. Yet in the most important way almost all of us are the same. Almost all of us express our devotion to these gods, in big ways or small, every day. This is true even of people who are unaware that they are Olympians and instead think of themselves as Jews, Christians, Muslims, or atheists.

In Olympia there exists a tremendous variety of cultures. Yet in the most important way all cultures in Olympia are the same: they all build themselves on the bedrock of Olympianity and structure themselves in terms of its six conventional yet false and destructive gods.

In simplest terms, Olympianity is the religion of power. By power, I mean the ability to control. With power we can determine, in big ways or small, the behavior of people, the processes of groups, and the outcome of events.

Olympianity is the religion of power because almost all of us, almost all of the time, believe its gods are the real sources of power. Its gods alone justify all we must do to gain and maintain power. Its gods alone require us to measure the meaning of our lives in terms of power. Its gods alone enable us to feel much more important than people with less power.

Like the air we breathe, we would all be completely unaware of our devotion to the six conventional Olympian gods except for one thing: the existence of another, radically different, god.

This other god is the very odd god of freedom and not power. Jesus Christ, this different god, interferes constantly here and there, now and again, in this way and that way, in our otherwise unquestioned lives and cultures. Every so often, Jesus Christ even inspires us to commit acts of freedom: bold, unexpected, risky, and life-giving.

So, as we look at the history of Olympianity, we can settle down for a long winter's nap. We can know, from beginning to end, that it is mostly a story about people gaining, maintaining, and losing power. Dull but constant and very long.

Or we can be mischievous, playful but also irritating, and look at the history of Olympia from the point of view of Jesus Christ. We will remain aware of the broader, duller, history of power, but we will emphasize and celebrate those odd people and events through which the freedom of Christ bursts forth anew and in doing so renews life.

Copyright © 2013 by Steven Farsaci.
All rights reserved. Fair use encouraged.