The Salem Religion Among the Greeks
The Salem missionaries might have built up a great religious structure among the Greeks had it not been for their strict interpretation of their oath of ordination, a pledge imposed by Machiventa which forbade the organization of exclusive congregations for worship, and which exacted the promise of each teacher never to function as a priest, never to receive fees for religious service, only food, clothing, and shelter. When the Melchizedek teachers penetrated to pre-Hellenic Greece, they found a people who still fostered the traditions of Adamson and the days of the Andites, but these teachings had become greatly adulterated with the notions and beliefs of the hordes of inferior slaves that had been brought to the Greek shores in increasing numbers. This adulteration produced a reversion to a crude animism with bloody rites, the lower classes even making ceremonial out of the execution of condemned criminals.
The early influence of the Salem teachers was nearly destroyed by the so-called Aryan invasion from southern Europe and the East. These Hellenic invaders brought along with them anthropomorphic God concepts similar to those which their Aryan fellows had carried to India. This importation inaugurated the evolution of the Greek family of gods and goddesses. This new religion was partly based on the cults of the incoming Hellenic barbarians, but it also shared in the myths of the older inhabitants of Greece.
The Hellenic Greeks found the Mediterranean world largely dominated by the mother cult, and they imposed upon these peoples their man-god, Dyaus-Zeus, who had already become, like Yahweh among the henotheistic Semites, head of the whole Greek pantheon of subordinate gods. And the Greeks would have eventually achieved a true monotheism in the concept of Zeus except for their retention of the overcontrol of Fate. A God of final value must, himself, be the arbiter of fate and the creator of destiny.
As a consequence of these factors in religious evolution, there presently developed the popular belief in the happy-go-lucky gods of Mount Olympus, gods more human than divine, and gods which the intelligent Greeks never did regard very seriously. They neither greatly loved nor greatly feared these divinities of their own creation. They had a patriotic and racial feeling for Zeus and his family of half men and half gods, but they hardly reverenced or worshiped them.
The Hellenes became so impregnated with the antipriestcraft doctrines of the earlier Salem teachers that no priesthood of any importance ever arose in Greece. Even the making of images to the gods became more of a work in art than a matter of worship.
The Olympian gods illustrate man's typical anthropomorphism. But the Greek mythology was more aesthetic than ethic. The Greek religion was helpful in that it portrayed a universe governed by a deity group. But Greek morals, ethics, and philosophy presently advanced far beyond the god concept, and this imbalance between intellectual and spiritual growth was as hazardous to Greece as it had proved to be in India.
--Presented by a Melchizedek of Nebadon, from the Urantia Papers.
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