There is a certian frustration and exasperation when you see unrealistic fudging of facts. A person wouldn’t appreciate it that from a store clerk who decides to misrepresent an item or its price, and they certainly aren’t going to enjoy unrealistic distortions from persons who are self-proclaimed priests. When I have spoken of modern priests in the past, it has been with a sense of high devotion, rigorous study, and reliable integrity. I do think that modern self-proclaimed priests who are devoted followers of a god and respectful of all the gods of Hellas to be of value (though perhaps in a limited sense) in our modern communities. But there is….the dark side…that I have also addressed of self-inflated egos and delusions of self-importance…the guru syndromn I call it.
This is a condition in which one thinks that they are so favored by a god (or gods) that any offense towards them can be considered indirectly an offense to the god…something which is ridiculous at best. We are mortal living simple human lives, the gods are not going to get offended by any slight given to us. Even in the Iliad where a god was taken directly with human affairs gives an example of how problematic such a scenario can be with each god backing their favorite, with a modest exception and a greater exception. Zeus fairly does not intervene in the death of his son Sarpedon (though does give him all honors after said death), and in a mild case of intervention Apollon strikes pestilance upon the Hellenes…but I truly don’t feel that this is reactionary against an insult to his priest, but more to the point of unjust dealings when it comes to standard practices that were conducted in war when it came to ransoms. But on the whole I think the entire episode of the Iliad displays quite well why the gods would not take personal offense to the slights their followers receive.
Certainly some excessive violations would have been thought quite offensive and beyond the pale so to speak, but usually these worst were regarded as what one done personally in action against a god, and not so much having anything to do with their priests. Therefore this notion that anyone who disregards, disdains, or doesn’t hold a modern priest as absolute authority is attacking the authority of the god is ludcrious at best. There are many modern priests I don’t necessarily see eye to eye with, but that doesn’t involve the god, who wouldn’t be likely to intervene in mortal squabblings anyway.
Therefore when I see things written that are addressing dire warnings for offenses done some person in the community it even further reduces their crediability to me, because it shows that they are less interested in following the god/dess in question and serving his/her cultus, and more about their own popularity and ego. It also indicates that they have unrealistic view of their relationship with their deity if they think said deity is going to shelter and protect them. Actually I feel it is the opposite. Our gods are going to encourage us to grow, and this is done through conflict and trial, not by wrapping their followers in wool blankets anymore than a parent would wish to do so when they wish their child to grow strong and healthy.
In order to serve the gods the best we can, it seems important to me that we need to self check ourselves to make sure we aren’t crossing the line and getting swept up in some fantasy….after we humans are very imaginitive beings 🙂 What everyone enjoys with the god/dess they follow is indeed special, and I won’t even begin to try to attack that because I recognize how special and personal it is….we all just need to self-administar an occassional reality check.