Creative Challenge #24: Yahweh or Zeus

God and Zeus

For your weekend entertainment, we present you with another Curmudgeonly Creative Challenge. This one is about the arguments and evidence which are frequently presented as proof — or at least powerful reasons — for believing in Yahweh (as described in scripture) or, in the case of the Discovery Institute, their allegedly non-scriptural intelligent designer.

You know how such arguments usually go: advocates of theism (or intelligent design) present what they consider powerful reasons for their belief, while others dismiss such arguments as lacking in substance and persuasiveness. In the context of science, any argument which is: (a) based on verifiable evidence; and (b) testable, is entitled to serious consideration. But so far, it is claimed that all theistic arguments fall short of meeting those requirements.

The form of today’s challenge is that you must tell us, with reasonable brevity:

Is there any argument for the existence of God (or the intelligent designer) that could not also be used as an equally persuasive argument for the existence of Zeus and other the Olympian gods?

You know the rules: A successful entry should be self-explanatory. You may enter the contest as many times as you wish, but you must avoid profanity, vulgarity, childish anatomical analogies, etc. Also, avoid slanderous statements about individuals. Feel free to comment on the entries submitted by others — with praise, criticism, or whatever — but you must do so tastefully.

There may not be a winner of this contest, but if there is, your Curmudgeon will decide, and whenever we get around to it we’ll announce who the winner is. There is no tangible prize — as always in life’s great challenges, the accomplishment is its own reward. We now throw open the comments section, dear reader. Go for it!

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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36 responses to “Creative Challenge #24: Yahweh or Zeus

  1. I’m going to quibble with the terms of this competition. There may be — as I hold — arguments for the existence of Zeus which are not “equally persuasive” as those for the existence of Yahweh but in fact vastly more persuasive.

    Specifically, though, the arguments are that Zeus did exist, which is good enough (after all, his father Cronus probably ceased to exist when his own son deposed him as the Big Enchilada of Mt. Olympus). See Did Zeus Exist?

    And I should think that the concluding argument in this set (
    Proofs for the existence of the Greek Gods
    ) — is surely more compelling than anything Hambo or the Discoveroids have ever produced, viz.:

    Argument from History

    1 The Roman Empire was pretty awesome.
    2 Therefore, it could not have collapsed for no reason.
    3 Hence, there must be a reason why the Roman Empire collapsed.
    4 If the Roman Empire’s survival was dependent upon the favour of the Olympian gods, then abandoning them would result in the collapse of the Empire.
    5 The Roman Empire abandoned the Olympian gods shortly before it collapsed.
    6 This seems too unlikely to be a coincidence, especially since I can’t think of any other reason why it might have collapsed.
    7 Therefore, either the Roman Empire collapsed as a result of abandoning the Olympian gods, or it collapsed for no reason.
    8 The Roman Empire was too awesome to collapse for no reason (from 2 and 3).
    9 Therefore, it must have collapsed because the Romans abandoned the Olympian gods.
    10 Therefore, the Olympian gods exist.

  2. Eek! A weird redundancy in above post, which should read “vastly more persuasive”.

    Clearly, Poseidon led my typing fingers astray in his anger because I had not mentioned the Mighty Earthshaker as well. I will sacrifice a ram in his honour directly…

  3. michaelfugate

    So what you are saying is the Roman Empire collapsed because they switched from their ethnic to Christianity? Julian was correct to eschew the new religion?

  4. But I know in my heart that Zeus exists. Surely that’s proof enough?

  5. Megalonyx, you failed to mention that although both Zeus and Yahweh had human offspring, one son of Zeus, Alexander, is documented beyond question.

  6. realthog asks

    But I know in my heart that Zeus exists. Surely that’s proof enough?

    Not really, but it’s a step in the right direction. it’s not a patch on the eyewitness account of Leda, who felt Zeus (suitably disguised as a swan) even more profoundly in part of her anatomy.

    The result of this encounter, of course, was Leda’s famous daughter–and yet another compelling proof of the topic at hand here: No Zeus, no Helen of Troy!

  7. Also, we have planets named after the Greek gods (using their Roman names). The biggest — Jupiter — bears the Roman name for Zeus. But what’s named after Yehweh?

  8. Zeus ( and Santa Claus) both have a physical address to which requests can be directed. They wouldn’t need a home if they didn’t exist. Even Yahweh’s closest supporters get a bit vague about where to find him/her/it

  9. Crickets…………………………………………………………………….

  10. Doctor Stochastic

    Pascal’s Wager applies to arguments over which of the (countably or uncountably infinite number) of gods may exist (or have any other characteristics).

  11. +1 vote for Pope RSG.

  12. I vote with Retired Science Guy: NO.
    (But if you had included Ganesha, I might waver.)

  13. Maybe, just maybe, Yahweh and Zeus are the same diety.

    Well, have you ever seen them in the same room?

    Coincidence? I think not!

  14. I will use the Zeus Yahweh similarity of appearance argument. They’re both typically portrayed as angry Caucasians with, long hair and huge beards.
    Just as the average older male looked during Greek and Biblical periods.
    Angry the goats got in the vegetable patch, angry the donkey crapped on the grain drying in the yard, angry the plague of locusts is coming again, angry at Poseidon for not wiping his feet , ticked off the newspaper is late and ticked at Thor for smacking his favorite urn with the hammer .

    Darned ‘tutin (hee hee) they’re similar..Hey ! I wonder if Dumbski can calculate the probability that Zeus might be Yahweh?

  15. IMHO Megalonyx has a definite winner here.

  16. Och Will asks: “I wonder if Dumbski can calculate the probability that Zeus might be Yahweh?”

    They look alike in the pics above the post. And their names begin with adjacent letters at the end of the alphabet. What are the odds of that happening?

  17. Mike Elzinga

    Here is an “argument” almost verbatim from ICR and AiG. I think it originated at ICR because Thomas Kindell used it. But there is a video – “Nuclear Strength Apologetics” – in which Jason Lisle also used it when he was still at AiG.

    The “argument” goes like this:

    To deny that a specific deity exists, one would have to exhaust all evidence for the nonexistence of the deity. If you can do that, then you would be omnipotent and omniscient and therefore be a deity; therefore a deity would exist.

    But since you can’t exhaust all evidence for the non-existence of a deity, you can’t prove a deity doesn’t exist. Therefore a deity might exist. And since we at ICR and AiG know a deity exists – it is in our holy book, doncha know – you are wrong to deny the existence of a deity, therefore the deity exists.

  18. @Mike Elzinga: ICR and AiG sure like to play with words, don’t they?

    I always thought the burden of proof lay with the one making the claim — i.e., ICR and AiG need to prove that their God exists. Of course, they know full well it is impossible to prove a negative, therefore, they switch it around.

    As I said, word games.

  19. @Gary & abeastwood: Thanks for your support, guys. I was going for the “Brevity” part of the challenge. I must admit, though, that Megalonyx makes a good point. (Although he uses a lot of words in doing so.)

  20. We’ve had some good comments, but I don’t think there’s a winner yet. Be careful, however. If you get too clever, the Lake of Fire awaits.

  21. Zeus
    looks pretty spruce,
    while Yahweh
    just looks like he’s trying to say sahweh

    (Edmund Clerihew Bentley, well, maybe)

  22. Charles Deetz ;)

    Zeus was a tempormental god who reigned with havoc, anger, and death, Whereas Yahweh reigned in the OT with … um … not so much havoc, anger, and death. Well, he didn’t use a lightening bolt to kill anyone.

  23. How about this: Zeus, thunderbolts and all, never drowned everybody and everything save one family and a boatload of animals. He never killed off all the first-born of Egypt to show what a kickass god he was, either. He has absolutely no interest at all in sending people to be tortured for eternity – the joint run by his brother Hades wasn’t nearly so bad as that. You just forgot everything.

    In fact, apart from generally expecting piety and respect, and having his end away with them occasionally, Zeus didn’t bother humans much, if they didn’t bother him. This far better accounts for the general indifference of the Universe than the idea of Yahweh, a god who’s watching you every moment, and who takes a Chinese bureacrat’s* interest in everything you do, with a view to seeing you griddled for eternity.

    Therefore, Zeus better accounts for the human experience than Yahweh. Hence, belief in Zeus is better supported by the evidence. This is an argument that could separate the two, as required.

    *The less-known continuation to the famous Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times” is “…and may a high and important government official take a personal interest in your case.”

  24. Zeus never did dictate nor authorize his auto/biography nor has he gone on a book tour, there being no book to sell. If he had only looked for some itinerant shepherds surely he would have had the best seller.

  25. I must enthusiastically concur with abeastwood and Cardinal Gary and cast a vote for Pope Retiredsciguy, who has again demonstrated bevity, accuracy, and of course papal infallibility with a single word–nay, with a single syllable!

    But I note with some satisfaction the other comments on this page which tend to agree that evidence for the existence of the Olympians knocks the spots off the claims of other soi disant deities.

  26. DavidK claims

    Zeus never did dictate nor authorize his auto/biography nor has he gone on a book tour, there being no book to sell.

    I have to disagree.

    Homer opens both of his epic chronicles (The Illiad and The Odyssey) by explicitly invoking the eyewitness testimony of the Muses, who were daughters of Zeus, as his sources for the narratives he then presents.

    So all of the interventions by various Olympians in the Trojan War (e.g. Aphrodite’s magically whisking Paris away when he is clearly losing his duel with Menelaus) and during the long voyage home of Odysseus (e.g. Athene’s inspirational appearances to his son, Telemachus) must be treated as factual accounts related by eyewitnesses.

    To anyone who doubts this, one must say, “Oh yeah? Well, were you there?.

    Quod erat demonstrandum

  27. And I should add, it isn’t only Homer whom we have to thank for compelling evidence about the existence of the Olympians.

    Hesiod, in his epic account of the origin of the Gods (The Theogony), also takes his narrative directly from the daughters of Zeus themselves, viz.:

    From the Heliconian Muses let us begin to sing, who hold the great and holy mount of Helicon, and dance on soft feet about the deep-blue spring and the altar of the almighty son of Cronos, and, when they have washed their tender bodies in Permessus or in the Horse’s Spring or Olmeius, make their fair, lovely dances upon highest Helicon and move with vigorous feet. Thence they arise and go abroad by night, veiled in thick mist, and utter their song with lovely voice, praising Zeus the aegis- holder and queenly Hera of Argos who walks on golden sandals and the daughter of Zeus the aegis-holder bright-eyed Athene, and Phoebus Apollo, and Artemis who delights in arrows, and Poseidon the earth-holder who shakes the earth, and reverend Themis and quick-glancing (1) Aphrodite, and Hebe with the crown of gold, and fair Dione, Leto, Iapetus, and Cronos the crafty counsellor, Eos and great Helius and bright Selene, Earth too, and great Oceanus, and dark Night, and the holy race of all the other deathless ones that are for ever. And one day they taught Hesiod glorious song while he was shepherding his lambs under holy Helicon, and this word first the goddesses said to me — the Muses of Olympus, daughters of Zeus who holds the aegis:

    (ll. 26-28) `Shepherds of the wilderness, wretched things of shame, mere bellies, we know how to speak many false things as though they were true; but we know, when we will, to utter true things.’

    (ll. 29-35) So said the ready-voiced daughters of great Zeus, and they plucked and gave me a rod, a shoot of sturdy laurel, a marvellous thing, and breathed into me a divine voice to celebrate things that shall be and things there were aforetime; and they bade me sing of the race of the blessed gods that are eternally, but ever to sing of themselves both first and last.

    And to anyone daring to suggest the poet is lying in this, I can only snort in derision: Why do you hate baby Hesiod?

  28. Arrrrgh! Poseidon again foils my html tags! I must find a fatter ram to sacrifice to The Earthshaker, and also pour libations of finest Thracian wine to the Invisible Hand of Correction in humble supplication….

    [*Voice from above*] Poseidon appreciates the sacrifice, and looks forward to more of the same.

  29. Hah! For any blaspheming doubters out there, here is proof positive of the existence of the Olympians! Just open your eyes and look outside: Venus, Jupiter and Mars line up for skyline spectacle

    How many other gods put in personal appearances?

  30. michaelfugate

    Why are months Roman? Why are days Norse? According to Norse commentaries Odin put in an appearance less than 1000 years ago – for those math-challenged – over 1000 years after Jesus.

  31. Mike Elzinga

    @retiredsciguy:

    ICR and AiG sure like to play with words, don’t they?

    Yeah.

    It is interesting, however, that if they think that “argument” works for their deity, then it works for any deity; in which case they are obligated to prove that none of those other deities exist.

  32. Mike Elzinga:
    “It is interesting, however, that if they think that “argument” works for their deity, then it works for any deity; in which case they are obligated to prove that none of those other deities exist.”

    VERY good!!

  33. @Dave Luckett: “Zeus, thunderbolts and all, never drowned everybody and everything save one family and a boatload of animals.”
    Yes he did: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deucalion

  34. Dave Luckett

    I stand corrected. I didn’t know about that one. Seems like all gods are mean bastards.

  35. Techreseller

    Arguments for the existence of Yahweh
    1:
    2:
    3:

    Arguments for the existence of Zeus
    1:
    2:
    3:

    yeah, I got nothing.