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September 21, 2010

Why Are Religious Claims a Target for the Extraordinary Claims Campaign?
Some comments on Supernatural Claims, Evidence, and the Burden of Proof

The Claims:

Zeus is the “Father of all Gods and Men”. He is known as Jupiter or Jove in Latin. He is the god of the sky, lightning and rain, and also of justice – protector of the weak and punisher of the wicked.

Accounts vary of Zeus’ birth and rise to power among the immortals, but his lineage is generally attributed to Cronos and Rhea in Crete. He overthrew Cronos and the Titans to become “King of the gods”, after which he was given domain over the sky by a random draw with his brothers Poseidon and Hades. Zeus married his sister Hera, and has children with multiple goddesses, nymphs, and mortals.

Zeus presides over various domains. Many natural (lightning, rain) and human-instigated (wars, betrayals) occurrences are credited to him, as well as the other classical deities that Zeus rules (such as Hera, Poseidon, Hades, and many others).

The Evidence:

Although meetings between Zeus and other Olympian gods with mortals is recounted in stories such as Homer’s Iliad, no one has presented proof of meeting or seeing one of these deities.

It seems likely that Zeus and the other archaic deities were created by men in order to explain natural phenomena. In the absence of a scientific explanation for the origin of lightning, for example, mythological explanations satisfied many.

With our modern understanding of the source of lightning (put simply, a discharge of electricity based on an imbalance of the charge of the earth and the cloud floating above), the story that an immortal on a mountain in Greece throws lightning bolts is rather extraordinary.


All of the natural phenomena attributed to immortal Greek gods, including Zeus, is now explainable by knowledge gained over the last 2800 years. Since there is no evidence for the existence of Zeus, and some evidence against, it seems prudent to conclude that he does not exist beyond the imaginations and writings of the ancient Greeks.


Wikipedia Page on Zeus

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. PaxVobis permalink
    November 25, 2012 3:12 PM

    No-one has seriously asserted that Zeus exists or that Zeus explains the phenomenon of lightning for about 2000 years… So what is your purpose? Are your really trying to refute the ontological actuality of the entity Zeus – or are you trying to simply ridicule contemporary theists by way of some lame attempt to connect one supernatural belief to another?

    If it is the latter then I ask: if I put forward an outdated Maxwellian atomic thesis today. knowing it is erroneous, in an attempt to ridicule the current scientific understanding of atoms – would that be reasonable?

    If you want to defeat current theistic arguments then address current theistic arguments! Don’t suppose current theistic arguments are predicated upon the notional entity Zeus – because they aren’t! Theistic arguments refer to a completely different notional entity with a wholly different set of notional properties. Addressing theistic arguments requires an understanding of what theists mean by ‘God’; why such a being may be worthy of consideration; but most importantly why the properties they ascribe to this entity have explanatory power with regard to our existence.

    Truth finding does not involve ridicule! Imagine denying the truth of the quadratic formula by asserting it was gay, clownish or had a funny protruding nose… It’s simply intellectually dishonest.

    Zeus is NOT the entity to which current theists refer – it cannot be for the properties of the 2 notional beings are as different as those of unicorns & dragons! One quick example is that Zeus in Hellenistic thought was not the creator. Indeed in the 2 extant Hellenistic cosmogonies chaos precedes divinity! Clearly this is very different than the creator God referred to by contemporary creationists which is an entity that precedes every other thing!

  2. Hec permalink
    March 2, 2011 5:53 PM

    This site completely misses the point on every single item. I don’t need you to tell me Zeus, or the easter bunny, or vampires don’t exist. That’s childish nonsense. But the myths about them were created for a reason. How about we grow up and talk about the meaning behind these myths. What, in the real world, are they alluding to? What are they trying to teach us about our world?

  3. December 31, 2010 1:01 AM

    I agree with Simon. Zeus is my choice for the ultimate deity … that or the flying spaghetti monster.

  4. Simon permalink
    December 7, 2010 7:31 AM

    How dare you claim my God is not real. Tell those other religious loonies that their god is not real as that is more likely the case!!


  1. Zeus | winghamatheist

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