Sunday, 21 October 2012

Roma Mater II

Roman Pagans worshiped Jupiter whereas Roman Christians worshiped Christ. Simple? Well, no, a bit more complicated. In Poul and Karen Anderson's Roma Mater (London, 1989), Gratillonius, a British Roman Centurion, worships neither Jupiter nor Christ but Mithras. A Christian calls him " '...pagan...' " but he denies that he worships Jupiter... (p. 23).

It is interesting to read about a group who differentiated themselves from Pagans but who were not Christians either. The Andersons' Note says that little is known about Mithraic doctrines and that "...there is virtually no record..." of Mithraic rites. (p. 480).

We can now differentiate five perspectives on Jupiter. He was:

the chief god, according to Roman Pagans;
a lesser god, according to Mithraists;
a demon, according to Roman Christians and to John Milton in Paradise Lost;
a manifestation of the One God, according to some Hindus (one of "...My million faces...," according to Krishna in the Gita);
non-existent, according to modern Christians and secularists.

That is very comprehensive. It would be a tough assignment to imagine a sixth possibility. Where an answer is uncertain, people seem to have the capacity to formulate and live by every possible answer. The Christian merely tells Gratillonius that he will burn forever if he does not convert. This has to be the vilest doctrine ever imagined by human beings.

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