A tweet contrasting Jesus with the Greek god Zeus has highlighted the revolutionary nature of Jesus’ message. The tweet, from the account “The Hellenist,” praises the virtues of Zeus over the “fake” god Jesus and has drawn criticism from Christians and non-Christians alike.
“Nothing better summarizes why Christianity was an absolutely radical message in antiquity, that revolutionized the world by siding with victims rather than victors, than this juxtaposition by a derisive neo-Pagan Nietzsche fan-boy,” said Michael F. Bird, academic dean and lecturer in theology at Ridley College in Parkville, Victoria, Australia.
The original tweet shows an image of Zeus, the head god in the Greek pantheon, next to an image of Jesus on the cross. “Real gods, like Zeus, are forms of the good: strength, power, beauty, health, virtue,” says The Hellenist. “Fake gods, like Jesus, are forms of the bad: weakness, powerlessness, humiliation, ugliness, emaciation. Which gods we worship determines what we manifest. Manifest the good. Manifest Zeus.”
Zeus Was a Rapist, Twitter Users Point Out
Some responded to Bird by questioning whether the Tweet was from a parody account or was “click bait.” A cursory scan of The Hellenist’s page shows tweets supporting eugenics, praising Nietzsche and pitting Greek mythology and philosophy against the teachings of Jesus, which are portrayed as harmful.
“Wow, he totally gets it,” said one user, responding to Bird’s quote tweet of The Hellenist. “And yet totally doesn’t.”
“Props to him he really seems to understand Jesus better than a lot of Theo Bros do!” said another.
“You can almost imagine Paul‘s opponents in the Greek city mocking the foolishness of the cross in just such a manner,” one person responded, alluding to Acts 17:32, which says, “When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered.” The user is also referencing 1 Corinthians 1:18, which says, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
Many who responded directly to the original tweet pointed out that Zeus, god of the sky, was anything but virtuous. He not only slept with many women who were not his wife (Hera, goddess of marriage and childbirth), but frequently ravished any woman he saw as desirable, sometimes in while the form of an animal or other creature.
One myth describes Zeus raping a princess named Leda while he was in the form of a swan. Another says Zeus turned into a bull to abduct a princess named Europa, and he subsequently raped her.