(So far I’ve been doing these posts a few days ahead and scheduling them for Friday. This is the first time I didn’t do that and, what do you know? My family decided they really needed my undivided attention yesterday. Ah well, so I’m a little late.)
There are those who believe that new Gods have been born, Gods of the information age, Gods of the Industrial Revolution. That television is our new God. Or the Internet.
This might be true, but when I look at these marvels of the modern age, I don’t see new deities emerging. I see instead proof that the old Gods are still actively educating and inspiring mortals.
From a Hellenic perspective, I can’t use the Internet without thinking of Hermes. Is there an invention out there that speaks more of Him? I mean, worldwide instantaneous communication? Come on. As a God of Travel, I imagine He delights in the automobile and the jet airplane. I see His darker side in the spread of cyber crime.
I believe Hephaestus gave us the modern steel that supports skyscrapers, as well as the internal combustion engine. I see the hand of Demeter in the new strains of wheat that have helped ease famine in many parts of the world. And if Prometheus stole fire from the gods for the benefit of mankind, could he not also have stolen nuclear power from the sun itself? I imagine Ares delights in the use of automatic weapons and patriot missiles. Dionysos taught us to make not only wine, but I believe the modern entheogens like LSD and MDMA as well. (I mean the drug is even called ecstasy! Seriously.)
Just because we know the names of the historical figures who invented our modern tools, does not mean they weren’t divinely inspired. And just because humanity has misused so many of them doesn’t make them less divine. The holy is dangerous, almost by definition. How may have died by Prometheus’ fire over the millenia? How many lives ruined by wine?
In the end, I don’t believe we need new Gods. Whatever the future brings us, the Gods we know are already on it.