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I have asked this question before though the answers I got on this forum at the time were not all satisfactory at least in my mind.

I would like to ask again, what are we to make of the old gods, what were they? Were they simply false deities created out of the imagination of ancient people? Were they demons roaming the earth before the revelation of the true God was open to man kind? Were they just funny shaped stone? Why would God be jealous of stone?

I am just simply fascinated by before Christ goings on in the ancient world of course not speaking of the Jews who had the true God revealed to them, but actually of the pagans and their development.
Everyone is born with a religious nature. Those raised without Revelation naturally come up with stories that were latter accepted as facts. We are tangible beings. Some pagas would say that a statue was actually a god, in order to have something to worship right in front of. It's the old evil within us. Other pagans may believe a forest was possessed by a good spirit, which is much more innocent. Lots of pagan probably believed in monotheism deep in their hearts. I strongly recommend The Everlasting Man by GK CHesterton. I will answer a LOT of your questions on this,
God bless
(11-17-2011, 08:55 PM)Unum Sint Wrote: [ -> ]I have asked this question before though the answers I got on this forum at the time were not all satisfactory at least in my mind.

I would like to ask again, what are we to make of the old gods, what were they? Were they simply false deities created out of the imagination of ancient people? Were they demons roaming the earth before the revelation of the true God was open to man kind? Were they just funny shaped stone? Why would God be jealous of stone?

I am just simply fascinated by before Christ goings on in the ancient world of course not speaking of the Jews who had the true God revealed to them, but actually of the pagans and their development.

Yes.

Frustrating answer, I know, but it is a bit "all of the above," when we get right down to it.
I think it is likely that some ancient gods were a form of ancestor worship. Some of the ancient myths are probably exagerations of historical events. It certainly would make sense that God would be jealous of the worship of a creature He had already judged.

With that being said, I think a lot of good came from the Greek and Roman religions. They were clearly a means God used to prepare the Gentiles for the coming of Jesus.
"I think a lot of good came from the Greek and Roman religions"

Sounds like Vatican II. G.K. Chesterton (who was praised by Popes) would have agreed
And Aquinas would argue no good came from Aristotle ... oh wait.
(11-17-2011, 09:24 PM)aquinasg Wrote: [ -> ]"I think a lot of good came from the Greek and Roman religions"

Sounds like Vatican II. G.K. Chesterton (who was praised by Popes) would have agreed

You ignored the context of his comment.  He said that it was a means God used to prepare the world for Christ, which is true.  Zeus is remarkably similar to God in some respects, and by the time of Paul the Greeks almost worshiped him as the one god.  By this time they had realized mostly that the other gods and stories were false, but they knew there was a god, and they thought that was Zeus. 

(11-17-2011, 11:28 PM)drummerboy Wrote: [ -> ]
(11-17-2011, 09:24 PM)aquinasg Wrote: [ -> ]"I think a lot of good came from the Greek and Roman religions"

Sounds like Vatican II. G.K. Chesterton (who was praised by Popes) would have agreed

You ignored the context of his comment.  He said that it was a means God used to prepare the world for Christ, which is true.  Zeus is remarkably similar to God in some respects, and by the time of Paul the Greeks almost worshiped him as the one god.  By this time they had realized mostly that the other gods and stories were false, but they knew there was a god, and they thought that was Zeus. 

I don't know about that. I assume the average pagan still believed in most of the old gods and myths, and even many philosophers just saw all of the gods as different aspects of the one God. It was a more sophisticated view, but still distinctly pagan.

Anyway, Joseph de Maistre somewhere says that "nothing is false in paganism, but everything is corrupted." I think that's a pretty good way of looking at things.
I didn't ignore anything. We all seem to agree along with Vatican II, accept that Joseph de Maistre goes a bit too far
You can also see what the Fathers wrote on this. For example, St. Basil:
Quote:Just as dyers prepare the cloth before they apply the dye, be it purple or any other color, so indeed must we also, if we would preserve indelible the idea of the true virtue, become first initiated in the pagan lore, then at length give special heed to the sacred and divine teachings, even as we first accustom ourselves to the sun's reflection in the water, and then become able to turn our eyes upon the very sun itself.
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