Also in Greek myth, Arachus was a mortal who challenged the goddess Athena to a weaving contest. She lost, and Athena turned her into the first spider for her hubris.
Artemis was the virgin goddess of the moon and hunting. A mortal named Actaeon was out hunting when he came upon Artemis bathing in a stream and stopped to look. For his peeping tom-ism, Artemis had him turned into a deer, and was promptly torn to pieces by his own hunting dogs.
These kinds of stories abound in ancient myths from many cultures. Man insults, challenges, or steals from the gods and a swift and hideous punishment ensues. But the theme of an angry and punishing god isn’t just a pagan one. The God of Abraham, the Judeo-Christian God was no slouch when it came to meting out punishment. And yet, there is something very different about what this God punishes.
The very first punishment God hands out is on Adam and Eve. What dastardly deed did they do to deserve being banished from paradise, cursed with toil, pain, disease and the loss of immortality, and have the same punishment handed down to their children and all subsequent generations?
Did they conspire to see God naked?
Did they steal a sacred element?
Did they challenge God’s omnipotent ability?
No. Their unforgiveable crime was they dared to eat from the tree of KNOWLEDGE. That is, they dared to taste logic, reality, and fact. KNOWLEDGE is a no-no. KNOWLEDGE is bad. Ignorance, mindlessness, drone like stupidity is God’s preferred state for his creations.
Why? Why was knowledge so guarded, so valued by this God, or more specifically, by the writers of the Old Testament, that for man to desire it, achieve it, possess it is a cause for horrific punishment for all generations? Because with knowledge comes reasoning. With reasoning comes questioning and understanding. With understanding comes challenge to authority…whose authority?? … the priestly classes’ authority.
The moral of the story the Old Testament writers wanted to get across loud and clear was simple: Knowledge is not to be desired or achieved; it is a thing of danger in the wrong hands, for mortal men to pursue it can only lead to trouble. Heck, look what it did to Mankind thanks to Adam and Eve. “So shut the fuck up and do as we tell you, ‘cause that’s all you need to know!!”
And so it continues; taken to extremes by the early Church and practiced right into the 21st century by fundie Christian sects. The self imposed ignorance; the blind unquestioning compliance to ancient dogma; the distain for and opposition to science and secular learning. Knowledge is to be avoided for it is the enemy of the Church, or as Martin Luther said: “Reason is the Enemy of faith.”Attaining knowledge is worse than stealing from the gods, or trying to see them naked. Knowledge = punishment / Ignorance = bliss and reward … one needs to be a believer not to see the obscenity of such a doctrine.