Percy Jackson and the Olympians is a 5 book series written by Rick Riordan. I have only read the first 3 books in this series: The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, and The Titan’s Curse.
Rick Riordan is a prevalent author among kids in late elementary to middle school. He has several different series that deals with Greek, Roman, Norse, and Egyptian mythology. I have read the first three books in the Percy Jackson and The Olympians series as well as Red Pyramid, his first book in The Kane Chronicles. Based on these books, his popularity does not surprise me.
My two daughters have read most, if not all, of his books, including the supplemental books. The result is my daughters know a lot about mythology. There was a time where they told me everything about this subject. I just helped my 8th-grade daughter register for high-school, and the English class she picked was on mythology and learning to write mythological stories. This didn’t shock me.
Probably about 5 years ago, my daughter was telling me all the new things she learned about the Greek gods, and I turned to her and said, “I think you know more about Greek gods than you do your own God.”
One of the main messages of the Old Testament is how important it is for parents to pass down their faith. Many times in the OT, a story begins by describing someone or a generation as not knowing the Lord. This beginning statement is usually followed by a tragic ending: for example:
Jgs 2:10-12 . . . and another generation grew up after them, who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and worshiped the Baals, and they abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors, . . . they followed other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were all around them, and bowed down to them; and they provoked the Lord to anger.
The Shema prayer is mainly about three things: 1) being monotheistic, 2) loving God above all else, and 3) teaching children about God
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord;
and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
and with all your soul, and with all your might.
And these words which I command you this day shall be
upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children,
and shall talk of them when you sit in your house,
and when you walk by the way,
and when you lie down, and when you rise.
And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand,
and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
I wasn’t living up to this standard, and thus my husband and I decided to take a more hands-on approach to educate our children in the faith. I started with the basics when discussing Greek mythology. What are the significant differences between Greek gods and the Christian God?
There were many times during my reading of these books when I would ask, “Why don’t these demigods ask their fathers who are gods or their mothers who are goddesses for help?” Then it dawned on my: Greek gods were all about power and not about love. Greek gods did not desire a relationship with their children. They were there mainly to be worshiped as heroes – to be idolized for what they accomplished.
Greek gods tend to be super-powered human beings. I see them more like superheroes from comic books or movies. They are admired due to our human desire to become like gods. We can see this everywhere, especially in who we praise and worship in society today. We look to athletes, movie stars, and prominent tech creators to idolize. They have become our gods. They have the ‘power’ in our society. They are easy to admire and worship because they don’t require a relationship, and they don’t demand anything from our lives. We can listen to their remarkable stories, admire them, dream about being as popular as they are, but never having to change anything about ourselves or give any part of ourselves away.
Christianity is the opposite of this. God didn’t become the incarnation to hold His power over us, to be our superhero. He came to serve us:
Humans desire power, and we use it to hurt and destroy one another. God knew this and still gave us His only son, knowing He would be crucified. Jesus allowed the worst of humanity on Himself. God allowed Himself to be humiliated and destroyed.
This is our hero, and He asks us to do the same:
Mt 16: 23-25 [Jesus] turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.
This is very hard to do. Our human desires are to be the best and to rise above others. However, this is not our calling.
Gal 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another.
Come follow Him.