I thought about calling this post "The importance of studying Greek mythology for Christian parenting and discipleship." But that would be a bit wordy for a blog title. So, let's call it the subtitle and move on.
Yesterday, I ate lunch at Burger King with my father-in-law, my son, and my four nephews. While we were eating, I noticed that the lettering on the side of the small cups was encouraging the children to "Take Care of Mother Earth." This might seem rather harmless to many a parent; however, I submit that it is part of a larger cultural and pagan onslaught that has become so normalized that we do not realize we are being attacked and, thus, cannot defend our children nor teach them to defend themselves against the ambush that comes on the side of their kid's meal cups. "What's the big deal?" you ask. Well, the big deal is that Mother Earth comes to us from the writings of an ancient Greek poet named Hesiod and his work on the birth of the Greek gods entitled Theogony. In short, Burger King is pummeling our children with pagan theology under our very noses, and we know it not.
In the Theogony, Earth and Sky are two gods who come together to have children. One of those children is Chronos (or Father Time) who overthrows his father by mutilating him with a sicle and who is honored to this day by many unknowing celebrants annually on New Year's Eve. After overthrowing his oppressive father, Chronos has offspring with his mother, among whom is numbered Zeus, who ultimately overthrows his father Chronos and becomes king of the gods.
The point is that Greek thought is so ingrained into the culture of the West that it shows up on fast food restaurant cups, and the problem is that most Christian parents don't know Greek mythology well enough to spot it when it shows up in Burger King. So, our kids grow up with a general cultural framework in which earth or nature is said to have some sort of motherly relation to them, and they were taught by the disposable cups at BK.
The problem is compounded when we consider that the biblical vocation of human beings is to image God's glory into the world and consecrate the earth to his glory by excersizing godly and Christlike dominion therein. The earth is not our mother. God is our Father, and he has designed us to oversee and steward the earth not to think we were born from her. Greek mythology (and Burger King) teaches that we are derived from earth and that she is higher than we. The Bible teaches us that all creation culminates in the making of mankind in the image of God to rule over the earth as kings and priests.
Of course, if we don't understand what is being done to us and our kids, we will not know how to disciple them into mature people who can discern when pop culture is trying to hit them with a little pagan idolatry. This is why an understanding of the Greeks and the culture of the west is important for Christian discipleship in general and Christian parenting in particular. Like everything else, the ideology on the cups at Burger King must be considered in light of the universal Lordship of Christ, lest we be unknowingly subsumed into paganism and idolatry.