While all religions might be equally true (or false, depending on your temperament), the plain truth is that some religions just come off plain nuttier than most.
And, let’s face it, folks: the “tens of thousands” of people still worshipping the various gods of ancient Greece as shown in this indie documentary by American documentary-maker Jamil Said, just seems nuttier than a five-pound fruit cake.
Yup, with ancient Greek gods we mean Zeus, Apollo, Hercules, Athena, Hermes, Bacchus and the whole lot here. Why this notion would seem as loony – if not even loonier – as let’s say, the Catholic church, Wicca followers, crop circle devotees, or superstars like Madonna being into something like kabbala (“a system of esoteric theosophy and theurgy developed by rabbis, reaching its peak about the 12th and 13th centuries, and influencing certain medieval and Renaissance Christian thinkers,” according to my dictionary) is not particularly clear.
Personally, I blame cheesy Hollywood flicks featuring Hercules and modern capitalism (which wantonly used names from Greek mythology such as Ajax to brand various consumer products). Even a modern retelling of ancient Greek myths such as the recent TROY (starring Brad Pitt) made it a point to omit any active role for the ancient Greek gods for fear of appearing crazy or offending modern sensibilities.
Not the “pagans” (from the Greek word for rural) depicted in this documentary. Most of them seem quite unashamed to appear onscreen even while they are complaining that they are being ostracised by Modern Greek society, which is predominantly Christian.
I STILL WORSHIP ZEUS makes the point that modern Greece society is largely intolerant of their beliefs. Some claim that the Greek Orthodox Church is “afraid of any competition”, but I wouldn’t worry if I were them: in some of the Zeus worshippers’ rituals shown here, they wear silly-looking togas dating from pre-Christian times. It takes a brave person to waltz around like that nowadays so I don’t exactly see hordes of Christians leaving the Church to become devout Zeus-ians (or whatever here).
My secular mocking aside here, while I STILL WORSHIP ZEUS is an interesting documentary that covers an obscure topic, it ultimately fails as agit prop for the Zeus movement because it never really properly explains what exactly these people see in this ancient religion. (That is, until a closing scene that is peculiarly poignant.) It also never convincingly makes the case for why Greek authorities and society should see them as something more than a bunch of loons, and thus making this a case of religious oppression as the documentary would like us to believe.
The documentary also never fully explains the main tenets of this ancient belief system. After all, the only Greek mythology most audiences know is from CLASH OF THE TITANS.
These shortcomings aside, I STILL WORSHIP ZEUS never bores and should be seen.
(So did belief in the ancient Greek gods somehow survive from ancient times — or did it die out in 500 A.D. as most historians maintain? One onscreen believer claims that it has always somehow been part of his family’s history and background. IS TILL WORSHIP ZEUS never really goes into this, but personally I believe that this ancient belief has probably been dusted off for 20th century consumption along with the many other trendy New Age pagan beliefs currently popular with types making regular sojourns to Stonehenge and the like.)