The Myth Of Hades: Relevance Today

1189 words - 5 pages

Today Greek mythology tells the story of a dark underworld called Hades, named after its formidable ruler, Hades, the god of death and the dead (Atsma, 2008). According to the surrounding mythology, souls entering Hades had to cross each of five subterranean rivers which flowed through the underworld before facing judgment and being sent to their final resting place. Although the myth of Hades is centuries old, various cultures continue to believe in its premises: the existence of an underworld ruled by an underworld lord.
Belief in an UnderworldMany religions today have their own version of Hades, and according to a 2004 Gallup Poll, 70% of Americans believe in hell (Religion Facts, 2004). The New Testament of the Bible speaks about hell being a place for punishment after the last judgment. Many versions of the Christian religion exist today, and all of them believe in an underworld like Hades as the final resting place for souls to suffer and pay consequences if they have done wrong while living. Islam is another Abrahamic religion that is practiced today with core beliefs that, if not followed, will place one in its version of the underworld. In the Qur’an, the Islamic version of the Bible, hell is nothing but fire. According to Islam, any disbelief in the Qur’an will cause an afterlife spent in hell; this includes all enemies of Allah. This is a way to keep cultivating piety and humility in all Muslims (Irving, 2002).
These two modern versions of the underworld have many similarities with the Greek version, Hades. These religions speak of fire and internal imprisonment as well as seeing this as a place of punishment, which is similar to the Hades myth. Some individuals still suggest that Hades is only a myth; simply people from the past making up a place of fear in order keep future citizens from creating chaos. This is a fairly respectable position, considering the lack of physical evidence of Hades or any other underworld. However, the myth of Hades lives on through a religiously dictated belief in an underworld. This belief is generally accepted to be a tool used to control those on earth and to enforce a moral code. Muslims believe the underworld helps keep their culture on the right path by instilling fear of wrongdoing. This accountability causes Muslims to face a fiery underworld similar to Hades should their actions waiver, and a similar fate awaits Christian wrongdoersBelief in Underworld LordsHades, the lord of the Greek underworld, persists in the same role in other religions and cultures throughout history. As the ruler or guardian, the lord will control the underworld and its residents. Christians believe in Satan or the Devil, Buddhists in Naraka, Chinese in Diyu, Japanese in Yomi, Juuou, and the Greco-Romans in Hades. Not every religion has a single lord, in some cases multiple kings or lords will rule. In other cases, a guardian may control entry into the underworld, such as the case with Kerberos, the three-headed dog that...

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