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BACCHUS, n. A convenient deity invented by the ancients as an excuse for getting drunk.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?) American writer and journalist
“Bacchus,” The Cynic’s Word Book (1906)

Included in The Devil's Dictionary (1911). Originally published in the "Devil's Dictionary" column in the San Francisco Wasp (1881-04-23).
Added on 7-Nov-23 | Last updated 7-Nov-23
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If there be any man who derides the unseen world, let him consider the death of Pentheus, and acknowledge the gods.

[εἰ δ᾽ ἔστιν ὅστις δαιμόνων ὑπερφρονεῖ,
ἐς τοῦδ᾽ ἀθρήσας θάνατον ἡγείσθω θεούς.]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Bacchæ [Βάκχαι], l. 1325ff [Cadmus/κάδμος] (405 BC) [tr. Vellacott (1973)]

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

If any impious mortal yet contemns
The Powers celestial, let him view the death
Of Pentheus, to convince him there are Gods.
[tr. Wodhull (1809)]

If anyone scorns the gods, let him look to the death of this man and acknowledge them.
[tr. Buckley (1850)]

O if there be he who scorneth the great gods,
Gaze on this death, and know that there are gods.
[tr. Milman (1865)]

If there be one who still disdains the gods,
Let him behold this corpse and reverence them.
[tr. Rogers (1872), l. 1293ff]

Ah! if there be any man that scorns the gods, let him well mark this prince’s death and then believe in them.
[tr. Coleridge (1891)]

If any man there be that scorns the Gods,
This man's death let him note, and so believe.
[tr. Way (1898)]

Oh, whoso walketh not in dread
Of Gods, let him but look on this man dead!
[tr. Murray (1902)]

If there is still any mortal man
who despises or defies the gods, let him look
on this boy's death and believe in the gods.
[tr. Arrowsmith (1960)]

If there is any man who despises deity
let him look on Pentheus’ death, and judge that gods exist!
[tr. Kirk (1970)]

If any man thinks light of the divine ones,
let him consider this man’s death, and believe in gods.
[tr. Neuburg (1988)]

If there be any man who challenges or scorns
the unseen powers,
let him look on this boy's death and accept
that which is God.
[tr. Cacoyannis (1982)]

If there is anyone who despises the gods,
Looking on this death, let him believe.
[tr. Blessington (1993)]

So if there is anyone who disdains the gods
let him look at the death of this man here and let him believe that gods exist.
[tr. Esposito (1998)]

If there is anyone who despises the divine,
he should look at this man's death and believe in gods.
[tr. Woodruff (1999)]

Anyone who feels
Superior to the gods should study this:
Pentheus is dead -- believe in the gods!
[tr. Gibbons/Segal (2000)]

If there is anyone who thinks nothing of heaven's power, let him look at this man's death and believe that the gods exist.
[tr. Kovacs (2002)]

Let he who would defy the gods’ demands
Look at this piteous death and believe.
[tr. Teevan (2002)]

If there’s anyone who insults the gods let him turn his eyes to this and let him believe.
[tr. Theodoridis (2005)]

If there is anyone here who casts a disparaging eye
Upon the Divine, look now on this and know the Gods exist.
[tr. Valerie (2005)]

If there's a man who disrespects the gods,
let him think about how this man perished --
then he should develop faith in them.
[tr. Johnston (2008)]

If anyone still disputes the power of heaven,
let them look at this boy's death
and they will see that the gods live.
[tr. Robertson (2014)]

If there are any left who would look down on the gods, let them see this.
This death.
And let them know the gods.
[tr. Pauly (2019)]

If anyone, anywhere, denies the gods,
seeing this death, let him belisve in them.
[tr. Behr/Foster (2019)]

If anyone scorns the daimones, let him look to the death of this man and acknowledge them.
[tr. Buckley/Sens/Nagy (2020)]

Added on 11-Jul-23 | Last updated 11-Jul-23
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More quotes by Euripides

One could not stand and watch very long without becoming philosophical, without beginning to deal in symbols and similes, and to hear the hog squeal of the universe. Was it permitted to believe that there was nowhere upon the earth, or above the earth, a heaven for hogs, where they were requited for all this suffering? Each one of these hogs was a separate creature. Some were white hogs, some were black; some were brown, some were spotted; some were old, some young; some were long and lean, some were monstrous. And each of them had an individuality of his own, a will of his own, a hope and a heart’s desire; each was full of self-confidence, of self-importance, and a sense of dignity. And trusting and strong in faith he had gone about his business, the while a black shadow hung over him and a horrid Fate waited in his pathway.

Now suddenly it had swooped upon him, and had seized him by the leg. Relentless, remorseless, it was; all his protests, his screams, were nothing to it — it did its cruel will with him, as if his wishes, his feelings, had simply no existence at all; it cut his throat and watched him gasp out his life. And now was one to believe that there was nowhere a god of hogs, to whom this hog personality was precious, to whom these hog squeals and agonies had a meaning? Who would take this hog into his arms and comfort him, reward him for his work well done, and show him the meaning of his sacrifice?

Perhaps some glimpse of all this was in the thoughts of our humble-minded Jurgis, as he turned to go on with the rest of the party, and muttered: “Dieve — but I’m glad I’m not a hog!”

Upton Sinclair (1878-1968) American writer, journalist, activist, politician
The Jungle, ch. 3 (1906)
Added on 8-Oct-20 | Last updated 8-Oct-20
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Yet a personal God can become a grave liability. He can be a mere idol carved in our own image, a projection of our limited needs. fears and desires. We can assume that he loves what we love and hates what we hate, endorsing our prejudices instead of compelling us to transcend them. … Instead of pulling us beyond our limitations, “he” can encourage us to remain complacently within them; “he” can make us a cruel, callous, self-satisfied and partial as “he” seems to be. Instead of inspiring the compassion that should characterize all advanced religion, “he” can encourage us to judge, condemn and marginalize.

Karen Armstrong (b. 1944) British author, comparative religion scholar
A History of God, ch. 7 “The God of the Mystics” (1993)
Added on 14-Sep-20 | Last updated 14-Sep-20
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I have bought this wonderful machine — a computer. Now I am rather an authority on gods, so I identified the machine — it seems to me to be an Old Testament god with a lot of rules and no mercy.

Joseph Campbell (1904-1987) American writer, professor of literature
The Power of Myth, ch. 1 (1988)

From interviews between Campbell and Bill Moyers in 1985-86. Broadcast as episode 2 of the PBS television show of the same name. Often truncated: "A computer is like an Old Testament god, with a lot of rules and no mercy."
Added on 23-May-08 | Last updated 14-Sep-22
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