Question: I have questions about the study of Greek myths. I find many of the stories disturbing, and my children do as well. Can you please help me understand why we should require classical students to study the Greek myths?
Right now, Evangelicals often send their kids to public schools, praying that their kids survive, despite much of the current educational baloney. While we believe that the problems in public schools are so extensive that kids should not be there, we are not “fundamentalists” in the sense that we want to create retreatist enclaves: we still want kids to be culturally conversant with unbelievers and to have a knowledge of Western civilization and the context in which men like Paul, Luther, and C.S. Lewis wrote. This means knowing history from before 1776, literature from before Narnia, and theology from before Billy Graham.
We are not doing this because we like the Greek myths or because kids should adore the classics. They shouldn’t: Achilles in The Iliad pouts on the beaches of Troy for the majority of Homer’s epic. In The Aeneid, Aeneas gives colossally lame excuses for abandoning Dido after marrying her. The Greek myths include a lot of stories that are not for kids, as do Grimm’s Fairy Tales. You can see rape and gore in more mature tellings than ours, and we should rejoice that the Gospel has transformed the world. (On the other hand, many of the Greek myths are well told and have a fairy-tale quality, so they are not on the level of, say, Gilgamesh or Theogony).