Wrong. Gods are some of the most insecure beings ever created. From Greece to Alaska to Egypt, gods across pantheons just can't stop showing off the extent of their power and control over every other living thing. It's as if, divine and omnipotent as they are, they still have something to prove, either to themselves or to us. I would make a "compensating for something" joke, but I'd probably get turned into rock if I did. Because the one thing gods can't stand is a lowly mortal pointing out their flaws.
What does she get for shining an irreverent but honest light on the less-than-glorious lives of the gods, via a contest she technically won? Turned into a spider. Athena is so embarrassed that she throws an appalling and uncharacteristic hissy fit: she rips up Arachne's superior tapestry and erases all evidence of the crime by disposing of the accuser. Clearly the mob missed out on a fantastic hit woman. But even in high dudgeon, Athena remains sensible enough to phrase her anger in terms that no other potentially challenging mortal could mistake: this is Arachne's punishment, not for being humiliatingly right, but for her arrogance. The message is clear: do not piss off the gods. Even if you're better. Just don't do it. We don't want to know.
|Sedna, Antony Galbraith|
|Sedna, Tara Borger|
And lest you think this is just a hormonal female thing, we haven't even gotten to the most appalling divine exhibition of power.
Back in the bad old days before the Ten Commandments, Yahweh was a Mesopotamian thunder god with a lot to prove. His chosen people go nomad for a couple generations, essentially run the richest country in the known world, and then promptly get enslaved when a trigger-happy Pharaoh thinks they've gone too far. When Yahweh finally wakes up to the less-than-ideal state of his worshipers - and the affront to him implied in the subjugation of his chosen ones - he seriously loses his cool. He snags a passing Moses and makes him a divine mouthpiece for Yahweh's over-the-top display of vindictive power.
Who does he unleash this power on? The Pharaoh who enslaved his people? The overseers and taskmasters who make their lives hell? The priests who deemed him so helpless?
How about everyone?
|The Plagues of Egypt, John Martin|
|The Plague of Locusts, James Tissot|
|Death of the Pharaoh's Firstborn Son, Lawrence Alma-Tadema|
Gods are not nice people. Gods are primordial creatures, wearing a sheen of civilization over the basest impulses known to man. They exist to be worshiped. And if you forget, they will be more than happy to remind you - brutally, savagely, in a triumph of self-conscious insecurity - what happens when you don't give them their due.