One a forum I frequent but rarely post on, someone asked how far we would go for the Gods. The question referred to requests made by the Gods to prove our devotion; like Abraham, being asked to sacrifice his own child to the Christian God. I was shocked at how... rational the answers were. I understand not wanting to sacrifice a child, of course, but never--in any of these myths--was the child actually killed. Most of the answers on the thread came down to a refusal of said request, and the disbanding of Their worship, even if the deity in question showed up before them in person and told them to do it.

On the one hand, this is probably a healthy reaction. It may be time to talk to a psychiatrist if you start experiencing these types of thoughts. Then again, who knows how many psychiatric patients just get worse and worse because the deity they were hearing in the first place tries to shout through the medication-induced fog? Maybe some of the famous people who heard the voice of God weren't completely well, but they did manage to inspire the entire country of France to rise up against the English invaders, amongst others.

I have said before that I don't hear the voices of the Theoi, and I have never heard the voices of any other God or Goddess either, except in my dreams when I was a child. Yet, if Athena appeared before me, in shining armor and divine beauty, I would fall to my knees and do anything She asked of me without a second thought. Why? Because I believe in the Theoi--and other Gods--and believe that They have insights we lack, as simple mortals. I trust the Theoi, so if They feel I should take certain actions, I will.

Then again, I have given myself to an 'easy' pantheon; as best as I can remember, only once was someone asked to sacrifice their child to the Theoi: Agamemnon, who was asked by Artemis to sacrifice his child to Her so he could redeem an act of hubris against Her. In return, She would allow the wind to blow again, so the warships could sail to Troy to reclaim Helen.

When I was sixteen, I took part in a school musical version of Euripides’ 'Iphigenia at Aulis'. The play started with the Hellenic army waiting for the wind, and ended at the point Iphigeneia (Ἰφιγένεια) is sacrificed and saved by Artemis. I played Agamemnon, and it was awesome. Not just because a short, cute, sixteen year old girl was allowed to play one of the greatest military leaders in Hellenic history, but because it forced me to delve deep into the myth and understand the reasons behind Agamemnon's decision to go through with the sacrifice. 

For those unfamiliar with the ending of the myth: as Iphigeneia willingly steps up to the altar to be sacrificed--realizing her life is of lesser importance than the impending war, or simply to appease her father--Artemis appears and switches the girl for a deer just before either the fire can burn her, or the blade pierces her skin.

Note that the one Hellenic myth--correct me if there are more--where a sacrifice is asked that seems beyond reasonable, the sacrifice chooses, of her own accord, to be sacrificed. And is saved by the Goddess she was sacrificed to. Then again, Agamemnon did lose his daughter to Artemis: She took her away, so perhaps it was a sacrifice after all. 

In a prior post about hubris, I stated that I vehemently do not believe the Theoi--or other Gods--always have our best interest in mind. I think the Theoi have Their best interest in mind, first and foremost, and if we want that for Them as well, then They will help us any way that they can. When we don't--and thus commit hubris--the Theoi become our worst enemies.

The Theoi need not be appeased. They have always been happy with regular devotional sacrifices, with Their hymns, with simply being in the minds of Their followers. As such, we will never have to 'prove our devotion' unless we commit hubris against Them. So if Athena appeared before me, and told me to do something, it would never be to prove my loyalty: it would be to redeem myself. It would be a final warning, and I'd be incredibly joyous that the Theoi care about me enough to allow me a chance for redemption. So, yes, I would do it. In a heartbeat, whatever it is. And I'll do it, secure in the knowledge that whatever is asked of me, is asked by an immortal being who understands the world much better than I ever will, and who is trying to save me.