Epicurus Principle Doctrine One: “A blessed and imperishable being neither has trouble itself nor causes trouble to any other,therefore it is never constrained by anger or favor, for all such things exist only in the weak.”
Whether or not you agree with the idea that Epicurean gods really exist in bodily form, the Epicureans talked about them as if they were real, and found it useful to consider their traits as immortal and perfectly happy as models to which we should aspire to our ability. That means that Epicurean gods could be visualized in action, so it is interesting to consider scenes which an ancient Epicurean might visualize a blessed and immortal being existing. Such scenes would likewise be of benefit to at least some of us, but remember: “blessed and immortal” does not mean omnipotent, omniscient, granting favor or being angry – or any of the other attributes that the Epicureans considered blasphemous to the true nature of a perfectly happy being.
Epicurus in the letter to Menoeceus: “First believe that God is a living being immortal and blessed, according to the notion of a god indicated by the common sense of mankind; and so believing, you shall not affirm of him anything that is foreign to his immortality or that is repugnant to his blessedness. Believe about him whatever may uphold both his blessedness and his immortality. For there are gods, and the knowledge of them is manifest; but they are not such as the multitude believe, seeing that men do not steadfastly maintain the notions they form respecting them. Not the man who denies the gods worshipped by the multitude, but he who affirms of the gods what the multitude believes about them is truly impious. For the utterances of the multitude about the gods are not true preconceptions but false assumptions; hence it is that the greatest evils happen to the wicked and the greatest blessings happen to the good from the hand of the gods, seeing that they are always favorable to their own good qualities and take pleasure in men like themselves, but reject as alien whatever is not of their kind.”
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