Refusing to worship


Active Member
I'm familiar with the Hebrew god of the Old Testament smiting down disbelievers and punishing those who didn't worship him properly, but I'm curious to know if this idea existed in other mythologies.

In Greek myth, Lycurgus and Pentheus, on separate occasions, refused to worship Dionysus and banned his cult. Both were severely punished by Dionysus - Lycurgus is driven insane and kills his own son, and Pentheus is torn apart by Bacchants. Women of Argos were also driven mad for not believing in his divinity, and the daughters of Minyas were turned into bats for not worshiping him.

In another story Lycaon doubted Zeus' omniscience, and served him human flesh to test whether he would notice. Zeus turned him into a wolf for doing this.

Another story tells how Eumelus of Kos, and his children, only worshiped Gaia, refusing to honour the other gods. When Hermes, Athene and Artemis visited his household, they were met with scorn and ridicule, causing them to turn him and his children into various types of birds.

Are there any other myths, Greek or otherwise, where mortals have doubted a god's divinity, and been punished for either not accepting it, or for not worshiping them.


Well-Known Member
I don't know of any, but you have given me something to look into. I'll get back to you when or if I find anything.

E. M.


Active Member
I'm sure there are all kinds of Bible stories from the Christian religion about people disregarding signs of god and whatnot.

In Anthropologist Jean Briggs book, she writes about the Inuit of Alaska and their loss of their Pagan religion. I believe one specific story was about the Aurora borealis and how the Inuit felt that a specific prayer in the form of dance could conjure the lights, but as Christians began traveling to the land and trying to change the Inuit's beliefs, people lost the faith in their prayers and gods and so can no longer bring the lights. They can also no longer communicate with the animals they hunt either... I don't know if that's the kind of thing you're looking for.

Probably a better one...

In Greek myth Arachne was punished by Athena for not reverencing her. Arachne had the gift of weaving beautifully and she boasted that she weaved better than Minerva herself. The goddess heard her boasting and came down to the human realm to speak with her in the form of an old crone. She gave Arachne a sign that she was the goddess, but Arachne didn't fear her and still boasted that her abilities were her own and that they were greater than the goddess'. Athena gave the girl the chance to recant her statement, but Arachne refused. She challenged the goddess to a competition to determine whose talents were the better and in the end Athena lost to the girl. Athena, having lost the contest was enraged. She beat Arachne over the head with her shuttle or loom (some weaving instrument) and Arachne ran away. Athena chased after her and (I believe she found Arachne hanged in a tree) and she felt pity on her and so turned her into a spider.


Active Member
In Roman mythology, one of the Kings of Alba Longa, variously called Allocius, Aremulus, Remulus or Romulus Silvius, distained to worship Jove and declared himself superior to the gods. To demonstrate this, he imitated the sound of Jove's thunder by getting his army to beat their shields. However a real thunder storm occurred, and he was killed. The stories say that he was either struck by lightning and thrown into Lake Alba, or an earthquake caused him and his house to slide into the lake, or a great storm occurred and the lake flooded and carried him and his household away.