The Christian faith is never lived, taught or preached in a vacuum. There is always an alternative to it: another philosophy, another religion, another ideal. “I see that you have many gods,” Paul noted when he looked around first-century Athens, and indeed the Greeks had a god for everything: for wealth, beauty, fertility, immortality, warfare and more. Statues of the gods were constructed to communicate permanence and power. The gods helped people orient their lives toward achieving these ends: becoming wealthy, healthy and beautiful and avoiding death.
Most Christians have come to terms intellectually with the idea that there is only one God. But the gods that our ancestors worshiped die a slow death, and even though we live in a supposedly Christian nation and a supposedly Judeo-Christian Western culture, their influence is still with us, and it has everything to do with having “the good life.”