Religious Mythology

Posted: March 17, 2014 in Philosophy, psychology, Religion, Science
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How I Interpret the Christian Message

When I understand it as Mythology

 I am sure that some would find it a fundamental mystery how someone could claim to be Christian, to participate and support a local Christian congregation and its work while believing that most of its tenets were founded on mythological stories. Some I am sure will be threatened by the ideas that follow and quit reading sensing that to do so will somehow participate in a heresy. So be it.

I understand the search for meaning, for an answer to the question “Why do humans exist?” has existed as long as written records have been recorded and probably long before, beginning when all knowledge was conveyed in oral form. Written history offers many attempts to answer the meaning of life and an explanation for those out of the ordinary natural happenings, good and bad. We call most of these explanations in our history myths. However, today’s answers we tend to accept as enlightened understandings of truth. In my view, today’s explanations are and will become to be seen in the future as simply a progression of mythological explanations to answer the question.

Yet, buried in progress of myth building are “truths” about the nature of what it means to be human, to long for understanding, to search for truth, and to understand what being human has become over the ages. What we have become and will continue to become is formed in part by the myths and cultures that embody them. I choose to look at all as myth laced with the wisdom of many searching minds. I see the Christian traditions as staggered attempts to understand humanness in relationship to some thing, place, or “person” which Alcohol Anonymous calls a higher power. To me, the higher power is simply the collective knowledge and wisdom of the human race which can be beneficial to humanity or detrimental to human existence.

So how do I participate in Christian worship and practices that I believe are mythological? I do so by interpreting the practices as having useful current day analogs in which I can find solace. Let me take a fundamental Christian belief in the death and resurrection of the one called Jesus or Jesus the Christ. The myth to me is that there was in fact a human resurrection. Furthermore, that this death was in some way a sacrifice of one human/god/person and that by virtue of this sacrifice somehow it will or did save me from an eternal consequence. It has an interesting analog. I am, the physical and thinking individual I am, a result from a dying and resurrection process. For me to be here today, a massive explosion occurred some 13 plus billion years ago as the best minds of the day believe to be true. In that time, numerous stars have formed and then died seeding the existence of other stars and star systems. Our solar system, its sun and planets are the result of this process of death and resurrection. I am therefore a part of this death and resurrection process that will continue for a few more billions of years. So, when we celebrate the mythological resurrection of a historical figure, I understand that indeed, it was necessary for my existence and worthy of my personal reverence and appreciation that whole star systems had to be sacrificed for me to exist. I understand that as a part of the creative process of the universe, the universe has created not just stars and planets, but a replicable form called life that has developed the capacity to understand and revere this universe and its creative, saving cycle of death and resurrection and to carry forward in time the memory as a collective action of many like myself.

And, in this personal process of re-interpreting the mythological stories of my inherited faith story, I take pleasure in participating in the myths and stories of the struggles of may people who came before me in search of the security of “knowing” the “truth.” I too find truth in myths that make life joyful and rich.

Comments
  1. I like your thoughts here. Enjoyable read! Pointing out the fact that there is an even larger context in which ‘every-day’ Christianity and Faith preside is an important observation. Everything is bigger than we can know or understand, even the very pillars from which we draw our ‘truths’, be they scientific or religous.

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