Saturday, October 28, 2017

From Mystery to Myth, from Myth to Truth

The Fall & Expulsion of Adam & Eve
Sistine Chapel ceiling, Michelangelo 
"Unfortunately, myth today has come to have negative connotations which are the complete opposite of its meaning in a religious context. A myth is often spoken of as being the equivalent of superstition and illusion, a fabrication, even a form of propaganda. We refer to the Nazi myth of Aryan supremacy or the male chauvinist myth of masculine superiority or the medical myth of laetrile. Myths are falsehoods which need to be dispelled, and the dispeller is usually understood to be scientific and historic truth. If religion is associated with myth, it is the mission of the scientific and historical method to rid the world of its fantasies and fallacies.
"In a religious context, however, myths are storied vehicles of supreme truth, the most basic and important truths of all. By them people regulate and interpret their lives and find worth and purpose in their existence. Myths put one in touch with sacred realities, the fundamental sources of being, power, and truth. They are seen not only as being the opposite of error, but also as being clearly distinguishable from stories told for entertainment and from the workaday, domestic, practical language of a people. They provide answers to the mysteries of being and becoming, mysteries which, as mysteries, are hidden, yet mysteries that are revealed through story and ritual. Myths deal not only with truth but with ultimate truth."
~from M. Conrad Hyers, THE MEANING OF CREATION: Genesis and Modern Science

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