A biblical myth is defined by Burrows, (1946) as a symbolic, approximate expression of truth which the human mind cannot perceive sharply and completely, but can only glimpse vaguely, and therefore cannot adequately express. This is in contrast to the usual understanding of the word ‘myth’, which, when in reference to something non-biblical such as, Robin Hood, merely refers to a story which may or may not have happened and represents a higher truth. Good examples in the bible include:
-Jonah and the Whale
-The resurrection of Jesus
There are three senses in which the word ‘myth’ could be applied to religious texts and religious statements:
-The myth could be a story or fable that is not true, but which has another value. For example, Braithwaite argued that religious myths are inspirational to us, and they provide us with the motivation to lead a moral life.
-The myth could be a literary device that enables us to talk about things that are ineffable, beyond language. So myths help us speak of spiritual and supernatural events in understandable and natural terms.
-The myth could be a method of interpreting ‘ultimate reality’, as described by Tillich. So myths have symbolic meaning in the sense that they open up new levels of reality, or, as Randall argues, their purpose is to bind communities together and urge us into action.
The first advantage of using religious myth as a way of conveying religious truth is that it opens up a lot of boundaries between religion and science that are thus unbridgeable. Biblical stories, for example, might seem strange or absurd to the scientifically-minded modern believer, however, if they read the bible as a powerful piece of literature, which, although may not necessarily be absolutely true, they can still appreciate it as an excellent source of spiritual and moral guidance. This means that the Bible/Torah/Qur’an can all be read and understood by those who believe in them fundamentally, and those that believe them to be less absolute truth and more interpreted truth. This, in effect, opens up the message of the Bible as morally true if not literally true to a massive number of extra people who are more analytically minded and skeptical, and as such is a effective way of conveying religious ‘truth’. Another advantage of not taking a literal view of religious language is that many Biblical claims can be shown to be false on the basis of scientific evidence, such as the age of the universe, however, if we interpret them as myth, and merely claim that they convey a larger truth. This sidesteps the criticism of Flew/Ayer, with their falsification/verification principles, saying that religious statements are meaningless. If we don’t expect religious myths to be factually significant, their power relies in their metaphorical or symbolic sense. However, this can prove a disadvantage of using myth as religious language, fundamentalists claim that the Bible is nothing more than a ‘warm-hearted story’ if we strip the Bible of all meaning except for myths.
The Essay on How Has James Cameron Presented And Adapted The True Story Of The Titanic For The Cinema
How has James Cameron presented and adapted the true story of The Titanic for the cinema? The Titanic was a gripping story written by James Cameron in 1996. It is a re-write of what happened in 1912, and it tells the story well, and it has many realistic features, and to make the story even more impressive, James Cameron adds a love story to the equation, and the story is a success, which is very ...
Conveying religious truth through myth has many advantages, most importantly, it gives people a visual way of understanding what are often abstract ideas, so they ideas can become more easily understood. The stories are often lively and memorable, so are passed down through generations, often remaining intact after religions themselves are long forgotten- for example, we still hear myths of Roman and Greek Gods, and the Roman and Greek ‘religions’ are long forgotten in history. However, this can also be one of the disadvantages of using religious myth as a way of conveying religious truths, as often the myth has been around for so long that the myth is no longer in its original form and may not still carry its religious meaning, which suggests that it is no longer an original religious truth., as people have forgotten or just don’t know what the story was originally meant to mean. Therefore, religious myths lose their place in ‘religion’, as they couldn’t be possibly God-related, just nice stories people have made up and changed, as they have been passed on. However, ideas that express myths can be difficult to communicate in other ways, and sometimes it is necessary to have different ‘layers’ of meaning, passed on throughout the ages, that bind together to form one myth full of meaning., as people can return to them and find a different religious meaning with which to place effect on their own lives. Through myth, believers are able to communicate something purely positive about God without having to resort to the Via Negativa, which, excluding myths, is said to be the only real way to communicate something about God effectively.
Hitler, leader of the German Nazi party and, from 1933 until his death, dictator of Germany. He rose from the bottom of society to conquer first Germany and then most of Europe. Riding on a wave of European fascism after World War I and favored by traditional defects in German society, especially its lack of cohesion, he built a Fascist regime unparalleled for barbarism and terror. His rule ...
One of the main criticisms religious myths face is the same problem religious symbols often face, that is, that they are outdated and deal with concepts that have long since become obsolete. D.F Strauss claimed that the only way to deal with this was to shift the focus of the myth from ‘the story of a miraculous event to the story of a miraculous event, the difference being that in the first it is being assumed that an objectively true narrative about a miracle is being communicated, whereas in the second, that a religious truth is being embodied in story form, which is not necessarily objectively true. Bultmann famously claimed: ‘It is impossible to use electric lights and the wireless and to avail ourselves of the modern medical and surgical discoveries, and, at the same time, to believe in the New Testament world of Demons and Spirits’. He was arguing that it was necessary to access the real truth of the authoritative word, and to do this, religious language must be ‘demythologised.’
Myths are entertaining stories; they cover the basis from Heroin adventures, tales of heroism, passionate love stories, Monsters, Gods and much more. In their time myths would serve many important functions for the society and culture that believed in them. Myths attempt to explain the unanswerable questions to provide reasons that things are the way they are. Classical myths are terrific ...
Rudolf Bultmann was one of the foremost advocates of religious myth being the only way to truly interpret the holy texts and their religious truths, he claimed that believers can no longer take ‘Chariots of Fire’ (2 Kings 2:11) and ‘Angels, Dragons and Ancient Serpents’ (Revelation 20:1) seriously, as it is only by reading the texts as mythological that modern believers are able to make their scientific understanding of the world and the miraculous events of religious stories compatible. It was clear to Bultmann that they Bible was written in a pre-scientific era when myths were everywhere and were an acceptable method of conveying meaning. For example, the cosmology of the Bible (Hell down below, the Earth in the middle, and Heaven up above) can only be understood as mythological cosmology, given what we now know about the Earth, the crusts, solar system, etc. Now that our view on the world has changed, language must be demythologised, not meaning that we should edit myths out of religious language, merely reinterpret them to reveal their personal meaning to people today. ‘The real point of myth is not to give an objective world picture, what is expressed in it, rather, is how we human beings understand ourselves in the world’, claimed Bultmann.
On example that Bultmann uses of language needing to be demythologised is Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus in a stable, we need to strip away the mythic trappings of this story, in order to reveal the simple message that God can be found in even the most humble and excluded parts of the world, fitting in with the idea that Jesus was born in a place not short of abject poverty, and as poverty is still very much an important Earthly issue in modern times, that should be the ‘new’ meaning of the myth. Another example is the resurrection of Jesus, which was popular all of the Middle East at that time. The Gospel writers attached the myth onto Jesus of Nazareth, to be told in order to impress upon the people the imminence of the apocalyptic judgement. However, when it became apparent that this was going to be any time soon, the meaning of the resurrection story became, according to Bultmann, ‘largely irrelevant’. So therefore, Bultmann claims, the myth of resurrection now needs to be reinterpreted for a modern age to access the true meaning of it, namely the reinvention of an individual when they are baptized and become Christian.
Scholars do not operate in a vacuum, but within the frameworks of their communities, traditions, commitments, and beliefs. Their scholarship, even when specialized, develops within a larger picture of reality. So we must ask: What is in that larger picture Is there a place for God If so, does God's presence make any difference to the rest of the picture Does that presence change the relative ...
A fundamental difficulty with interpreting religious stories as myths is that it undermines their status as true accounts of actual events. But is it precisely the fact that believers take them to be true which gives weight to their faith, if God did not literally create the world in six days; if Mary was not really a virgin when she bore Jesus; and if Jesus did not really rise from the dead; if, in other words, these are merely reassuring stories, what is the point of being a Christian? It is precisely because God is thought ot be ‘literally’ the creator of the universe that he commands worship, and it is precisely because of the ‘historical facts’ of the miracles that the truth of Christ’s divinity is revealed to us and gives us a reason to believe. Many would argue that a necessary condition of being a Christian is that you believe that Christ is literally (or figuratively, as in the trinity) the son of God. Perhaps, not believing in this renders you as not a Christian at all.
Overall, I would say that religious myths are an effective way of conveying religious truth, as I believe that Christ’s splendour, if it is present, could not be interpreted through basic language, as language could not do it justice, and myths are pretty much the only way to avoid talking directly about God, but still conveying enough meaning about God to make the point clear.