A2 Religious Language - Myth Essay

Submitted By ellen1996
Words: 695
Pages: 3

Some thinkers argue that religious ideas conveyed through myths can give cognitive knowledge of God. For many people the idea of myth is the same as the idea of legends, ancient stories that are unlikely to be true. However myths are stories that convey the values and beliefs of the communities that tell them. Myths about the behaviour of gods such as Hera and Zeus in the ancient Greek culture tell people about the value system of ancient Greek culture from which these stories emerge. As well as giving insight into the world view of the community in question, religious myths may provide a way of making meaningful statements about God. One example of myth would be the creation stories in the Bible. These communicate a deep and real awareness of God as Creator and of human beings’ place in creation.
The fact that a myth is a form of story makes it retellable and easier to communicate than, for example, a philosophical theory.
It is important to note that values are communicated – Christians are not concerned with the literal story. To ask whether a myth is true in a historical or scientific sense is the wrong question, just as one would not ask if poetry is true. However, there is one way in which literal sense matters and this is its origin as if it is completely made up, no truths about God are communicated – it is just a fictional story. It has to be an expression of values in story form. The truths point to and reveal something about God.
Bultmann attempted to demythologise myths, meaning removing mythological elements and imagery with the aim of revealing external truths. Scientific understanding will not allow us to read scripture and accounts such as a literal virgin birth, as previous generations did. He attempted to remover the supernatural view of the world of the New Testament. He suggested that the gospels show little more than the fact that Jesus lived, taught about the Kingdom of God, called others to follow him and was crucified. Bultmann said that these extra stories created for emphasis of Christ, are not essential for the message and need to be demythologised in order to return to the message of Christ. However, this movement came to a halt because the significance of myths came to be seen as the fact that they communicate values and beliefs in story form – they cannot be separated.

The stories may have fitted a world in which the beginning of the universe was a mystery, but now we have the theory of the Big Bang, it is questionable if the use of myth is still needed to ‘fill gaps’ that no longer need filling
A problem arises if there are competing myths that both