Presentation on theme: "By Thomas Marsh & Dominic Wills Myth. TThe myth is the most complex type of symbolic language, since it incorporates symbols, metaphors and models."— Presentation transcript:
TThe myth is the most complex type of symbolic language, since it incorporates symbols, metaphors and models. To many people, to speak of myths is to say that something is untrue. HHowever a modern understanding sees myths as giving insights into human experience. What is a Myth?
Some theologians have chosen to interpret religious statements and texts as myths. There are many examples of religious myths: -Egyptian Gods -Roman Gods -Greek Gods -Viking Gods INTERPRETATIONS
There are three senses in which the word myth could be applied to religious texts and religious statements: The myth could be a story that is not true but has some other value for example Braithwaite argued that religious stories are inspirational to us, and they provide us with the motivation to lead a moral life. Myths
The myth could literary be a device that enables us to talk about things that are “ineffable” i.e. beyond language. The myth could be a method of interpreting ultimate reality. So myths have a 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 to take action. continued
One advantage of interpreting religious language as mythological is that biblical stories, which seem strange to the scientifically minded, become more palatable. There is a further advantage of not taking a literal view of religious language. If we interpret the bible in a mythological sense then the stories of the old and new testament can not be proved wrong by scientific of historical evidence. Strengths
Taking a mythological view of religious language also side steps the criticisms of Flew and Ayer. Namely that religious language is not factually significant and therefore meaningless. These attacks are irrelevant if it is conceded that religious statements are myths. This is because we don’t expect myths to be factually significant. Cont.
“ And as they still went on and talked, behold, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” 2 Kings 2: 11 The bible is full of such objectives and descriptions. Cont.
RRudolf Bultmann believers can no longer takes these biblical parables. He agued that it is only by reading the bible as a mythological text that modern believers are able to square their scientific understanding of the world with the miraculous events of the bible. It is clear to Bultmann that the bible was written in pre-scientific era when myths were everywhere and were an acceptable method of conveying meaning.
CCriticisms of Myths A fundamental difficulty with interpreting religious stories as myths is that it undermines their status as true accounts of the events. AAlvin Plantinga argues that to claim that “god exists” is to make an existential assertion. It is not to talk symbolically of mythological of to adopt a certain attitude. Criticism
PPlantinga maintains that when a Christian speaks of the existence of God they are claiming first that their exists a person of a certain sort a being who, acts, holds beliefs, and has aims and purposes. TThis person, secondly, is immaterial, is perfect in goodness, knowledge, and power, and is such that the world depends on him for existence. In other word, it must be capable of treating religious concepts, such as God, as if they refer to something real. Cont.