I don't know that the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot fit into mythology, although Grendel does. I am not sure why that should be though.
and if this page is going to identify Christian Myths should the link just go to Christianity, since the author is equating "some people consider it a collection of myths" with "some people believe in Norse gods"? --MichaelTinkler
Doesn't mythology differ from religion by the absence of the preaching of some kind of philosophy?
- no, actually, mythology is to religion as Latin is to spoken languages. Yes, some people practice it (in the case of Latin, there really are some speakers left!), but no, it's not a living religion. That's a simple, crude, but useful distinction. I also hasten to say that Greco-Roman mythology, per se, is narrative and has precious little to do with the sacrificial practices of Greco-Roman religion, per se. So, there's no 'preaching' only because no one is 'practicing' it. --MichaelTinkler
- Also (my two cents), the above assumes a very narrow reading of religion. Buddhists don't "preach" per se, certainly not in the evangelical sense, nor did the Roman religions. And there are tons of philosophies that do preach, but aren't necessarily a religion... Is NAZISM a religion? Or Amway? There is a vibrant ambiguity here that I think is inherent in what is interesting. To cleanly delineate religion, myth and folklore, each one in its own little box, is to fall short of describing what is going on. I don't know exactly how it SHOULD look, but what we have so far seems to me to fall extremely short of the mark. And BTW, I don't think mythologies need only be defined as the dead husks of ancient religions. We have tons of living mythologies that rival the Roman ones in terms of scope and narrative that transcend folk tradition (UFOLOGY for example, or Pop Personality Cults like ELVISISM). The Elvis Lives movement isn't folklore in the secular sense like Grimm's Household Tales, but of course the "civilized" world typically won't admit it into the pantheon of "recognized" religions either. It exists in a nether realm between Voodoo and Spiritualism. --trimalchio
- as a minor aside, I think it depends on the type Buddhism. There is an evangelical/preaching form of Buddhism, as I recall. -- BenBaker
While I do disagree that Christian belief is a Mythology, I do agree that Christian Mythology exists. The story of King Arthur, for example, qualifies. Many stories of verbal history exist, used in explaining the circumstances of scripture. The purported names of the Wise Men are an example of this. I do think that Hinduism as a whole has a more explicit connection to mythology than Christian belief. Hinduism does not have the same focus on the historicity of their scripture as Christianity does, in my experience, and according to my informants. In principle, the christian understanding of scripture holds that scripture is a record of specific events that can be tied to a particular place and time. To my knowledge, Hinduism does not have this as an explicit part of their hermeneutics. I believe the book "The Power of Myth" by Joseph Campbell is relevant. -- BenBaker
How can you say that ancient Graeco-Roman tales are myths, but Jewish or Christian tales are not? They are the same phenomena. The only problem arises because people presume that myths are false, and don't want to call Jewish or Christian tales false (although they seem to have no problem with expressing the same view about the tales of the religions of antiquity.) But the definition of a myth (at least as used in anthropology, etc.) is a story of significance to a culture, that somehow encodes its values. The Bible is full of myths; that doesn't mean it is false, it merely means that its stories are significant to the culture it represents. -- SJK
I think I already agreed that there is such a thing as Christian mythology. I think myth as you are using it is different than mythology. I think the loose way you are using mythology is loose enough that I am justified in agreeing that you hold that the Theory of Evolution is a myth. (it does tell a significant story to a culture... <grin>) I would like to see the reaction if you state that on the page for that article though, as I expect quite an uproar. -- BenBaker
- I think the difference maybe is that evolution is a scientific theory. If we understand myth as "religious story", evolution isn't a myth, although some (atheists? humanists? pantheists?) may consider it one significant to their religion.
- Yes, you have admitted that there is Christian mythology. But the life of Jesus is as mythological as King Arthur. (Remembering that a story being a myth doesn't imply it is false.) Besides, who are we really to say that even the tales of King Arthur are false? Admittedly few people may believe it to be literally true, but some do (e.g. some occultists or Rosicrucians), and even consider them an important part of their religion. King Arthur is just as mythical as Jesus is, no more, no less. -- SJK
- Alright, I admit it, I'm very curious - what "occultists or Rosicrucians" believe in the literal truth of the King Arthur Myth, and what version of the King Arthur myth? Also, do you mean the Californian "Rosicrucians?" --Alex Kennedy
Um, I created a page on Christian Mythology before I saw this debate. Hope no one minds!
On an unrelated topic, I don't think that "wizard" should qualify as a The earliest reference to them listed in their article is in 1982, and if fictional species that recent and relatively little-known count as myt"race." Traditionally, a wizard is a person who has a skill or practices an art -- the aptitude may be inborn, but so is an aptitude for music or chess. Not a race, I say! -- Cayzle
On a related topic, I'm a little iffy about including wemics in here too. Weren't they created pretty much from scratch by TSR and/or Sierra for their games? I would think that to qualify as mythology there should be some significant group of people who at one point believed that it was a real race. TSR was well-known for appropriating mythical creatures from all over the place to incorporate into D&D, so perhaps a reference can be found somewhere to a real mythical origin for wemics? -BD (addendum: maybe not so out of place, actually, since the Mythology article already lists Star Trek as a piece of modern mythology. :)
I wish I knew if D&D wemics and Sierra liontaurs were originated independently, or were inspired by a common unknown source, or what. But I agree with your point -- if Star Trek is mentionable, why not wemics? -- Cayzle
So, should this page now be redirected to an article titled "Stories?" I think it's taking political correctness to an insane level to be eradicating the word "mythology" from all the sub-articles. - BD
Well, as I said before, religious believers should not have a problem with the word "myth" as long as it's not talking about a historical story (because, really, it would sound very weird to talk about "The Myth of the War of 1812," even if we can derive a moral from the events of that war), but I have to disagree with your implied assertion that this is all about political correctness - it's not. I think you have one side (people who, generally speaking, don't believe in Christianity) thinking that it's unfair that Christian stories are labelled "stories" while Greek ones are labeled "myths," while on the other side you have people who do believe in Christianity, to whatever degree, who are very hurt to have what they believe to be true history labeled myths. Since I personally see the Bible as (mostly) allegory, I have a much easier time accepting the word "myths," but please try to remember how hard that word may be to accept for some people. This is not a meaningless argument.
The current Christian Mythology or Christian Stories page, whichever it is named now, appears to be talking about stories which are fairly commonly believed to be fictional, so it's not much of a problem. But, BD, I urge you to think for a minute about something you believe in, such as perhaps your University Degree. How would you feel if someone called your obtaining of a degree "The Myth of BD's University Education?" I'm sure the story of your education could be used to illustrate several important moral points, so it fits the definition of "myth." Still, the connotation is hard to take. --Alex Kennedy
I'd think "Cool, I've achieved the status of myth!" :) But on a more serious note, I do understand that some people would find the combination of the words "Christian mythology" to be offensive. I just think that we shouldn't be focusing on trying to ensure that this encyclopedia offends noone, and should instead be trying to "call things as they are" to as much of a degree it is possible. I suppose the issue of the Christian mythology/stories thing can be debated, but when that debate results in "Greek mythology" being considered an offensive and/or inaccurate description of Greek mythology then I think it's gone a little overboard.