Mythology
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21-08-2010, 08:56 AM
Mythology
Hey, erbody.

I wanted to ask y'all yer opinion. I was reading the D&D character thread and I started to wondered how Atheists felt about mythology.

Mythological stories are pretty universal among cultures as is what Joseph Campbell calls the monomyth, the heroic journey. All monomyths include the supernatural (the Matrix monomyth circumvented this by placing the action in a virtual world where pseudo super powers could exist).

In my worldview, mythology is important for many reasons and in this context, I am referring specifically to irrational mythology (rational mythology is a whole other kettle of fish). I can guess that one Atheist position might be that if someone actually believes that an irrational mythology is true in a literal sense, then they're crazy (no really, The Force exists!). So I don't think I'm much interested in that argument. But is there value in mythology as metaphor, as narrative, as story, as guiding force? Or is any story not based in fact... I don't know what the right frame is...

Does mythology have value or should it be discarded?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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21-08-2010, 09:40 AM
RE: Mythology
It has value, for entertainment purposes if nothing else.

And I'm not saying that it doesn't have anything else that makes it valuable. Personally, I'm a huge fan of mythology. I enjoy learning about it. What exactly its value is I'd have to think about (I can't just say off the top of my head) and at the moment I'm wrapped up in a game of Brave New World (hooray for time-traveling superpowers)!

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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21-08-2010, 09:48 AM
RE: Mythology
Quote:Does mythology have value or should it be discarded?
Yes, mythology has value, historical value.
Quote:But is there value in mythology as metaphor, as narrative, as story, as guiding force? Or is any story not based in fact... I don't know what the right frame is...
I dont get what you mean by mythology as metaphor, as narrative, as story and as guiding force, so I might have gotten something wrong, but do you mean somekind of moral teaching in mythological stories?

Correct me when I'm wrong.
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21-08-2010, 10:03 AM
RE: Mythology
I think it has immense value. Mythology helps to make things interesting through entertainment. Things that are interesting are easier to learn, and far more appealing. Using mythology to teach history to young people is VERY effective. Mythology, like fables, can also be used to show the values of living a moral life. (many religous teachings do this, and these teachings are arguably myths. Well, not "arguably" to me). Like Unbeliever mentioned, the sole entertainment is also of value. Anything that makes people happy is of value as far as I'm concerned. Then there's the more intricate value. For example, telling mythology through oration is useful in so many ways. First, oration is becoming a lost art in our world of text communication. (Our very own forum is an example of that. How often are we misunderstood because our ability to use inflection, facial expression, etc is taken away?) Second, it's a chance to feel close to people we are telling the story to, and a chance for them to feel close to us. Another thing lost in our modern world. Lastly (though I shouldn't say "lastly", since I am sure there are more reasons), those who have heard mythology told (and told well) know that it is the best way to learn it for entertainment.

So many cats, so few good recipes.
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21-08-2010, 10:32 AM
RE: Mythology
I love historical mythology. I think the stories are great, it teaches us a lot about ancient cultures and has huge historical value, and, as was noted above, can be a great tool for teaching different things. I think a lot of ancient mythology, and ancient religions in general, were early attempts at science. You explain thunder and lightening by an angry God in the sky, storms that sink ships are the results of an angry God under the sea, and so on.

I'm not sure I know what you mean by "should we discard mythology". Discard how? If you mean not to teach it and pretend it never existed, then no, as I think it has a lot of educational value. If you mean something else, then you'll have to elaborate.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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21-08-2010, 11:50 AM
 
RE: Mythology
Mythology is great as long a we remember the "myth" part.
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25-08-2010, 07:11 PM
 
RE: Mythology
I'm not particularly sure what the difference between mythology and the bible is. Does the fact that it is no longer actively practiced make it mythology?

I think most religious stories have huge impact on literature, art and civilization in general. I would feel that my understanding of these things would be diminished if I didn't have an interest in 'mythology'.
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26-08-2010, 05:44 AM
RE: Mythology
(21-08-2010 11:50 AM)TruthAddict Wrote:  Mythology is great as long a we remember the "myth" part.

My opinion exactly.

"It does feel like something to be wrong; it feels like being right." -Kathryn Schulz
I am 100% certain that I am wrong about something I am certain about right now. Because even if everything I stand for turns out to be completely true, I was still wrong about being wrong.
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26-08-2010, 09:33 AM
 
RE: Mythology
I think mythology is worth studying or looking at, not only for the entertainment purposes, but for the sence of ancient culture that can come from it.

I personally and A great follower of greek mythology and have recently read Ovid's Metamorphoses which had a story about a great flood that wiped the human race off the earth apart from two perfect beings who clung to a tree. It was written way before biblical times so it makes it very interesting when you compare it to Noah's ark!
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26-08-2010, 09:36 AM
RE: Mythology
A lot of the bible's stories appear in earlier mythology. For example, the parting of the Red Sea is probably taken from an earlier story of parting of the Jordan River.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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