28 April 2013

Mythology and the Psyche

 Joseph Campbell wrote in The Power of Myth:
“All religions are true, but none are literal.”
I am unsure what Campbell meant by the religions being true. I suspect he meant that religious beliefs are better understood in the context of understanding and appreciating the genesis of mythologies.

From Tlaloc the Aztec god of rain, fertility, and water, to the Ojibwa belief that the northern lights are an expression of the god Nanabozho's lasting love,
myths are an expression of humanity in all its existential hopes and fears.
Knowing a few of the myths of ancient cultures, and having begun to appreciate the cosmology of ancient peoples, has helped me place contemporary religious dogma into historic and psychological perspective.

Stories that endure to be woven into the fabric of cultural mythologies, however absurd in light of what we know from reasoned thought, the fossil record, and reproducible experiment and observation, have much to say about the totality of the human mind, conscious and unconscious.

All humans share the same doubts and fears. All humans feel the weight of mortality.

I suspect multiple versions of an existential narrative are as old as humanity. From that perspective, religious dogma seems slightly less appalling.

13 April 2013

The Word on Religious Doctrine

I fancy myself a spiritual person because I long to connect with other living beings. So don't shun me for declaring religious doctrine culturally toxic and morally reprehensible.

We are told that god is mysterious. And if by god is mysterious you mean there is stuff we'll never understand, then I'm with you. We are children of the great mystery.

Otherwise religiosity and the arguments for devotion to one cultural mythology over another fall somewhere between insane and incomprehensible.
"If you wake up tomorrow morning thinking that saying a few Latin words over your pancakes is going to turn them into the body of Elvis Presley, you've lost your mind...But if you think more or less the same thing about a cracker and the body of Jesus, you're just a Catholic."
- Sam Harris
Listen to the following Univeristy of Notre Dame debate where Sam Harris obliterates the pilings and foundation of religious doctrine and the theistic framework of Christianity.