Tuesday, February 2, 2016

MYTH IS NOT A BAD WORD.... February 2, 2016

A  'progressive' Christian thinker tells his audience that the statements of Bible myth are not literal, thus not true;
The garden of Eden wasn't a literal garden.
There are no such things as talking snakes.
God didn't want Cain and Abel's sacrifices.
Kangaroos didn't hop from Australia to the Middle East to get on a wooden boat.
God didn't want Abraham to murder Isaac.
Suns don't stop or go backward in the sky.
God didn't command multiple genocides.
God didn't murder Onan for "pulling out."
God didn't murder a dude for non-consciously trying to help catch the ark of the covenant.
The Suffering Servant isn't a proof text that God killed Jesus.
Nobody is going to burn in hell forever.
Jesus isn't coming back for blood and vengeance.
Christians aren't getting raptured.
Deal With It...... 'Annoyed.'

Adam and  Eve

I fully understand the 'annoyance' expressed in how many have come to believe some of  these abhorrent things as literal  history, which is  surely  misguided for our times. But I do not think we do the Bible or life any honor by dealing with the nature of myth the way implied here. First the Bible is primarily mythical story, even material like the man struck down for trying to hold up the falling Ark is mythical and symbolic. What we as modern science affected people usually  do with the reality of myth in the world is to say it simply is not true and there is nothing real or helpful about it. That attitude ignores that 'understanding ancient people's perception ' is recalling that  they took the myths of their culture as the 'voice of God'.  That is something we need to understand about them and their myths. Also we fail to appreciate myth by saying the obvious- it is not literal material history nor does it reflect materialistic science discoveries of our age. All living myth is of this nature and always has been. And if we are in need of new myth it also will not be literal story, though it most assuredly would not force one to discredit genuine science. One thing is certain to the people that had it--- myth was true. It was the truth at the vey foundation of their reality. It was more true than history or science is to us now. The living myth is true inwardly, spiritually and today psychologically. With our knowledge of the nature of myth and its symbolism, today we can be conscious that myth is forming us whereas in ancient times it was just the way it was and there was little chance that one could sit back and 'see' the work that myth was doing in supporting and guiding human life. To the ancients it was clearly the gods that made most everything happen. That was the truth. We have gone the other extreme and think everything that is real is conscious to us. This hubris is a weakness of a  significantly more conscious humanity. Both education, wrongly used, and the lack of it can increase our arrogance toward myth, the real story of humanity. But a fuller consciousness  would lead us to be much more humble and myth would no longer be a bad word or something about things not true.

Moses' Burning Bush

Also myth says in symbolic language what it 'means' to say. If it says a god asked for a sacrifice or a serpent spoke that is what it means. To honor the meaning of myth we are not at liberty to say that it did not mean to say what it said. The myth's non literal imaginative images are the essence of its power. To demythologize a myth is to destroy its life and its power to effect consciousness. A myth's power is not the power of reason and rationality that modern folks so idolize, or at least claim to so closely live by. The myth comes from a source too 'other' and too 'authoritative' for the mortal conscious mind to decide what to take and what to dismiss. It was statement, primarily in image and story, that defined the nature of creation and of the person's place in it. That is how important it was. It gave a collective structure of meaning to a whole culture for a very long period of time. A myth provides what is needed evolutionarily for a culture's cohesion ,or potentially in our day for all cultures world over, for some long period of time( Some say the power of a collective myth depletes after about 2000 years). Some, including Rene Girard teach that ancient living collective  myths were the conscious creation of humanity as an excuse for violence. Psychological evidence does not support this low value of myth. The same mythical scenarios exist across all cultures  and times and still frequently occur spontaneously in the dreams of modern people. Myths are not best accounted for as conscious  human creations but are what humanity has always experienced and called a 'voice of God.' They have been the avenue of what all religions call  'revelation.'  They 'come' from unconscious sources, today we can choose to  call that source the  Collective Unconscious with its  creative archetypes.

Mary And The Angel

Myths seem to be spin offs of many but some finite  number of general scenarios that are at the very foundation of the collective human psyche.   (There is nothing new under the sun.) C.G. Jung refers to these myth forming presences or lattices  as archetypes. They are in us all. They make culture possible. These story based structures spin these stories in such ways that they form foundational stories that are precisely what is needed for the evolutionary stage that exists in a culture.

So it is never accurate to look at an ancient living myth as if it were just teaching persons things that are always and forever 'false'. It taught what was the 'needed foundational' mythic story or truth for the time. So we can rage that Biblical myth is dominantly patriarchal as if that should have never happened. We even build up some strong resentment toward the myth for it is so out of tune with what is needed now. This is like being angry at our great grandparents for not having cell phones. The time had not come. Evolution's ways are not always pretty or even moral from our present day evaluation. We can rage that there 'should' have been sexual equality from the start. (The truth is there always was an archetype of sexual equality that may even have appeared slightly at times but it was not a central  pillar of any major culture's myth of the past several millennia if ever.) This low view of myth shows just how we ignore the whole scheme of scientific evolution when it does not meet our bias. We biasedly want to think God was always there saying what was eternally true and humans just never listened. We forget that the myths were the voice of God for ancient people. So all of nature and the mind of God as it exists is part of an evolutionary process. Not just the biological and physical parts but all of it including the development of the mind, conscious and unconscious. There is really  no grounds now of imagining some outside perfection that was fully known to itself from the start. Our  awareness of scientific evolution needs to become part of how we think of God in post modern times.
Jesus Walking On The Water

But no mythical spin or arrangement of these archetypal motifs lasts forever. They are all evolutionary based. When a myth begins to wane in its capacity to hold meaning for a culture that culture moves into times of major crisis and there necessarily is much chaos. A myth of a particular form has died and only another more appropriate myth can take its place. No human can demand or create a new myth. It must arrive in an evolutionary way over a period of time. This is the same nature as the Jesus expression that 'thy Kingdom Come' —not demanded or willed into expression but only yearned for. Western culture has surely been in such a myth dying time for at least a hundred years. During such times many persons will in panic insist that the dying myth is still relevant and is forever unchangeable . Others will involve themselves in many kinds of deconstructions showing that, by modern consciousness, the myth is no longer truly relevant and able to meet the culture's new needs for an expanding consciousness. It can be that some new arrangement of a previous myth can become the new living myth, but this can't be known and certainly not demanded. If a new living world myth were to emerge that participates in a Jesus or the Christ  type image it would  necessarily have to be recognized as not being an image of only one major religion, Christianity; but what is also found mythically in other major religions. Otherwise the Christ image  serves, as it very much does now in some of its forms, to divide the world. Myths before have been primarily felt in local cultures, but because the world is now so small a tribal myth will no longer meet the evolutionary survival and consciousness raising needs of humanity. We hopefully are moving toward a world wide myth. It will have to honor science and  it will also need to honor what we know of the deep human psyche. This means it will honor the Unconscious, the psyche from which all myth comes.
Ascension Of Jesus @ 1520 CE

None of this psychologically/spiritually grounded view of the whole proves there is not an ultimate fully conscious mind which created and is 'in charge' of the archetypes. No one can say anything like that with any certainty. Maybe some persons presently cannot imagine God any other way? I surely do not see how anyone can demand that it be either way. My personal view , which I find in strong harmony with scientific evolution, Quantum Physics  and depth psychology is that God can be understood, which of course is never fully possible,  as the mindful energy of the archetypes from which all that has been or ever will be is generated.

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