Posts tagged ‘myths’
Just who the heck am I talking about here?
- Keeps track of who is being good and bad
- Rewards according to the list
- Knows what you are doing at all times
- Is aware of your requests for gifts and such
- Parents teach their children about him
- Has helpers of lesser abilities than himself
- Has supernatural powers
- Is known as loving and kind
- No one ever sees him
- Gets credit for things he doesn’t actually do
- Lots of songs about him
- May have origins in some historical character
- His example may inspire generosity in some people
- Does some rather weird miraculous things
Happy holidays whilst you figure on that. :D
We have spent a considerable time on this blog, addressing Biblical myths. HeIsSailing wrote on several myths of the Bible including the Leviathan, the creation story, the tower of Babel, the origins of languages, and the Crucifixion story. I compiled an entry on the Exodus and wrote a short blog on the myth of the devil. Richard most recently wrote on the Apocalypse.
An interesting myth that is widely embraced by the Christian church today is the story of the impregnation of a young Jewish woman by YHWH 2000 years ago. The Apostles Creed includes the lines:
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the virgin Mary
There are several issues with the story of the virgin birth. The first, of course, is the parallel of this story with many other such conceptions of “gods” over the course of history. I read one Christian’s rebuttal this argument which stated that this is in fact more of a declaration of its truth since the devil always tries to counterfeit truth. Well, he had quite a head start on this one.
The second is the genesis of the virgin birth story itself. The first person to write about an individual named Jesus was Paul, the Apostle. In his letters, there is no mention of the virgin birth of Jesus. One would think if this was such an important doctrine to be embraced as a core belief of Christianity, it would be trumpeted by Christianity’s greatest evangelist…
The Ark of the Covenant, like many artifacts sought after because of Biblical speculation, is shrouded in mystery. According to the Book of Exodus, God commanded Moses to have the Hebrews build the ark as a communication device between God and Moses (Ex. 25:9-10). Contemporary references such as in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) have focused on such powers as the source of fanatical treasure searching.
There are many theories about the fate of the Ark of the Covenant, of which the majority revolve around its transportation to Egypt and beyond or a secret location in Israel in which the Ark was hidden away prior to the Babylonian conquest. One such theory that is particularly intriguing is the Ethiopian legend. The Ark is only a small part of Ethiopia’s long and peculiar legend and history associated with both Judaism and Christianity.
The Ark of the Covenant is said to contain the “testimony” of God’s covenant with the Hebrews (Dt.31:26), a golden jar with manna and the rod of Aaron (Ex. 16:32-34, Heb. 9:4). However, 1 Kings 8:9 states that the only contents of the Ark were the two tablets of stone. The Ark, even from its Biblical record, is concealed in smoke and mirrors as High Priests themselves, notably the first one, Aaron, were only allowed to see the Ark on specific days. The Ark was covered when carried among the Hebrews and hidden in the Holy of Holies…
We have spent a considerable time on this blog, addressing Biblical myths. HeIsSailing wrote on several myths of the Bible including the Leviathan, the creation story, the tower of Babel, and the origins of languages. I compiled an entry on the Exodus. Richard recently wrote on the Apocalypse. However, I believe one of the greatest myths of the Bible is the existence of the creature we call the devil.
On his personal blog, Gary has a post entitled The Grand Myth of Lucifer in which he describes in detail what the Bible says, or what most evangelicals believe the Bible says, about this mythical creature. In the post, he describes the origins of Lucifer, the part he played in the fall of Adam and Eve, the crucifixion of Jesus, and what he knows of his own destiny.
Even as a Christian, I began to have my doubts in the existence of the devil. I struggled with the story of Job in which Job was a pawn in a great cosmic battle between God and the devil. If God was the great omnipotent being and the devil was simply a fallen angel, why did it seem as if they were somehow on equal terms? What was the devil doing in heaven approaching God?…
Welcome to the End of the World! Er, well, um… maybe not quite yet.
For 2000 years Christians have been expecting the end of history. If you’re reading this and you haven’t been whisked away (and you have had no strange new microchips implanted), then odds are it hasn’t happened yet. In Robert Price’s new book, The Paperback Apocalypse, he gives us a look inside the sausage factory of that belief system – its origins, its theology and, even more, the implied psychology. What we see is as fascinating as it is appalling.
Price is something of a folk hero to former Christians. His Beyond Born Again has been a springboard for many who are struggling to extricate themselves form the Christian faith – serving, as it does, to encapsulate and put to words many of their thoughts, and point them toward a brighter, better way. He manages to avoid the shrillness of many currently popular writers that are also critical of religion, because he understands, I think, what fundamentalist beliefs mean to and do for people. And he graciously made the whole book available for free online.
Christian apocalypticism has become immensely important to modern evangelical Protestants, and in particular came to widespread prominence with Hal Lindsey’s book, The Late Great Planet Earth which was the number one “nonfiction” bestseller for the 1970’s (and the fact that it predicted the End in 1988, and yet still sells, is emblematic of the whole phenomenon). In its highly popular modern incarnation, the Left Behind series of books novelize the unfolding of this myth…
A Guest Commentary
The faithful often try to tell us that without god the world would collapse into chaos. They claim that god provided us with laws or commandments to live by and that societies have base their laws on these commandments. This strikes me as a rather arrogant assumption that overlooks some very basic historical facts.
In fact, the relationship probably works the other way around. Religion took its laws from those that already existed. For example, let’s look at the ten commandments. The claim is that they brought rules to a world without any. The implication is that people ran around killing, stealing, and raping with impunity before them. However, codes of law had been written long before the alleged burning into stone of the ten commandments. For example, the Code of Hammurabi was written a thousand year’s before, and there were others before that.
One aspect about Hammurabi’s code that may seem familiar from the first testament is the eye for an eye justice it espoused. Fire and brimstone Christians will recognize much of what they believe and stand for in it. So, rather than codes of law being based on the ten commandments, it seems that the ten commandments were based on these codes of law…
Myth 2: Atheism is just another religion.
This myth is being resurrected again by people ranging from academics trying to counter some of the influence of the recent spate of books challenging faith, to extremists wanting atheists banned from American schools by using the ruling that religion and state must be kept separate.
It was the good Catholic G.K.Chesterton who sought to tease atheists by saying ‘there are only two kinds of people; those who accept dogmas and know it, and those who accept dogmas and don’t know it’. Atheists would reject his categories and go on to argue that there are at least three kinds of people; the two that Chesterton mentioned and a third category who know an unhelpful and untrue dogma when they see it and are quite capable of rejecting it.
Atheism, of course, is not another religion. Although non-theistic religions such as Buddhism and Confucianism exist, most religions, are based on a belief in gods or a god, and atheists reject such a notion. Let me quote A.C.Grayling who makes the point so elegantly:…