You are either not logged in or not registered with our community. Click here to register.
 
December 04, 2016, 04:17:48 AM

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length

Click here if you are having problems.
Default Wide Screen Beige Lilac Rainbow Black & Blue October Send us your theme!

Hark!  The Herald!
Holiday Issue 2016

Wiki Blogs Dicebot

Author Topic: religion and mythology.  (Read 3656 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline TamhansenTopic starter

religion and mythology.
« on: October 08, 2012, 01:16:12 PM »
Basically, when taking the standard definition of these two terms, they seem rather interchangable.

Mythology:
a. A body or collection of myths belonging to a people and addressing their origin, history, deities, ancestors, and heroes.

1.
a. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.
b. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.

Now to me as an agnostic religion and mythology are the same. In this I do not say that I know them to be false, as i cannot prove any mythology to be false. Maybe Jesus did walk on water, or perhaps the godess Athena really was born out of Zeus's splitting headache. I was not there. My question is merely how we can safely call many of these belief systems not just ancient ones, but also modern ones like hinduism, buddhism or Wicca false and treat them as fairy tales, but once we do the same to Christianity, Judaism and Islam, we are treated as savages and insensitive. Basically, there is not a shred more evidence of the existence of God/JHVH/Allah, than there is of Zeus or Krisjna or the mother goddess. It's all about faith and belief.

Personally I tend to take the babel fish approach when considering the existence of god or gods. I do not wish to hinder anyone in believing what they wish to believe, what they feel is truth, or at least something probable, but if people really have this faith, why do they get upset if others question the truth of those beliefs? Is their faith not strong enough, or is it something else?

Offline Vanity Evolved

Re: religion and mythology.
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2012, 06:01:24 PM »
That's because they're one and the same. The difference between mythology and religion is that one of them just fell out of favour; remember, before we were writing comic books and stories about men throwing thunder at giant's in the North, and trickster gods turning into women to give birth to six-legged horses, people believed and worshipped this stuff.

I mean, if I told you that once upon a time, a witch made a house out of gingerbread, would that sound more or less plausable than the entire world flooding and an old man and his wife saved all the animals from dying? Both sound like kid's bedtime stories. The difference is, a disturbing majority of the world believe the second is real, and scoff at the first as 'child's fiction'. Or, to put it another way, just because I love the quote...

"We are all Atheists in regard to every other god but our own. I just go one god further." - Richard Dawkins.

Offline Stattick

Re: religion and mythology.
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2012, 07:04:45 PM »
This one time, God got angry at all the sinful people. So he sent a great flood to kill everyone. However, one faithful man and his family escaped the fate of the world. Then God talked to the man, and promised never to do that again. Then the water retreated, and the man and his family went and built a new home to start repopulating the Earth. And our God, Zeus, has kept his word, and never flooded the entire world again.


Yeah, religion is the supernatural stuff your religion preaches, and mythology is the supernatural stuff that some other group of people believe.

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: religion and mythology.
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2012, 08:22:49 PM »
Well, if we are splitting hairs it seems that they should be split this way:
Myth: Ideology presented in a narrative form.
Religion: A personal or institutionalized system grounded in belief in a myth.

E.g. to take the above example: the myth of the flood is a primary, archetypal narrative expressing a particular idea. It has been reflected in the religions of many peoples around the world including (off the top of my head) the Greeks, Babylonians, Jews, Christians, and Japanese.

Looking at Jung, Joseph Campbell, and James Frazer it becomes clear that a myth is the universal underpinning upon which religions are built. And even agnostics and atheists have myths, myths are the foundation of fiction, literature, film, and culture. It is the systematization itself that constitutes the religion.

Offline Stattick

Re: religion and mythology.
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2012, 10:09:50 PM »
Well, if we are splitting hairs it seems that they should be split this way:
Myth: Ideology presented in a narrative form.
Religion: A personal or institutionalized system grounded in belief in a myth.

E.g. to take the above example: the myth of the flood is a primary, archetypal narrative expressing a particular idea. It has been reflected in the religions of many peoples around the world including (off the top of my head) the Greeks, Babylonians, Jews, Christians, and Japanese.

Looking at Jung, Joseph Campbell, and James Frazer it becomes clear that a myth is the universal underpinning upon which religions are built. And even agnostics and atheists have myths, myths are the foundation of fiction, literature, film, and culture. It is the systematization itself that constitutes the religion.

The question remains: Did everyone base their Great Flood myth off of Gilgamesh, was it an ancestral memory of a big flood in the Middle East... or is there some truth yet in the mostly discounted theories of Joseph Campbell?

Offline tozhma

Re: religion and mythology.
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2012, 10:25:24 PM »
Well, if we are splitting hairs it seems that they should be split this way:
Myth: Ideology presented in a narrative form.
Religion: A personal or institutionalized system grounded in belief in a myth.

In discussions like these it's always fun to bring up Durkheim's theory on religion which is far more broad than most people are used to. It can lead to some interesting ways of looking at culture, i.e. The Superbowl as a religious festival. I have a friend who actually pointed out that with Durkheim's characterization you could even squeeze D&D into that category.

Offline Vanity Evolved

Re: religion and mythology.
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2012, 12:26:00 AM »
The question remains: Did everyone base their Great Flood myth off of Gilgamesh, was it an ancestral memory of a big flood in the Middle East... or is there some truth yet in the mostly discounted theories of Joseph Campbell?

Well, a lot of things were based off other religions, just like the Ten Commandments and a lot of the backstory and feats performed by Jesus. And considering the lack of evidence that ninety eight percent of the world's population was killed and came back from two people... ;D I'm going more with Gilgamesh.

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: religion and mythology.
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2012, 01:05:24 AM »
The question remains: Did everyone base their Great Flood myth off of Gilgamesh, was it an ancestral memory of a big flood in the Middle East... or is there some truth yet in the mostly discounted theories of Joseph Campbell?

I don't think it is any of the three. Mere cultural cryptomnesia defies the statistics and practicality of the situation, ancestral memory has no basis in reality, and Campbell did a far better job of sussing out the structure of the Hero's journey than he did of explaining the transmission and evolution of myth.

Rather, the acausal parallelism of myth across culture is perhaps the single best example of that oft neglected phenomenon of synchronicity: coincidental occurrences that arise from a larger framework of meaning with no causal connection between individual occurrences. It's closely related to the faculty of insight (another acausal phenomenon) and an inherent side effect of human phenomenology (how we apply objective meaning to subjective experience). E.g. it is a natural phenomenon that societies of a certain stage of development create flood narratives 'spontaneously' because our capacity for deriving meaning is such that those conditions are more favorable for the formation of such a narrative than the formation of any other narrative. You can think of it like proteins folding to their native conformation by following the lowest trough of an energy surface, or epigenetic factors guiding the expression of genes.

Offline Ironwolf85

  • Eletronic Scribe of naughty things.
  • Lord
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: May 2010
  • Location: New England Somewhere I won't tell you
  • Gender: Male
  • Here to have fun, Role play, and maybe get laid
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 0
Re: religion and mythology.
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2012, 01:23:54 AM »
there is actually evidence of a massive post glacial flood that happened in the middle east, and may have been the spark that lit that legend.

to me Religion and  Myth are seperate.
Religion is where one has faith, combined with philophy & theology, and a way of live, usually attempting to understand his place in the world.
Myths are a type of cultural fable often connected to religon, but not nessary.

A norseman can belong to the Aser faith, and believe in Odin or Thor and worship them. but he might not believe the Myth of the Drauger, or that there is a troll in the mountians named Suifenerr or somthing.

Offline TamhansenTopic starter

Re: religion and mythology.
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2012, 03:23:43 AM »
Ok. As far as I can trace it back, every single world religion of today (I.e those with major world wide following) seems to originate in some form or another in the same place, iraq and Iran. Or Mesopotamia and Persia if you will. Judaism claims it's roots from Abraham of Ur (modern day Iraq) And Islam and Christianity sprang from Judaism.

Hinduism comes from the west of India bordering Persia, and Buddhism, although not technically a religion came out of Hinduism.

So the fact that all these religions have a flood story isn't strange, nor is it strange for all of these religions to share the same bad guy. The Lie

The same can be said for the religions forming around the Mediterranean earlier (e.g. Hellenistic, Egyptian, Babylonian, phoenician) They all seem to originate from Sumerian religious beliefs. Now in theory, the other European religions of olden times (Celtic, Germanic, Norse ) evolved in the Danube region, so it is very likely they carry myths over from the "Caucasian" people that were the first to settle there.

So basically, all these religions stem from the same place, and just evolved along different paths. Most religions that cannot be linked to Mesopotamia and Persia are ancestor or spirits of nature worship. Although many of the earlier named religions do include some of either of these two is probably due to assimilation. Kind of like how the feast of Christmas has many traditions taken from the German Yule or midwinter feast, and in more recent times has even begun to include an idol that was originally from the elusive Cocacola tribes in America.

The only exception to this seems to be the meso and meri American organized religions, which bare many similarities to Akkadian and Babylonian rites, as well as Egyptian, however the people's of South America are said to have been isolated from the rest of the world since long before any of the Mesopotamian religions evolved.

Offline doodasaurus

Re: religion and mythology.
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2012, 07:15:39 AM »
Basically, when taking the standard definition of these two terms, they seem rather interchangable.

Mythology:
a. A body or collection of myths belonging to a people and addressing their origin, history, deities, ancestors, and heroes.

1.
a. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.
b. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.

Now to me as an agnostic religion and mythology are the same. In this I do not say that I know them to be false, as i cannot prove any mythology to be false. Maybe Jesus did walk on water, or perhaps the godess Athena really was born out of Zeus's splitting headache. I was not there. My question is merely how we can safely call many of these belief systems not just ancient ones, but also modern ones like hinduism, buddhism or Wicca false and treat them as fairy tales, but once we do the same to Christianity, Judaism and Islam, we are treated as savages and insensitive. Basically, there is not a shred more evidence of the existence of God/JHVH/Allah, than there is of Zeus or Krisjna or the mother goddess. It's all about faith and belief.

Personally I tend to take the babel fish approach when considering the existence of god or gods. I do not wish to hinder anyone in believing what they wish to believe, what they feel is truth, or at least something probable, but if people really have this faith, why do they get upset if others question the truth of those beliefs? Is their faith not strong enough, or is it something else?

People get upset when you question their religious faith because it is often the most important thing in the universe to them and their faith teaches those who try to sway them from their faith are agents of a cosmic evil.  This was the first thing, really, that made me an atheist -- that *so many* religions condemn all outsiders to eternal torment and attribute to them infinite evil.

Also, not all ideas are equally true or valid.  Someone says that they are against gay rights, women's rights, they want to introduce anti-reason into science education, they are vicious racists and promote war against other faiths because they said their god made them do it -- I'm gonna judge that religious faith pretty hard, because all of those things are crazy.  It's never the abstract belief in some god or another that I find objectionable, maybe a little weird, like an adult believing in Santa, but that religion is used so often to defend the morally indefensible.  You look at any regressive cause and you find a whole bunch of shrieking religious guys behind it.  And a whole bunch of "moderate" or "liberal" co-religionists behind them who do nothing to prevent the racist, sexism, bigotry, homophobia and war mongering of their "fundamentalist" brethern.  It's enough to make me altogether suspicious of religion.

Offline doodasaurus

Re: religion and mythology.
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2012, 07:18:02 AM »
The question remains: Did everyone base their Great Flood myth off of Gilgamesh, was it an ancestral memory of a big flood in the Middle East... or is there some truth yet in the mostly discounted theories of Joseph Campbell?

I think plagiarism is a sufficient explanation.  ;D

Offline tozhma

Re: religion and mythology.
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2012, 11:15:12 AM »
Ok. As far as I can trace it back, every single world religion of today (I.e those with major world wide following) seems to originate in some form or another in the same place, iraq and Iran. Or Mesopotamia and Persia if you will. Judaism claims it's roots from Abraham of Ur (modern day Iraq) And Islam and Christianity sprang from Judaism.

Hinduism comes from the west of India bordering Persia, and Buddhism, although not technically a religion came out of Hinduism.

So the fact that all these religions have a flood story isn't strange, nor is it strange for all of these religions to share the same bad guy. The Lie

The same can be said for the religions forming around the Mediterranean earlier (e.g. Hellenistic, Egyptian, Babylonian, phoenician) They all seem to originate from Sumerian religious beliefs. Now in theory, the other European religions of olden times (Celtic, Germanic, Norse ) evolved in the Danube region, so it is very likely they carry myths over from the "Caucasian" people that were the first to settle there.

So basically, all these religions stem from the same place, and just evolved along different paths. Most religions that cannot be linked to Mesopotamia and Persia are ancestor or spirits of nature worship. Although many of the earlier named religions do include some of either of these two is probably due to assimilation. Kind of like how the feast of Christmas has many traditions taken from the German Yule or midwinter feast, and in more recent times has even begun to include an idol that was originally from the elusive Cocacola tribes in America.

The only exception to this seems to be the meso and meri American organized religions, which bare many similarities to Akkadian and Babylonian rites, as well as Egyptian, however the people's of South America are said to have been isolated from the rest of the world since long before any of the Mesopotamian religions evolved.

My biggest problem with our deference to the "major" world religions is that we're in many ways then resorting to argumentum ad populum. If you look at the history of Christianity, and Constantine's influence on its dissemination (and its form) it seems to me that the major religions are major not so much because of any internal consistency (Constantine called the first council of Nicea to resolve a few those) or veracity, but because of a set of social advantages which allow for a culture to spend time and resources considering things like divinity and eventually spreading these either by force, proselytizing, or both.

Offline doodasaurus

Re: religion and mythology.
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2012, 11:26:20 AM »
Heck, the idea of spreading a religion *at all* was an innovation of the Christians.  People like the Greeks and Romans believed in syncretic religions -- they would just say, "Hey, your sky god and our sky god are the same guy, yay Zeus and Jupiter!" -- or were tribal religions that didn't seek followers (Judiasm, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism).  The idea of conversion as desirable on a large scale was an innovation of the Christians.  Some religions, like Mithraism and the mystery cults (and modern Masons), would accept initiates, but never bothered to go out and convert people.  That was a Christian innovation, the idea that everyone, everywhere should be your religion.

Offline TamhansenTopic starter

Re: religion and mythology.
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2012, 11:32:29 AM »
Actually zoroastrianism was very much about spreading. As was hinduism and confusianism.

Hellenistic religion spread under Alexander, by allowing only those of that faith into high positions.

But yes, Christianity and Islam are the religions that used the most violent means to spread.

Offline Vanity Evolved

Re: religion and mythology.
« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2012, 11:39:39 AM »
And that's the point; religion is all based on argumentum ad populum.

Why do people believe in Christ and him walking on water, and yet Thor beating down the ice giants in the North with his thundering Mjolnir is relegated to fiction? Because the amount of people who seriously believe in the Aesir is hugely tiny. Not to mention, you don't get a tax cut and respect for being a 'good Viking' in our times. ;D

Offline doodasaurus

Re: religion and mythology.
« Reply #16 on: October 09, 2012, 11:50:34 AM »
I think you've got that pretty wrong, there.

Zoroastrianism, *to this day*, does not seek converts.  It's a religious *crime* to seek converts.  To the extent it spread, it spread because the Persians were successful conquerors and displaced populations.

Hellenistic religion spread because people were introduced to the ideas of the Greeks -- but the Greeks never said, "Worship in this fashion or die."  Additionally, Alexander's Macedonian army was hella pissed off that he allowed non-Greeks -- specifically Persians -- into high station in his army.  Many people started to worship in the Hellenic way because a certain number of the conquered sought to curry favor with their conquerors or because they honestly preferred Greek religion, but there was no coercion, simply improved opportunity to practice the faith.  If anything, Alexander, personally, was sucked into Asian religion.  Like I said, it caused a big problem in the core of his army.

After Alexander, the Seleucids briefly tried to force Greek religion on the Jews, who of course rebelled, but they never managed to touch religion outside of the cities, anyway -- and bear in mind that in those days, ninety percent or more of the population was rural.  And the Seleucid attempts to force their religion on people was a brief aberration to Hellenic religion, which was generally very accepting.  (Just in the same way that Akhenaten's attempts to force religion on the Egyptians were a short lived aberration in Egyptian religion.)

In Egypt, the Ptolomies became "more Egyptian than the Egyptians" and adopted the Egyptian mode of doing pretty much everything.  The rest of the Alexandrian generals ruled in lands that were already Greek and aren't important to the conversation.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2012, 11:56:39 AM by doodasaurus »

Offline Ironwolf85

  • Eletronic Scribe of naughty things.
  • Lord
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: May 2010
  • Location: New England Somewhere I won't tell you
  • Gender: Male
  • Here to have fun, Role play, and maybe get laid
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 0
Re: religion and mythology.
« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2012, 11:54:39 AM »
actually if we are talking sheer volume of violence in the name of faith christanity and islam have nothing on some of the big pagan cults prior to their existance, some of which practiced human sacrifice, not all mind you, but the meso american faiths were incredibly violent and bloody. The Culr of the Warrior is believed to have contriubuted to the distruction of the Mayan empire having developed from ritualistic warfare into slash, burn, and sacrifice tactics.

the diffrence is that christanity and islam have had their bloody history recorded for all to see, and were the first religons to dominate entire contnants, and with a massive, united, flock, came strengh. So that when they went to war they did so with an organization and resource pool that dwarfed their predicessors. It wasn't that it was any more bloody than any other inter-faith brawl, but the scale was much larger.

And that's the point; religion is all based on argumentum ad populum.

Why do people believe in Christ and him walking on water, and yet Thor beating down the ice giants in the North with his thundering Mjolnir is relegated to fiction? Because the amount of people who seriously believe in the Aesir is hugely tiny. Not to mention, you don't get a tax cut and respect for being a 'good Viking' in our times. ;D

Because christanity has a generally coheisive theology and philophy to back up it's doctrine, and genrally believes in doing good deeds, and selfless sacrifice.

Had the vikings had more philophers thinking about the world, and less guys with axes smashing people's faces in, there might be a Aesir church.
Axe smashing and burning villages, while cool, does not get you any brownie points with the people you rob and pillage.

Offline doodasaurus

Re: religion and mythology.
« Reply #18 on: October 09, 2012, 11:57:25 AM »
Just sayin', there is an Aesir church.  The Asatru religion is growing in popularity in Scandinavian countries.  ;)

Offline Vanity Evolved

Re: religion and mythology.
« Reply #19 on: October 09, 2012, 12:03:52 PM »
actually if we are talking sheer volume of violence in the name of faith christanity and islam have nothing on some of the big pagan cults prior to their existance, some of which practiced human sacrifice, not all mind you, but the meso american faiths were incredibly violent and bloody. The Culr of the Warrior is believed to have contriubuted to the distruction of the Mayan empire having developed from ritualistic warfare into slash, burn, and sacrifice tactics.

the diffrence is that christanity and islam have had their bloody history recorded for all to see, and were the first religons to dominate entire contnants, and with a massive, united, flock, came strengh. So that when they went to war they did so with an organization and resource pool that dwarfed their predicessors. It wasn't that it was any more bloody than any other inter-faith brawl, but the scale was much larger.

Because christanity has a generally coheisive theology and philophy to back up it's doctrine, and genrally believes in doing good deeds, and selfless sacrifice.

Had the vikings had more philophers thinking about the world, and less guys with axes smashing people's faces in, there might be a Aesir church.
Axe smashing and burning villages, while cool, does not get you any brownie points with the people you rob and pillage.

I'm sorry, but that's just wrong; the Bible contradicts itself on many points, and is distinctly not moral. The Bible says that killing (not murder - so, it's already pretty vague) is wrong, and then proceeds to go into telling you to kill your family for not embracing Jesus, to stone your wife if you find out she's not a virgin, to stone your neighbour for working on Sundays, to stone a man who has sex with men among other things. The closest I can think to 'good deeds' that the Bible promotes was the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus tells Christians to give up all their stuff, sell it, give it to the poor and let go provide for you.

Where do you think the ideas behind the Aesir came from? It was, surprise surprise, a bunch of guys pondering on what was happening in the world. In their lack of understanding, thunder became a giant man in the sky throwing lightning bolts at ice giants.

And if your arguement is that Viking beliefs were brutal, have a look at the Bible. With it's rules for owning slaves, genocide and mass murder as tools of good and how rape victims should be forced to marry their rapist. ;D

And eh. To me, Asatru is to Norse belief, what Wicca is to Paganism. ;D

Offline doodasaurus

Re: religion and mythology.
« Reply #20 on: October 09, 2012, 12:06:13 PM »
Yo, I'm an atheist.  There's no way I'm gonna get involved in the beef between Asatru and other pagan beliefs. That's for y'all to settle out.  ;D

Offline Vanity Evolved

Re: religion and mythology.
« Reply #21 on: October 09, 2012, 12:10:47 PM »
Hehe, I'm an Atheist too. xD You've got a point that there is a resurging movement towards the Norse ideals.

Offline HurriSbezu

Re: religion and mythology.
« Reply #22 on: October 09, 2012, 12:12:19 PM »
Ooo, neat thread.

Question: Where would a religion like Discordianism fall? Is it excluded from the category of religion due to not being organized?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discordianism

http://www.principiadiscordia.com/

I'm curious, being a Discordian myself. ...and possibly a Derpy Hooves worshiper, but that would just complicate the discussion further than necessary.

Offline doodasaurus

Re: religion and mythology.
« Reply #23 on: October 09, 2012, 12:13:55 PM »
Discordians usually complicate things towards having more fun.  If I had it in me to be religious, I'd probably be Discordian.  Maybe I am and don't know it.

Offline TamhansenTopic starter

Re: religion and mythology.
« Reply #24 on: October 09, 2012, 12:14:36 PM »
Quote
Because christanity has a generally coheisive theology and philophy to back up it's doctrine, and genrally believes in doing good deeds, and selfless sacrifice.

Adam and Eve, adam's second wife btw had two children, Cain and Abel. Cain slew Abel and was forced to wander in the desert alone for eternity.

If Christianity had cohesive theology, that would have been the end of the human race.

Christianity says god would never intentionally harm his people, yet he let's one of his most loyal followers (Job) suffer the most horrible things, because of a bet with the beast (i refuse to call him the devil, because until the Cathar rebellion Christianity did not encompass a devil, or a hell. Merely purgatory. Which is kinda like Detroit on a good day.)

The bible states god is infallible, yet also quotes him as feeling he'd made a mistake with creation, hence the flood. Afterwards, he feels the flood had been an overreaction and promises never to do it again, creating rainbows in the process.

Christianity is not even based on the life or teachings of Jesus Christ. It is based on what the council of Nicea decided which parts they liked from stories written about the guy, most of them by people who weren't actually there.

What Christianity had was a good PR machine, combined with the force of empire backing them up.