English 9 Sem. (8)
25 January 2013
Religion and Myth Explain the Unknown With Out Proof
Stephen Vincent Benet’s “By the Waters of Babylon” seems like an apocalyptic warning on the surface, but; “[t]hough Benet doesn’t say it, isn’t it obvious corollary that the Bible and various sacred scriptures were written by men, not gods?” (Johnson 18). After the Great Burning, a tribe was established in the west. Known as the Place of the Gods, going to the east, is off limits if not a priest or the son of a priest. The tribe was led to believe the east was home to many evils, because of the myths and religion they were taught. John, the son of a priest, traveled to the east and learned that it is not the place of the gods, but simply the place of man. Priests passed on their religion to explain why the east was off limits to the people. Religion and myths gave the tribe an explanation for the unknown, although the knowledge to prove it was lacking. The Priests passed on the idea that the east is evil and must be forbidden. They taught that; “[i]t is there where that the spirits live, and demons – it is there that there are the ashes of the great burning” (Benet 25) They created rules such as; “[i]t is forbidden to go to any of the Dead Places except to search or metal, and then he who touches the metal must be a priest or the son of a priest” (Benet 25). Although; “Far to the East lies the great river and past the river is the place of the Gods, which is off limits to everyone – including priest” (“By The Waters of Babylon” 1) All these lies about the unknown make the tribe fear the east, although none of the people know the truth besides the priests.
“Theologians and Church officials have reinterpreted the details of the revelation, emphasizing different ideas at different times, usually to respond to changing political, cultural, and moral circumstances”( Johnson 14) What John Sees for himself
When John goes on his journey he learns...