Religion and Myth

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A biblical myth is defined by Burrows, (1946) as a symbolic, approximate expression of truth which the human mind cannot perceive sharply and completely, but can only glimpse vaguely, and therefore cannot adequately express. In bibilical interpretation a myth is a story which communicates a set of values or beliefs through imagery. The most important thing in the myth is the message and not the literal truth of the imagery.

. Good examples in the bible include: Jonah and the Whale Noah’s Ark The resurrection of Jesus There are three senses in which the word ‘myth’ could be applied to religious texts and religious statements:

-The myth could be a method of interpreting ‘ultimate reality’, as described by Tillich. So myths have symbolic meaning in the sense that they open up new levels of reality, or, as Randall argues, their purpose is to bind communities together and urge us into action.

The first advantage of using religious myth as a way of conveying religious truth is that it opens up a lot of boundaries between religion and science that are thus unbridgeable. Biblical stories, for example, might seem strange or absurd to the scientifically-minded modern believer, however, if they read the bible as a powerful piece of literature, which, although may not necessarily be absolutely true, they can still appreciate it as an excellent source of spiritual and moral guidance. This means that the Bible/Torah/Qur’an can all be read and understood by those who believe in them fundamentally, and those that believe them to be less absolute truth and more interpreted truth. This, in effect, opens up the message of the Bible as morally true if not literally true to a massive number of extra people who are more analytically minded and skeptical, and as such is a effective way of conveying religious ‘truth’.

Another advantage of not taking a literal view of religious language is that many Biblical claims can be shown to be false on the basis of scientific...
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