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Introduction to Cross-Cultural Psychology

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How is the word myth used popularly? For example, what does the statement, “It’s a myth” mean? In contrast, how is the word myth used in the academic context? After considering the definition in your textbooks and course materials, write a definition in your own words. * * A myth is a popular story or belief that has been told for many years for many different reasons without any real proof of the story. Some of the reasons that the myth is started could be to scare someone into be good or as a teaching means. If someone thinks that Santa Clause will bring them nice present if they are a good person, they will try to be good. If someone thinks that they will go to Hell if they are a bad person, they will try to be a better person. Myths are told in order to explain the unexplainable like why the earth and humans were created and what we are here to accomplish(Leonard & McClure, 2004). Religion has seemed to be one of the longer lasting myths because there are so many different faiths and as many different stories to explain each of them. When a statement is made that “It’s a myth” means that the statement being made is an imaginary story based on little or no factual information to support the statement. *
Why do myths from different cultures around the world address such similar or universal themes? Think about how myths explain the unknown and the tribulations of mankind. * * Myths from dissimilar cultures from around the world deal with the same type of common theme because other cultures are a source of our cultural values and our behavior. We learned from other cultures and developed our intellectual thinking that help us address common questions and develop our own mythological understanding. When we study other cultures and their myths we learn how other cultures live and their beliefs which open our own minds to understand different views of the same subject. When we learn other cultures views and myths, we can better appreciate the difficulties of the some other people. It is human nature to ask to ponder about basically the same questions rather than accept the first response we hear. The human animal want to know why and back in ancient times myths were the answer to the difficult questions that humans ponders. Ancient myths did not have the benefit of science to prove or disprove the beliefs and myths. *
What is the relationship between belief, knowledge, mythology, and religion? Where do mythology and religion intersect? Where do they diverge? Think about the function of myth and religion in helping human beings cope with change, suffering, loss, and death. * * The relationship between belief, knowledge, mythology, and religion share some of the same characteristics. Religion is a belief in a god based on mythology with very limited knowledge of an actual god or supernatural being. Myths were started in religion to keep the believers scared of what would happen to them if they stopped believing and obeying the rules of their chosen religion. Religion and myths are considered to be an important part of many cultures but do not explain how things came to be in the world. The first book in the bible, the Book of Genesis”, is a myth along with other biblical stories that are also considered to be myths because they do not explain how event from the bible came to be in their current form (Leonard & McClure, 2004). When a person thinks about the reason and their function in the world and what happens to them when they die, having a belief in a religion and the thought of an afterlife helps some people cope with the thought of their death or the loss of a loved one. * * How would you defend mythology’s relevance in contemporary culture? Think about familial and cultural traditions. Also, consider how mythology is used in the arts and in advertising to typify human experience. * * Mythology has had a widespread influence on our modern culture from the many different mythological paintings, poetry, statues and literature in today’s society. Botticelli painted one of the world’s most famous paintings called The Birth of Venus which is a total myth but the painting is still one of the world’s most recognizable painting today. Michelangelo’s painting of the ceiling of the Sistine chapel is one of his most famous paintings along with his statue of David and others. Greek mythology has inspired poets and artist who have discovered modern significance from the mythological theme. Before all of modern communication devises, individuals would document what was going on in their world through the telling of stories that after time would start to sound like myths. This was an important part of the individual’s culture and tradition of embellishing the stories to help explain the culture and religion along with the history and heroes of the society(Leonard & McClure, 2004). * * *
Reference:
Leonard, S., & McClure, M. (2004). Myth & knowing: An introduction to world mythology. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. *

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