Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Propensity for Myth on Roasted Religion-INTRO

OK--after many long weeks, here is the post I have been promising--or at least the first part of it.

I have noticed how fascinated the religious right/evangelicals/fundamentalists (hereafter, for brevity's sake I will just call Fundys) are with myth.

Before I start proving this through MANY examples, i want to kind of work backwards and explain why I think the fascination exists.

I think because fundys are so anti-myth and mystical tradition; and in many cases have cut the mystery, culture and "flavor" from their religious traditions. Fundys are very concerned about being pure. Pure in heart and mind and spirit and pure in practice as well. This is noble and inspirational. However, they, like the Pharisees of old have gotten a little bit off track and the idea of purging myths has given way to increased restrictions and adherence to "man's law".

Fundy religion has evolved over the years, especially recently. they have earned a high degree of success both culturally, monetarily and politically. But the roots of Fundy religion, from what I can ascertain, almost universally began among the less educated populations of people. I am not saying that makes the religion ignorant nor the followers--just hang with me, I am making a sociological argument. Because the traditions and rituals and philosophy and beliefs of most Fundy denominations (and non-denominations) have roots among the less educated--some emphasises and teachings come from that mindset and the associated conclusions.

Roman Catholicism, with its pomp and mystery were "bad", they took away from G-d, they worshiped Mary. AND G-d must want us to live according to the New Testament--The Bible is G-d's word and therefore must be read literally--if the Bible says it, then that is the way it is--anything not understood at this point is either swept under the rug or over explained. These are not a problem individually, but when you put them all together, add the religious power-trip that leaders naturally seem to fall into, add the money and power temptations, and then time to let it all ripen and really concentrate.

What evolved was all these above beliefs in extreme. Even in my lifetime and the increased political power, I have seen the increase in the concentration of some of these beliefs. For example, I was raised that evolution was OK to be taught in school; and most of my church friends felt the same way--you had to put up with it--believe differently because the bible (Sunday school teacher or pastor) said so--but there was not a lot of complaining about evolution--and remember I went to a very small, southern conservative rural high school. NOW, pastors preach not just Creationism, but AGAINST evolution. Parents are encouraged to challenge, fight and protest--or better yet, pull your kids out and put them in the church school or home school them. (I am sure I'll get around to doing a post on this one day) See, that is just an example of the change in the past 20 or so years, and the biggest national change has been increased power and influence through the political process. Well take that same "ripening" effect and spread it out over the past 100+ years. The older religion gets the more outside credibility it gets, the more credibility it gets the more sure its adherents are that their religion is RIGHT. Look at the difference Mormonism is treated now versus 25-30 years (or more) ago. While it still may have been an issue for some that Romney was Mormon, many evangelicals--especially near the end--decided he was closer to them than the other candidates.
So the point I am making is this:
Fundy denominations have ripened and become more "hardened", sure and extreme in there adherence to their original set of beliefs.

Part of that was anti-mystery/anti-myth. In that vacuum (as with any vacuum--EX: tell a kid not to do something, and likely or not that is what they'll try and do first) along with a deeply primordial human need for myth, mystical, mystery and just plain "storytelling"--and you get a group of people who abstain from religious myth/mysteries but subconsciously and sociologically have a need and have developed other myths to fulfill that need.

More on these myths later . . .

To go to The Propensity for Myth, Part I, click here
To return the main page of Roasted Religion, click here

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