Measured Against Reality

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Stories

Myths are funny things. They’re just stories. The culture they came from might think they’re true, but they’re still just stories. Everyone has their stories. One of the things that makes humans human is telling and retelling stories.

Take, for instance, flood stories. Pretty much every culture has one, as that link shows. Some people take this as evidence of some kind of global flood. The much more likely conclusion is that people nearly always live near a water source, water sources frequently flood (especially given a period of hundreds of years), then these floods get turned into stories and exaggerated. Some very dedicated apologetics try to find “evidence” for a “great flood”, and maybe there was one. Maybe the Red Sea was a canyon separated from the Mediterranean until a big earthquake, maybe not. It doesn’t matter, because the myths are still fictionalized stories.

Reading Mythology literally is like reading Stephen King or Douglas Adams or Homer literally. It never occurs to anyone that mythology is fiction; it’s fiction, whether you want it to be or not. Besides, no one believes that Athena was birthed from Zeus’s skull, so why an equally ridiculous virgin birth (or any other myth)?

I suppose people just need to believe in bigger things, whether it’s God or Jesus or Atlantis or Zenu. Personally, I find the universe to be plenty big and inspiring, and it doesn’t need any help from our stories. Maybe one day the rest of the world will see that. Unfortunately, I think they’ll keep their preposterous myths.

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