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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Opinion vs Fact, Myth vs Reality

Today on television, books, schools, and churches we hear people speaking their opinions as if they were facts - not recognizing the twist of interpretation, they speak as if everyone would see it "that" way. Yet, there are many ways of looking at everything, and the more ways we look, the fuller the picture we get. But, as finite beings, we cannot ever reach the place of 100% knowing of anything, for there is yet another way to look at whatever it is. We can approach fact in science or mathematics, but we cannot all agree on what "it" means.

We can, for example, look at a lump of coal. What does it mean? What is it? Is it something waiting to become a diamond? Is it something to put in Christmas stockings of misbehaving children? Is it a way to warm a home or power a factory? Is it evil pollution? Does it tell the story of its history as it was formed eons ago? Is it something to be used or not? Where did it come from and why was it formed? Are we glad we found it or do we rue the day someone began to burn it? etc etc etc.

What are the facts? And then, I must ask - why are myths mistaken for facts?

My favorite definition of myth came to me from Joseph Campbell - Myth is something that never happened but is always going on. 

The situation with facts and opinions and myths and Reality is that our cultures are facing paradigm shifts because there has been a collision beginning with Galileo, Newton and Darwin. The old myths that had been mistaken as reality or Reality are now disproven as fact, as literal. The earth is not the center of everything. The earth does not stand still. The Infinite does not suspend the laws of nature. We are closer to the other mammals than we want to think. The Universes are so vast that they are unknowable, and on and on.

So we face a dilemma. Do we throw out religion, or do we look more deeply at the myths for their meanings? I have come to believe that the richness of myth is far more mysterious and marvelous than if these myths were actually Reality. We are alive in the exciting time of huge paradigm shift and can be part of the opening of the depths of the myths that have guided humankind for so many centuries back into the clouded time before history was recorded.

I have a suggestion. Pick your favorite religious myth that was once thought to be fact. Contemplate what meaning it has that can speak across time and culture to guide us into a closer walk with the Infinite One. Journal on it. Mull it around. Mine it. Go beyond what you have ever thought before. Let the infiniteness of God reveal Itself to you. Be a pioneer and fall in love with the new land to which you are led.

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