Religion vs Mythology



Religion in its purest form is mythology. In this sense, mythology is not a lie or something false. Rather it is a symbol or an image through which a fundamental, psychological truth is expressed. Ordinary and plain language cannot speak it. Religion, as we generally know it, deals with facts while mythology deals with truth. A fact is static, one-dimensional and informational. It belongs to the past and is in a certain sense dead. A truth is always current, dynamic, personal, multi-dimensional, alive and often paradoxical. A truth is not based on information but on experience. For this reason, truth always is expressed through a symbol or image. But individuals may have different experiences of the truth and therein lies the key to mythology.

For the orthodox believing Christian, the life of Jesus on this planet is factual. It had a beginning and an end. We are told that he was born around 4 BC, more or less, was crucified on a cross in 32 AD, died and was eventually resurrected and taken up to heaven. A mythological reading of the story of Jesus reveals his life as an ever-present experiential reality, alive and well in every human being. It is a pattern or structure which makes up the human psyche or the basic pattern underlying all of humanity. If we can recognize and connect with that pattern in our own lives, then we will have really understood the meaning and message of Jesus. That understanding has the potential to transform our lives by consciously enjoining us to the commonality in all human experience, including joy, suffering and sorrow. Faith and belief in the traditional sense have no place in mythology. We can come to discover and live the pattern that is already within each one of us. Mythology reflects that experience through symbolic imagery and metaphors. However, mythology will never give us a recipe or a specific path to that experience. It never deals with facts, judgments or admonitions.

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