“In many cultures, creation myths form only the first part of an extended mythological tradition which recounts social and cultural as well as natural foundations of present reality.”
–Barbara C. Sproul
Our history is deep and rich beyond anything we can concieve. As single individuals, with only one life to live, we are at a disadvantage. How can we grasp the enormity of something that has taken thousands upon thousands of generations and innumerable lives lived? Each culture has some tradition, whether written or oral, that reflects back the lessons that where learned or the information that was garnered through the passing of time. This is especially evident in the context of organized religion.
The study of comparative religion is a complex web of interconnected traditions and texts. It does not take much to uncover the parallels that seem to transcend all boundaries. Today we have the Abrahamic religions; Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, all of West Asian origins and at the center of the worlds political stage. We have the East Asian religions which are a subset of Eastern religions like Confucianism, Shinto, Taoism, and Mahayana Buddhism. Traditional Indian religions such as Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism all have there place as well.
Let’s not forget the Vedic religion, a precursor to many of the worlds belief structures. Also known as Vedism, the tradition relied on the verbal recitation of hymns that where orally taught. The four Vedas, from which the hymnals are found, where written entirely in sanskrit- a language that dates back 3500 to 4500 years.
We have a very deep and profound history. Our minds seem to seek answers relentlessly. An evolutionary improvement perhaps? Questions like; What are we here for? Where did we come from? Who am I? What does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be a member of this society? These are all relevant and necessary questions for us to reason our way through the complicated process of problem solving that marks our very existence. We must ask and answer- think and do- it is our way. Mythology is the sturdy foundation from which we conceptually begin to build and understand our present reality. It is the groundwork, the cornerstone, the rock.
It can be likened to a fertile layer of soil atop the ground. The potential energy contained within mythology is unparalleled. A reserve of power. That is precisely why throughout time some of the most vile offenses have been carried out in the name of belief. As the saying goes; “Power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely.”.
What a temptation for the megalomaniac who thirsts for power these reserves must be! Unfortunately, our minds seeking answers are always receptive to new solutions- and the clever perversions of evil men are designed to give us the answers we seek. Many times these reserves of power have been hijacked through clever manipulation to obtain selfish goals. This is a tragedy each and every time it occurs. Wrongful action causes us to suffer, even if it is the final result of trickery and manipulation.
This is precisely why we need to respect and understand the beliefs of others. Whether we are talking about religion or culture we must choose to draw parallels not boundaries. It is in these similarities that we start to see the immutable truths that are hidden in plain sight. Those who commit evil in the name of a certain belief or ideology, that condemns such action, have not done so because of the belief or ideology, but because they where convinced to do so. Sometimes by another, sometimes by their own ego. Either way, it is not inherently caused by the beliefs but by the corruptions placed there. We live in a world where corruption and power have become synonymous.
The empathetic nature of our species and the love we feel for one another is a truth that cannot be hidden. No matter the depth and intricacies of the arcane knowledge that is beyond our grasp- we have this basic and immutable truth to guide us. It boils down to one thing; are you about the elevation and love of life or the destruction and hate of it? We can and must dictate the way we think and feel with this most elemental truth. If we do I suspect that trickery and manipulation will not find its mark as frequently!!
“The truths contained in religious doctrines are after all so distorted and systematically disguised, that the mass of humanity cannot recognize them as truth. The case is similar to what happens when we tell a child that newborn babies are brought by the stork. Here, too, we are telling the truth in symbolic clothing, for we know what the large bird signifies. But the child does not know it. He hears only the distorted part of what we say, and feels that he has been decieved; and we know how often his distrust of the grown-ups and his refractoriness actually take their start from this impression. We have become convinced that it is better to avoid such symbolic disguisings of the truth in what we tell children and not to withhold from them a knowledge of the true state of affairs commensurate with their intellectual level.” –Sigmund Freud
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