Down a bit on this blog, I’ve been interacting with an ECMmer regarding Chris Elrod’s recent series of blogposts. Said ECM individual mentioned that Chris’ writings were entertaining but confused the important issue of the “pre-easter jesus” and the “post-easter jesus” – the PreEJ being the historical Jesus, and the PostEJ being the mythical Jesus.

Among the other things that ECM Mike stated, was this:

It appears that the real core of our disagreement can be traced to a different understanding of the word “myth”.

I’m using the word to mean a story which reveals a truth, but is told through grand symbolic language rather than simply transmitting historical facts. Myth is not a synonym for false. All myths have some history and/or truth behind them and their symbolism brings that truth to life.

This is something I’ve heard more and more from the (liberal wing of the) Emerging/Emergent Church Movement – the idea of “true myth.”

Here’s my question: If the Gospels (and the rest of the Bible – say, Genesis, for example…) are to be regarded as mythical, and that myth is now “not really true but really true in a real sense that has truth but isn’t really true unless you have the super-secret decoder ring…” How is that any different from, say, the claims of Asatru?

Compare ECM Mike’s quote on myth to Asatru’s explanation of myth.

First, ECM Mike’s quote on myth:

I’m using the word to mean a story which reveals a truth, but is told through grand symbolic language rather than simply transmitting historical facts. Myth is not a synonym for false. All myths have some history and/or truth behind them and their symbolism brings that truth to life.

Now, Asatru’s quote on myth:

The myths are stories about the Gods and Goddesses of Asatru. We believe they are ways of stating spiritual truths. That is, we would say they contain truths about the nature of divinity, our own nature, and the relationship between the two. We do not contend that the myths are literally true, as history. Rather, myth can be thought of as “the dream of the race” or “that which never happened, but is always true.”

What is the real, substantive difference? If the Bible is only myth (even “true myth”) then why is it any better than Asatru’s Poetic and Prose Edda? Why is it any better a guide than the Sri Guru Granth Sahib of Sikhism? Or the Upanishads?

If the Bible (whether the whole thing, or the Gospels, or Genesis) is merely myth (even “true myth”) then what possible reason is there to believe that Jesus is God and therefore your only Savior – why is that position any better than the Astatruar’s devotion to the Aesir and Vanir?

Guys: IDEAS HAVE CONSEQUENCE.

I have to get ready for tentmaking. More later.

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