Yep, yep here we go again. Part three to the topic of Belief and Being."
Postmodern spirituality, whatever that really is, must have a Joseph Campbell mythic touch. As Campbell might have told us myth is more important than truth. Personally I do not buy that line, but on the other hand I do not fully reject the importance of myth.
Tolkien has changed my life with myth for the better. To a lesser degree Lewis - strangely even Adams, and Herbert. Almost as powerfully as Tolkien, ancient tales whose original tellers have long been forgotten have moved me through the Mabinogion - myths on one hand thought to be Pagan, and on the other hand thought to be Christian in origin.
The power of these fables is not in true stories told, but in truths being delivered through tales of heros and villians, and of monsters and faeries. Something in the myth stirs the human heart to deeds beyond itself, and moves us to issues of greater value than the span of our life. Average people take on mythic heroism in the shadow of the stories which captivate their hearts.
Myth speaks to our existence, and calls us to be something greater. It awakens us into a fullness of life by causing us to believe that romance has not died.
This is the power of myth found in our childhood stories, and it is the power of myth in ancient Pagan spirituality. Gods and goddesses whose stories are now only partially remembered become hunters and huntresses, virgins and mothers, protectors and healers for the struggles experienced in everyday life. Their stories become a sourcebook of guidance for today's Neo-Pagan.
Comparatively, as Christians we read our Book as a book of true stories, and we often invest our energy in defending its historical veracity. I will never set aside this foundational element of my faith in God - I believe that he interacted with humanity in real events through human history, and many of those events are retold in the pages of my Bible. Yet I have to ask myself "who has the more living faith?": The person who allows a myth to direct their life as a child is enamored and captivated by the fables told at bedtime, and goes on to try and recreate them at playtime, or the intellectual historian who defends the stories of scripture like the accountant who keeps someone else's books?
Somewhere in between these things - or maybe better yet - somehow holding radically to both these positions, I can discover a Belief of Being. In defending my historic faith, and in discovering the power of its tales (like myth) to inform my daily life I find a present reality, and a living faith.
Is this where I discover the meeting place of belief and being?