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Author Topic: Mythology vs Science  (Read 4551 times)
lokiragnaroklover
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« Topic Start: August 28, 2010, 10:45:07 pm »

Question here....

If Haiti and Skul chase the moon and sun in Norse Mythology and that the one eats the sun in a lunar eclipse, and people would bang on pans to get the wolf to spit it out... if that is applied to Paganism today...how does that work? I mean, since we know why the sun or moon is covered, then how can we say Haiti/Skul just ate the moon/sun?

I am confused as to how to apply all the reasons there are in mythology for things that happen, when we know the way things were actually done- science, evolution- and everything...anyhow, please help me understand.

Thank you!
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« Reply #1: August 28, 2010, 10:52:57 pm »

Question here....

If Haiti and Skul chase the moon and sun in Norse Mythology and that the one eats the sun in a lunar eclipse, and people would bang on pans to get the wolf to spit it out... if that is applied to Paganism today...how does that work? I mean, since we know why the sun or moon is covered, then how can we say Haiti/Skul just ate the moon/sun?

I am confused as to how to apply all the reasons there are in mythology for things that happen, when we know the way things were actually done- science, evolution- and everything...anyhow, please help me understand.

Thank you!

I personally don't take the myths as being how the world works.  Some of them (such as the Skul and Haiti example you mentioned) were just ways the ancients tried to make since of natural phenomena they couldn't explain via science.  I like to think of the myths as explaining the nature of the gods and their relationship with mortals but not as literal fact.
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« Reply #2: August 29, 2010, 12:00:30 am »

I personally don't take the myths as being how the world works.  Some of them (such as the Skul and Haiti example you mentioned) were just ways the ancients tried to make since of natural phenomena they couldn't explain via science.  I like to think of the myths as explaining the nature of the gods and their relationship with mortals but not as literal fact.

Agreed. Taking them literally - like taking any other body of religious work literally - can actually be dangerous, or at the very least troublesome.
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« Reply #3: August 29, 2010, 12:18:48 am »

Question here....

If Haiti and Skul chase the moon and sun in Norse Mythology and that the one eats the sun in a lunar eclipse, and people would bang on pans to get the wolf to spit it out... if that is applied to Paganism today...how does that work? I mean, since we know why the sun or moon is covered, then how can we say Haiti/Skul just ate the moon/sun?

I am confused as to how to apply all the reasons there are in mythology for things that happen, when we know the way things were actually done- science, evolution- and everything...anyhow, please help me understand.

Thank you!

Mythos is not logos; and each explains the world in considerably different ways. In a rudimentary way, science explains how the world works; myth why it works. Myth is not always something relegated to speaking about religious issues or the beliefs of ancient cultures (though many have limited it to such); rather it is one of a number of filters to impart meaning onto human experience.
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« Reply #4: August 29, 2010, 05:20:31 am »

Question here....

If Haiti and Skul chase the moon and sun in Norse Mythology and that the one eats the sun in a lunar eclipse, and people would bang on pans to get the wolf to spit it out... if that is applied to Paganism today...how does that work? I mean, since we know why the sun or moon is covered, then how can we say Haiti/Skul just ate the moon/sun?

I am confused as to how to apply all the reasons there are in mythology for things that happen, when we know the way things were actually done- science, evolution- and everything...anyhow, please help me understand.

Thank you!

What other people have already said. I would add the comment though that I don't think that being able to explain things through science also explains away the possibility of truth to mythology. Yeah, we know how, for example, thunder and lightning is produced...that doesn't mean that Zeus and Thor aren't still behind those forces.
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« Reply #5: August 29, 2010, 08:16:27 am »

I am confused as to how to apply all the reasons there are in mythology for things that happen, when we know the way things were actually done- science, evolution- and everything...anyhow, please help me understand.

There are different types of truth. Science, for example, explains how the universe works. Religious myths explain how the Gods relate to each other, to the world, and to us. While myths are seldom literally true, they can still contain truth about the Gods and our relationship with them and the universe. While the myth about Haiti/Skul may not be literally true in a physical sense (how eclipses work), it can still say a lot about how the Gods work.
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« Reply #6: August 29, 2010, 08:51:22 am »

I second what others have already said in a similar tone, for me myths tell us about the spirit behind things. But I'd like to add that for me this sacred spirit telling isn't necessarily prescribing the truth on the spirit level either. For me those are 'just' stories which try to express things in a different way than scientific language and they also express things you can't express in scientific language.

But for me the truth of stories doesn't equate the truth of scientific truth just on a spiritual level. I see stories more as some kind of hypothesis about spiritual things. They are all flavoured by the perspective of the storyteller.

They are true when they touch the truth of the storyteller, the person who listens and the spirit of the kosmos, but I don't think all myths give a hundred percent accurate picture about deities and spirit forces of nature either.

They are try-to-be-explanations in a spiritual dimension, some more or less accurate to the actual powers than others...
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« Reply #7: August 29, 2010, 05:23:51 pm »

I second what others have already said in a similar tone, for me myths tell us about the spirit behind things. But I'd like to add that for me this sacred spirit telling isn't necessarily prescribing the truth on the spirit level either. For me those are 'just' stories which try to express things in a different way than scientific language and they also express things you can't express in scientific language.

But for me the truth of stories doesn't equate the truth of scientific truth just on a spiritual level. I see stories more as some kind of hypothesis about spiritual things. They are all flavoured by the perspective of the storyteller.

They are true when they touch the truth of the storyteller, the person who listens and the spirit of the kosmos, but I don't think all myths give a hundred percent accurate picture about deities and spirit forces of nature either.

They are try-to-be-explanations in a spiritual dimension, some more or less accurate to the actual powers than others...

I agree with this, as well as what others have said.

I remember when I was first becoming open to the idea of polytheism, this was an issue that felt really confusing to me. I was asking, "Wait, do you believe that that god is LITERALLY holding up the sky?" and there was some discussion then about what "literal" means when you're talking about myths and Truths. Working through questions like the ones you have about myths vs science is probably a very common process for modern pagans.
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« Reply #8: August 29, 2010, 07:19:13 pm »

I like to think of the myths as explaining the nature of the gods and their relationship with mortals but not as literal fact.

Okay, I kind of have more of a grasp on the concept now. I had that feeling it was something like that, the myths are how the Gods relate, but I was still curious to see what others thought. Thank you all so much!  Cheesy
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« Reply #9: August 30, 2010, 11:30:02 pm »

Mythos is not logos; and each explains the world in considerably different ways. In a rudimentary way, science explains how the world works; myth why it works. Myth is not always something relegated to speaking about religious issues or the beliefs of ancient cultures (though many have limited it to such); rather it is one of a number of filters to impart meaning onto human experience.

I really, really like this answer. Pretty much exactly explains how I view myth.
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