MYTH and LOGIC

BY: JAN A. ANTONSSON

OCTOBER 9, 2015

 

Holy-holy

The Glory Road Blog, A Kingdom Highway

 

“Because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Rom. 10:9, RSV)

 

Probably every Christian understands that he or she must find a way to believe the verse just quoted.  Non-Christians, like Hindus and Buddhists also have something they must believe before they can practice their religion. Even atheists and agnostics have something they profess to believe in, i.e., their non belief of God. The famed 12 step programs practiced by those attempting to shed their substance abuse and other addictions have reduced the object of one’s belief to its lowest common denominator and merely call it, “the Higher Power.”  AA’s Big Book declares, “Anything you believe in can become the higher power for you, even just sitting underneath an oak tree can be your higher power.”  

 

That thought struck me as  ridiculous when I first read it, until I remembered the verse in Proverbs 23:7, “As a man believeth in his heart, so is he.”  What we believe becomes a powerful teacher/guide/beacon in our lives to take us from where we came from to where we want to go, or I should say, to where God wants us to go.  I am NOT equating sitting under an oak tree to Almighty God, by the way, merely commenting on the inherent power of our beliefs.

 

My thanks to Fr. Richard Rohr’s latest meditations for amending my previously held thought that the term “myth” always refers to something false, like a fairy tale or heroes who are stronger than a locomotive, faster than a speeding bullet, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.  The dictionary definition of myth is:  “A traditional, typically ancient story dealing with supernatural beings, ancestors, or heroes that serve as a fundamental type in the worldview of a people, as by explaining aspects of the natural world or delineating the psychology, customs, or ideals of society.”  The third and forth definitions given are “A fiction or half-truth, especially one that forms part of an ideology,” and “A fictitious story, person, or thing.”

 

What I’m pondering today is the importance of the first definition, ie., the importance of myth in our lives, as opposed to mere logic.  The East embraces mythology and mysticism, whereas the West has gravitated toward logic, analysis, and scientific proof.  Lenny and I had a Real Estate client back in the day who was a dear old man, a retired math professor and a Presbyterian, as I recall.  We got to be friends with him while helping him sell a property.  One day something was reported on the news about the search for Noah’s ark, and he confessed to us rather ruefully, “Unless they find the ark, I cannot believe the story in Genesis.”  My heart went out to him because logic, analysis, and scientific proof is very scarce for the Old Testament stories found especially in the first five books of the Bible.

 

Do you believe in God and the resurrection of the Lamb?  It’s very important that you do, according to Paul, because your salvation depends upon it.  It’s easy to confess that you do, but if you do, why do you?  I’m not trying to be a trouble maker here, but only to make the point that so many of the things most of us believe, the stories of miracles and angels, and God’s intervention in the lives of men and women, which are so dear to us, cannot be proven.  There was no CNN reporter at the foot of the cross documenting the cruel execution of an innocent man, nor at the tomb to record the glorious resurrection of the Son of God.

 

In fact, you cannot prove the existence of God.  He cannot be observed, quantified, dissected, probed, or proven in any manner valued by true scientists.  A scientist friend used to say, “Most Christians don’t know anything about science.”  My rebuttal was, “Yes, but most scientists don’t know anything about the Bible.”

 

Someone sent me an e-mail, which I shared with a few, about NASA’s looking back in time and discovering that there was a day and 20 minutes missing in the provable record.  They were stumped until a believer told them about Joshua’s battle with the 5 kings.  The Israelites were winning, but the sun was about to go down, meaning all would be plunged into darkness and the enemy would surely get away.  Here’s the text found in Joshua 10:12-14: “Then spoke Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD gave the Amorites over to the men of Israel; and he said in the sight of Israel, “Sun, stand thou still at Gibeon, and thou Moon in the valley of Aijalon.” And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stayed in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. There has been no day like it before or since, when the LORD hearkened to the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel.”

 

That accounts for 1 day and the additional lost 20 minutes happened when Elijah prayed the shadow on the sun dial would go back 20 minutes to convince King Hezekiah that God really was going to allow him to live an additional fifteen years (II Kings 20:6, 8-11).  NASA’s research provides unusual and exciting information not available about most of the miracles in the Bible, including even the Exodus.  A good friend sent me a video regarding the effort to prove the Exodus actually happened, because unbeknownst to me, even some Rabbis do not believe it was an actual event, but merely a mythological story to build faith.  How faith can be built on a false story is beyond me, but there are many who do not believe that the Israelites were delivered by God from their captivity in Egypt. What a loss that is.

 

Do you believe the thrilling descriptions of Almighty God found in scripture?  If so, why do you believe them? I suggest it is because the Spirit uses the unprovable events in the Bible to reveal the Father’s heart to us.

 

My blessed parents brought me up to believe in every word of the Bible, which was easy, because I began reading it when I was a child.  The reason Jesus called us to become like little children in order to enter the kingdom, was, I believe, because children don’t need logic and scientific proof to believe something.  They believe a story to be true because they have faith in the person or the book telling it.  When your children are afraid there are monsters under the bed, do you patiently explain that there are no such thing as monsters, or do you tell them that the Lord is the hero who will protect them from monsters and things which go bump in the night?  They believe in you until they can believe in the Lord.

 

We all need heroes to believe in.  As a child, I thrilled at the courage of young David, as he stood against the giant Goliath, who had said that he would feed the flesh of David to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field.  “Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin; but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down, and cut off your head; and I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’s and he will give you into our hand. (I Sam. 17:24-47, RSV)

 

As a child, I didn’t need proof that this actually happened, or that any of the other miracles happened either.  God used the truth of His personal involvement with the children of Israel to lift me out of myself and opened my eyes to see into the realm of Spirit, where the Lord God Almighty always defended His children, always protected them, and always loved them.  Those early years of soaring in the spiritual mythos of the Bible are with me still.  My blood rushes faster when I read of His love and deliverance, and some of the stories still bring tears to my eyes.  These stories of God’s love, protection and deliverance of Israel sustain me yet today, for now that Lenny is no longer here physically, I depend upon my Father, my Abba, my Champion to lead and guide me and keep me safe and whole.  He who was, and is, and is to come has never failed to do that even in the smallest things.  Big miracles make the evening news (sometimes), but it is the tiny ones which show me His care and His ever constant presence in my life.

 

In considering the effect of myth on our spiritual growth as opposed to logic, I remembered the verse found in Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.”  In other words, logic helps us in many ways everyday.  We know we can’t begin a long drive with no fuel in the tank, and we know that if we’re not careful with fire, we could damage ourselves or others, but logic will only take us so far.  It will perhaps help us if we’re still slogging around Mount Sinai trying to live by law, but it will not help us get to Mount Zion. We can only make that journey by the uplifting of the Holy Spirit, given us by God for just such a journey and for living in perilous times like these.

 

By the Spirit, we have “come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all.  (Heb. 12:22-24, RSV)

 

Father, You are precious beyond words and Your love and care are the reason the world still stands.  You bring order out of chaos, good out of the worst evil; You are the light which shines brighter than the evil deeds committed by evil people which constantly clamor for our attention.  Your love is eternal, everlasting, all encompassing, and perfect.  We join our voices with the great multitude, with the voice of many waters, and with the voice of mighty thunderings, we say, “Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”  So say we all, Amen.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MYTH and LOGIC [Jan A. Antonsson] 10-09-15          3

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