My daughter is in 8th grade and is learning about mythology. Of course, that is really the gods and stories of ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt.
I remember when I learned about that stuff when I was her age.
On my library shelf still is the classic textbook I used in high school -Edith Hamilton’s Mythology!!
When people think of mythology, most people think of “stories that really aren’t really true but contain some wisdom/truth/insight’, etc.
I think we need to be a little careful with that definition– that one person’s mythology is another person’s truth. For some people might really believe those stories to be true as a matter of their faith.
I personally have met people who worship Thor, Zeus, etc. (I always wonder how they feel about the Marvel super hero movies with Thor and Odin in them!) To them, aren’t the stories about Thor and Loki true?
Then it struck me.
When we use the term mythology aren’t we really referring to someone else’s religion?
After all, there are members of the pagan community who worship the gods of Rome and Greek religion as sincerely as Christians worship Christ or Muslims worship Allah. Conversely, to non-Christians the stories of Christ (and Christ himself) could be a myth. To them, isn’t the virgin birth just part of the Christian mythology? To many Christians that was a real event that is the heart of their faith.
What is myth vs. religion? It is all a matter of perspective, is it not?
Can we even use the term mythology without being condescending to the faith from where that mythology originates?
Should these classes be renamed to “study of ancient religions?” At which point these courses would no longer be held since you can’t teach religion in public schools!!
Yikes! I feel like I am opening a Pandora box on this. Surely, I can’t be the only person who has thought about this subject as it is taught in our schools and in our society.
How would you feel if your religion was being taught as mythology in school? Would you be okay with that?
If not, then are we really doing the right thing by continuing to call the stories of ancient Greek and Roman religions as mythology?