On Myths and Facts

There is a confusion among many that myths and facts are opposites that are opposed to one another when they are in actuality conceptual cohorts that deal with different aspects of our reality.

Myths are not lies or untruths, but imaginative ways of making sense of the part of our reality that provides us with meaning, purpose, and fulfillment in our lives. Unlike facts, they do not describe reality, but suggest it — and not for the goal of discovering “what” exists, but rather for answering “why” things are as they are.

Myths, for this reason, are much more powerful and life-enhancing than facts. Facts simply tell us what exists, and not the reality of our experience in dealing with what exists.

Those who in religious matters focus on facts reveal they have little faith, and their faith is contingent upon whether something happened rather than what meanings can be discerned for our lives.

Preoccupation with facts turns people into literalists rather than those who use their mytho-poetic imaginations to understand the greater complexity of sacred passages and their suggestive power to help us create meaning and purpose to our lives.

Unfortunately, both fundamentalists and those who don’t see that science and religion are not competing for truth but are complementary tend to be literalists who miss the entire point and reality of faith.

Faith and facts deal with differing realms of our reality. To think otherwise is to make a category mistake — one which diminishes both the depth and breadth of human life, and limits our understanding to the impoverishment that we refer to as narrow-mindedness.

— Rev. Bret S. Myers, 3/22/2019

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