B) Religious language as non-cognitive and mythical


Complex form of mythical language

  • Peter Vardy (in 'religious language & virtue ethics') observed that the same ideas and values are communicated in myths from all different cultures
  • Myths preserve and hand on the cultural identity of a group, in story form
  • Myths are retellable and easier to communicate (than, perhaps, a philosophical theory)
  • Myths communicate the identity, experience and values of a community; they are not concerned with the literal truth of the story
  • Religious myths may point to or reveal something about God (like symbols do)
  • Attempts were made to demythologise (remove mythological elements and imagery and reveal eternal truths or values) myths in the 19th and 20th century. E.g. Rudolph Bultmann with the New Testament
  • Ultimately demythologisation was not successful; myths are significant because they communicate values and beliefs in story form. Therefore, difficult to separate truths as they are expressed through the story

Creation myths

  • Mythology has tremendous significance in religious traditions
  • In this context, myths are textual versions of earlier oral traditions where fundamental questions of meaning, purpose or value were explored in a pre-scientific and pre-historical setting
  • Myths reflect explorations of fundamental concerns about human destiny
  • In the setting of theological discussions or the study of religion, a myth is a story or narrative which may have some basis of truth in history, but the historical accuracy or details are…


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