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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: December 27, 2005
Latest Update: December 27, 2005
The following questions are based on Mythos and Logos and Religious Arrogance: In the Matter of My God Is The "Right" God
- What is mythos?
Mythos is the narrative aspect of our thought systems, in which we tell stories, like the story of creation, the story of Oedipus, and so on. These narrative pieces embody our values and beliefs about good, evil, man's duty to man and to his god. some believe tham to be literally true, particularly if they come from texts like the Bible, which are believed to have been dictated or written or in some other way passed down from a god.
- What is logos?
Logos is the rational, evidence-based (from our senses), aspect of our thought systems, in which we examine evidence to see if it supports a theory. Theories are not really provable beyond the limits of our knowledge, so they are supported or not supported within those limits, and new evidence and knowledge are continually sought.
- How does Karen Armstrong relate these concepts to religion?
Armstrong suggests that fundamentalist religions seek to return to the glorious days of an ideal past. This backward looking approach allows one to read history as supporting the "truth" of the version of history one has learned. Thus, fundamentalist religions interpret their stories of creation and values as "true" or "right."
Armstrong suggests that non-fundamentalist religions look to the future. This forward-looking approach does not allow one to declare one's own religion "the right one," but teaches tolerance of others' religion. This means that a rational approach to tolerance of the other is promoted by such religions.
- Why do fundamentalist religions have difficulty maintaining a consensus of thought?
Because when every day brings new developments, new technology, new infrastructure people are forced to make their own daily decisions. The complexity of living makes it difficult to keep people from diverging in their thought patterns. One plausible way to try to control this divergence of thought is constant meetings in which the fundamentalist principles are reiterated and new ideas and developments are subjected to the dominant discourse of the religion itself. Again, communists practice this, as do capitalists and all others of whatever economic persuasion. Statisticians practice the same principle of frequent meetings to guarantee that observers are well enough trained for us to rely on the similarity of their observations.
- Why are mythos and logos important to the goal of transform_dom?
The goal of transform_dom is illocutionary discourse, or trying to understand the different validity claims held in our community. If we take belief as being "right" or "wrong" we will find it harder to listen in good faith to the validity claims of others who share a different faith. If we are tolerant of the other, we are more likely to refrain from denying answerability and to really come to understand the humanity of the other.