Monday, November 9, 2009

Lies Breathed Through Silver

Disclaimer: Below I quote from Anne Rice's novel The Vampire Lestat. I am not profiting by reproducing her intellectual property on my blog. It belongs to her, I own nothing.

I’m a great lover of mythology, both ancient and recent, and one of the most unfortunate misconceptions in our culture is that a myth is a lie. As a sad consequence of this, many pious individuals wrongly take offence when their religious scriptures are called myths, and take those scriptures literally. Many an atheist, in their profound ignorance of all things spiritual, believe that if the Bible is not 100% literally true (which it obviously cannot be) then it has no value, and that God does not exist. So, if Jonas didn’t spend three days inside of a whale, then ergo, the Universe has no Creator. As always, atheist ‘reason’ is perplexing. Now, if the Bible were a history textbook, or a science textbook, then it’s historical and scientific inaccuracies would be a cause for criticism. However, the Truth of Myths does not lie in science or history. Raw facts such as those are meaningless to us. What myths do is take those facts, and weave them into a tapestry of narratives that imbues them with meaning and purpose, sometimes profound meaning the feeds our deepest psychological yearnings. To know a myth, to understand its existential and spiritual truth, to let it move you and affect your very essence, is a miracle.

I’m going to use a Greek Myth to illustrate this point. Daedalus made a pair of wax wings so that he could fly. He made a pair for his son, Icarus as well. He warned Icarus not to soar too high, but he did not heed him. Proud Icarus flew higher and higher, and when he got too close to the sun his wings melted, and he fell to his death. The moral of that myth is that hubris will lead to your demise. Now, do the scientific facts that a Human could never fly with a pair of wax wings, or that the temperature actually drops the higher up in the atmosphere you go, subtract from the myth’s moral in any way? No, they do not. Hubris will still lead to your demise even if you can’t fly with wax wings.

The main reason the current theory of evolution has such a hard time finding acceptance is that it lacks mythical truth. As it stands now, even atheists admit that it devalues Human existence. Is it any wonder people can be so hostile towards it? Here I would like to quote the vampire Armand, from page 507-8 of The Vampire Lestat, by Anne Rice of course, a prominent mythmaker of our time.

And his voice shot out of him like the tongue of a snake.

“We had our Eden under that ancient cemetery,” he hissed, “We had our faith and our purpose. And it was you (Lestat) who drove us out with a flaming sword. What do we have now! Answer me! Nothing but the love of each other and what can that mean to creatures like us!”

Yes. Someone answer him. What do we have now? A scientific theory is not good enough. We must have our myths. Too many of us need faith and purpose, like Armand. Is it any wonder people feel anger at those who try to drive them away from their myths with flaming swords? In order for evolution to be accepted, it must become a myth, it must give meaning and purpose to our existence. Religious individuals will inevitably accept and interpret evolution into a satisfying myth, and when that happens only the militant atheists will be upset because evolution will no longer be an asset to them.

It is not enough for Human beings to simply observe reality. That reality must be interpreted, and it must be interpreted in a way that gives our existence meaning and purpose. That is what myths do, and that is the value of even the most ancient myths, even those that have made their into the sacred scriptures of the World’s major religions. If you think a myth is wrong because it did not or could not have ever really happened, then you are a fool. Of course, some myths do have a historical basis. I’m convinced that after the book of Genesis, the Bible is loosely historical, and I’m sure that some parts of Genesis have a historical bases as well. Not that it really matters. Now some atheists, in their sophistic logic, would claim that the Bible must be completely literal, or none of it’s literal. This is clearly a false dichotomy. Some of the Bible is clearly metaphorical, but must all of it be? Humans are mentioned in the Bible, aren’t they? So is Egypt, Cesar, even water is mentioned quite frequently. If water is in the Bible, then it mustn’t really exist, right? Again, clearly a false dichotomy. Real events can later merge with myths, but that doesn’t mean that those events never really happened. For example, I believe George Washington existed, but I don’t believe he ever really cut down his father’s cherry tree. I believe Isaac Newton wrote his laws of gravitation, but I don’t believe it came to him in an epiphany when an apple fell on his head. I believe the Battle of Thermopylae happened, but I don’t believe it happened the way it’s depicted in the movie 300. I think I’ve made my point. Nothing is required to be either pure myth or pure fact; in truth, few things are.

Now as you can obviously tell, I’m not an atheist, for various reasons. The first is that I’ve never heard a convincing argument against the existence of A Creator (which is all I mean by the word God). I will go into greater detail about this in the comment section if someone wishes, or maybe in a later post. The second reason is that atheistic ethicists like Peter Singer scare the crap out of me. Sam Harris has said that no society has ever suffered from people being too reasonable, but I think Peter Singer proves him wrong. Valuing reason more than compassion as he does would definitely cause suffering. I find it very disturbing that he can honestly believe what he does about morality, and it is because of him and his ilk that I’m certain an atheistic society would be unpleasant. Finally, atheist myths are just awful. I, like most others, need good myths. Atheism is not a myth that can satisfy either myself or most of Humanity. Also, Richard Dawkins is just such an arrogant fucking douchebag.

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