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Mythology has been studied since the pre-Socratic era. In ancient times, it tried to account for actual events and closely linked to theology. They both derived theories from actual events and tried to explain or explore reasons for their existence. This has changed in the modern era, where myths are increasingly focusing on imaginations. On the other hand, theology tries to explain facts, which affect religion. Theology refers to a rational and systematic study of religion. This paper will try to explore the relationship between theology and mythology in respect of Joseph Campbell. It will also endeavor to analyze a paragraph on Campbell’s criticism of theology (Lane, 1989, p. 1).
According to Campbell, in his article “The Power of Myth,” mythology relates very closely to theology. Moreover, they work to serve similar mysteries. Campbell believes that traditional western culture has tried to authenticate myths to imprison its audience. In this regard, he speaks of the imprisonment of Christian believers with social order. He also believes that theology emphasizes too much on explaining the meaning of life as opposed to its intended purpose of seeking the experience of life. According to him, theology works to turn metaphors into facts as well as poetry into prose. This makes it difficult to live a free life, or at least, according to Campbell. He seeks myths that are centered on the globe and not on individuals or a given community. To this extent, he shares these views with theorists of planetary theology (Lane, 1989, p. 1).
Based on Campbell’s foundation, he is well placed to criticize traditional Western theologies since it does not provide him with sufficient evidence as to its validity. Otherwise, Campbell’s critique is not well-founded. This is mainly because some of the theories or supposed myths from theology actually happened and have been proved by, among others, archeologists. The last 20 years have seen several changes in theology and myths. This has been attributed to technological advances, which have unraveled new things to the world. For instance, myths on the Solar system and the earth as its center have since been withdrawn with research showing that it is later that revolves around the former. However, Traditional western theology has not had a significant change except on its followers who are continually coming up with contrasting ideas to initially established ones (Lane, 1989, p. 1).
The relationship that exists between theology and mythology depends mainly on the individual or group of associations. For instance, Christians believe in things that can be interpreted differently by other people. Those who experience faith believe that it is real while the others do not; instead, they assume that it is just a myth aimed at imprisoning people. I believe that there exists a close relationship between theology and mythology, and this happens mainly at the beginning of theology when facts are still unclear.
At this stage, where one gets to understand theology, myths serve as a consolation to that individual. For instance, Stories about the nation Israel would seem like a myth until one gets its facts. The two theories are, therefore, closely related except in the latter stages of theology where they diverge. At this stage, theology has facts that may not be present in mythology. Theology and mythology can be considered as stepsisters of truth even though theology is more authentic, especially to those who understand it (Lane, 1989, p. 1).
Both theology and mythology studied in the ancient times derived theories from actual events and tried to explain or explore reasons for their existence. They have since undergone various changes, which edges towards imaginations, especially in respect of mythology. The two theories are, therefore, closely related except on some occasions in which they diverge (Lane, 1989, p. 1).
Lane, B. (1989). “The Power of Myth: Lessons from Joseph Campbell”. Religion-online. Web.