Before there were legal laws and government policies to provide a structure for humans to live by, religion played the role of providing direction for the lifestyle each individual should attain to that was pleasing to god. With time, the world’s religions have evolved from providing directions to daily living to catering to faith and what happens in the afterlife. This makes religion an expansive and interesting topic to discuss as well as write about in educational environments.
Today’s article focuses on myths and religion which means it discusses the myths associated with religious worship and how some have been accepted in mainstream religions. So before discussing these myths, here is a brief explanation of what religion and myths represent. Religion can be defined as a set of beliefs diverted to a cause, nature and the purpose of the universe as well as man’s place in it. While myths are unproven stories generally passed down from generations to generations that become facts with the passage of time.
Practicing religion involves conducting certain rituals and the use of devotionals—holy books, religious tools—to provide directions on how to worship the creator of the universe and this is where myths come in for they are included in most devotionals as religious stories or instructions. So here are 10 facts on the myths and religions for an exemplification essay:
- The Inspiration behind mythical stories in the minds of men in ancient Greece is attributed to divine sources such as Zeus and the muses. In like manner, modern religion also attributes the inspiration behind the stories and facts found in religious books to divine inspiration from a divine being or an element of the divine being. Therefore, in both cases, myths are sometimes believed to be actual historical incidents that occurred in a forgotten era.
- The creation story and its mythical origins the three major Abrahamic religions share the same belief on how the world was created in three days out of nothing but before this belief became widely accepted, ancient Egyptian myths and text also described a creation process in which the world was built from an infinite, lifeless sea of nothingness. Other religions such as the Kamba in Kenya, and the Maori religion also contain aspects of this creation myth.
- Oral transmission creates avenues for distortions the stories we recognize as myths today were transferred through the ages by oral communication which has led to distortions as the custodians of these stories either embellish or detract facts from them. Like Homer’s tale of the Iliad which were a set of stories passed around for 500 years before he penned them down the first 5 books of the bible which forms the basics of the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faith were also passed down orally.
- Myths tend to be modernized by politics modernization is a procedure that also affects mythology as story tellers tend to retell stories to fit into the popular political movement or beliefs of his or her time. In ancient Greece, the Tragedians adjusted mythical plots to illuminate the political and social problems of that era. So also do religious books which sometimes reflect the politics and social on-goings that occurred during the periods they were written.
- The concept of heaven and hell are a product of mythical stories passed down from generations to generations and are not solely endemic to the major religions of today. In ancient Egypt, the belief in an afterlife was one held in the Trayastrimsa culture while in ancient Greece, the belief in Tartarus as a place of punishment predated the belief in hell.
- Ancient commandments and human society myths have also played their path in setting commandments on which ancient societies lived by in years past. The first recorded text of commandments included the treaty of the Hittites and the code of Hammurabi. These commandments preceded the 10 commandments and the Torah. A close look at the Hammurabi laws show close similarities to the laws in today’s modern religions.
- The belief in a trinity possesses mythological roots the belief in a trinity consisting of three coequal gods has been a part of the ancient religions practiced in Babylon, Rome and Asia before the advent of Christianity. In Babylon, Baal, Ashtoreth and Tammuz were one of the earliest known examples of the trinity theology in religion, while later on in Rome, Jupiter, Juno and Minerva formed a trinity which is quite similar to that found in the Christian religion.
- The dying and rising gods the stories of a god who died and resurrected to provide succour to its worshipers has been a recurring meet since the beginning of time when humans had a belief system. The earliest version of a resurrecting god can be found in ancient Egyptian religion were Osiris undergoes a form of rebirth after death. Subsequently, ancient Greek religion added Dionysus to the list of resurrecting gods.
- The flood or deluge myths the belief in a global flood that affected humankind is an important tenet. The three major Abrahamic religions have mythological stories that preceded Judaism. The Sumerian creation myth is credited as having the first religious reference to a global flood that washes humanity. The Sumerian myth also includes stories of a mythical creature, Zi-ud-Sura, who builds an ark to save both himself and other animals.
- The evil nature of serpents since the beginning of religion, the serpent has been ascribed a mythological role as the bringer of bad news and destruction to mythical beings. In one of the oldest stories ever written—The Epic of Gilgamesh—Gilgamesh loses the power of immortality which was stolen off him by a snake. Also, in ancient Greece mythology, the serpent plays a stellar role in trying to thwart the destinies of mythical figures. Likewise, Christianity, Islam and Judaism feature the serpent as the deceiver of the first humans on earth.
So here we come to the end of our 10 fascinating facts on myths and religion that you can apply when writing an essay on religion. Do not hesitate to also read the follow up pieces to these facts. 20 topics on myths and religion and a complete guide to an exemplification essay will give you directions on choosing a topic and writing an exemplification on essay on myths and religion.
Tired of all the guides and never-ending instructions?
Scott, L. (2009). Myths and Religion.
Levitt, M. & Elissa, G. (2000). How Raven Found the Daylight and other American Indian Stories.
Encyclopedia.com. (2006). Myths.
Wikipedia. (2014). Creation Myths.
John, M. (2008). Why Does Nearly Every Culture Have a Tradition of a Global Flood?
Ed, T. (2002). Pagan Roots of the Trinity Doctrine.
Norse-mythology.com. (2008). Death and the Afterlife.
Ellis, R. (1968). The Road to Hel: A Study of the Conception of the Dead in Old Norse Literature, 84.