Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Update on the Easter Poll

People are responding to my Easter Poll regarding the historicity (or not) of the resurrection. You can cast your ballot on the sidebar. Vote the way you think, but if you are curious as to my answers, they are:

#1 No. The resurrection of Jesus is as historical as Muhammed's ascension into heaven (or any other myth you can find).
#2 Creative religious legends. Yup. Are you going to give up your religion if yours can't be the best or objectively most 'true' on the block?
#3 No. Although, what is truth?
#4 Toss up between 'resurrection as proclamation of faith' or 'neither'.
#5 and #6 are for those who do not self-identify as Christian.

I have just started reading Burton L. Mack's The Christian Myth: Origins, Logic, and Legacy. Here is a little bit about Burton Mack.

Mack makes the argument that scholars have used myth studies quite effectively to understand how they influence how societies work. Then he states the obvious:

One might have thought that scholars interested in Christian origins and cultural history would turn their attention to the Christian myth and explore its social functions and rationale in keeping with modern myth theory. That has not happened. The Christian myth has not been an object of scholarly investigation. The very idea of the gospel story being called a myth has been anathema to Christians and scholars alike. Although the gospel was the Christians' story of the gods, and although it was always in mind when scholars were working with the stories of the gods of other peoples, only the stories of the gods of other peoples were called myths. The gospel story, by contrast, was referred to as the gospel and it was imagined as "true" in ways that other myths were not. (p. 17)

He explores what this myopia to our own texts and traditions does for Christians and for "Christian nations."
  • Our religion is true.
  • Theirs are not.
  • We have a mission.
  • Convert them to the true religion.
  • Use any means necessary.

Rather than Christianity taking its place around the table of humanity, Christians, because they blindly think their myth is "true" or more true than anyone else's, won't sit around a common table unless they own it.

This myth of Christian superiority lives out in the myth of American superiority. This "Christian nation" won't sit around a common table with other nations unless it owns the table.

Mack's book is an important book not just for the religious but to open our eyes to how the Christian myth--
because it is unexamined as a myth--has become destructive to the survival of the planet.