Creation Myth Essay, Research Paper
All of the myths that we have read have had many parts which are very similar to other creation myths, no matter their origin or continent that they are from.
Why are there certain issues which keep surfacing in many of the myths that we read. The topic of a global flood arriving and devouring a immoral and corrupt human race has appeared in 5 of the myths that we have read. Why is this theme so popular and widespread? The theme of flooding was found almost identically in Noah?s Arc which originated in the middle east and the myth The Creation, Death, and Rebirth of the Universe which was written in Scandinavia. The two places that these two myths were written were much to far apart to have these ideas related. Apparently humans, no matter the origin feel as though there is a value stored within these stories of human catastrophe. Or possibly there was actually a flood of some kind which was a spark which started these stories.
Another topic which has been found in multiple myths which we have read is the great, mass, moral decline of people. These myths describe a time where the overall morality of humanity plunged, and many people became corrupt. Why is this a topic which has been found in many myths that we have read? Was that a real serious concern for our society at one time. Or is this decay in morality something that many people were afraid of, and they felt as though they needed to develop a story of what would happen if it did occur. The myth The Baccea had many issues with a decline of morality. After the introduction of wine to the townspeople sex, drunkardness, and other ?immoral? acts were running rampant. Again in the myth Demeter and Persephone the two characters had an experience with the lack of morality and ethics. These topics are very similar between two different myths from two very separate place on the earth.
These questions of why do these different myths have some of the very same topics only bring us to the question of why are there myths at all. What are myths and why were they created? Myths were a teaching tool. Myths were a way to not only educate a generation but they created faithful, moral and aware people. They were a way of lessons being passed down and introduced to a future generation.
To really understand how useful and valuable the myths are, we need to look at the world as it was back when the myths were created and still active. Today we do not still use myths as they did in the past; now we use the myths as reminders, stories and materials from the past. Myths are also celebrated today in religions.
Back in the days of the myths that we have been reading, people used myths as an educational tool. When school was not a place that everyone attended, education was obtained from one?s family. All of these myths and stories were a way to instate a strong sense of morality, values and history into the new generation.
The times when the myths that we have read were used extensively was a period when our society underwent great changes. We were developing from independent, self subsistent life styles into lives of more advanced and social city life. Towns and cities were beginning to emerge. As the social interaction and development among humans grew, so did our understanding of the world around us. As humans pondered how more and more things worked, they discovered more things that were an absolute, pure mystery to them.
During this period of the great expansion of knowledge of the earth, people were questioning their surroundings. Why is water wet? What are the dots in the sky at night? Why when dropped, do things fall? As humans questioned, they gained knowledge. People?s inquiries covered everything in life, including their own existence. How at that time could people possibly explain their own existence? Sure, they could cut a person open and look inside or study how people act. However, this did not answer any of the questions of our own origins.
When humans found something that was a pure mystery, something that they could not explain; they would try to explain it in the best way that they could, a myth. A myth became a way to explain anything that science could not put a certain fix on. Myths were used as an explaining tool, a teaching tool, and a way to instill mortality and values.
The main lessons that have been taught of basic good morality can be found in The Bacchae. The people of Thebes had no moderation, thus when wine and other temptations were presented they could not hold back. In the end, the people of Thebes were punished. If this story were told one night over an open fire, from a father to his son, it would teach the value of moderation. It was used as a teaching tool, to teach the new generation.
A topic which was found in all of the flood myths was that when the world was going to be flooded, God would choose one or two faithful, ?God-obeying people? to restart the human race. This person was then spared from the flood, from which the entire rest of the race died. These myths clearly express that people who are good spirited and obey God will benefit. The reward will most likely not be in the form of being saved from a flood, however the story is a metaphor of the benefit that you will receive from worshiping god.
More importantly, back in the time period of the myths, people did not travel much nor did they have a means of outside input such as a TV or a radio to hear how other people outside their family interacted. In that time, the only real social stimulus that people would receive would be from their family or from their immediate neighbors. Today, as a child, we have TV, radio, and other ways to learn how people interact. From these sources, we learn about life; people fight, love, hate, steal and talk. Many of the myths such as Demeter and Persophone have quite a bit of interactions between people, such as people in love and full of hate. These myths can be a teaching tool of how people on an everyday level interact.
Myths are are still spreading the words of morality and faith just as much as they ever have. Myths give us meaning. They teach us to have values and morals deep within our souls. They teach us to have souls. The value of myths is not a tangible item, it is not anything material. Myths do not teach us fact. Science teaches us the facts. Science teaches us the cause and effect, the explanations. It does not teach us right or wrong, good or evil, it just teaches us why. Which is more important? A person who is scientifically educated would know how the world around him works, they would know why things fall when they are dropped. He would know how a car drives and why plants grow, however he would know nothing about being good or evil. He would not know of right or wrong, because he only knows and believes what he can see or prove. What good would knowledge of science be if wedid not have any judgment to assess the information. As a society, we need both. Science is a much easier teaspoonful to take, after all it can be explained scientifically. Just ask yourself where would we be without love, faith, morals, values, or right&wrong. We need both to survive as a society.