Joseph Campbell

July 22nd, 2009  |  Published in Religion


Transformations of Myth Through Time 

The first people to listen to St. Paul were the merchants of Corinth, and so we have the vocabulary of debt and payment in our interpretation of the mythic themes; whereas in the Orient, the interpretation is in terms of ignorance and illumination, not debt and payment. The debt and payment explanation goes haywire when you realize there was no Garden of Eden, there was no fall of man, and so there was no offense to God. So what is all this about “paying a debt”?

Furthermore we have to deal with the “assumption” and “ascension to heaven”. What heaven? Going at the speed of light, the bodies would not be out of the galaxy yet. Your mythology, your imagery, has to keep up with what you know of the universe, because what it has to do is put you in accord with the universe as known today, not as it was known thousands of years ago in the Near East.

There is a difference between the science then and the science now. And we are in trouble because we have a sacred text that was composed somewhere else by another people a long time ago and has nothing to do with the experience and knowledge of our lives.

What is the best discipline? Enjoy your friends, enjoy your meals. Realize what your play is. Participate in the play of life. See it! This is it!

Going to Church or Temple is quite secondary. Our religious life is here and now.

The god within us is the one that gives the laws and that can change the laws. And it is within us.

What is it that people want? It is health, wealth, and progeny, and it doesn’t matter what the god’s name is. So that is the one religion, the one popular religion all over the world, no matter what the name of the god is.

The job of the priests, those in charge of the temples and churches, is to get their god linked up with these things, and then the money from the people will pour in.

There are indeed many religions. But there are no gods.

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