TED Conversations

Khayam Arif

This conversation is closed.

What contribution does mythology make towards the improvement of society?

On one side we have sciences and technology,which have eased our lives through inventions but what is the contribution of mythology?


Closing Statement from Khayam Arif

Thank you all for your answers...

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Mar 19 2013: I need to ask another question first. Is religion mythology? I believe it is...

    Religion inculcates an iherent bias towards mythology as the sole arbiter of ethical thinking. Mythology as a simple analog for ethical thinking is fine, but the problem is that the analogy bnecconfused as reality by a majority of the world, with horrible side effects of seperating people far more than it brings them together.

    I do not believe the modern mythologies of religion do us any great service in the spread of morality; pedophile priests and suicide bombers of the world suggest otherwise. As we have seen on the TED stage, no religion provides a moral leg up over the others; the tales of compassion and ethical bevior range across race and creed; even animals show ethical behaviors we once relegated to only the "saved" among us.

    As stories, mythology, and indeed any religion can inform and enlighten. I am reminded of Thomas Jefferson's book, "The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth", where he held Jesus up as a life with examples we should all follow. Yet Jefferson was never a Christian; in a reply to a friend who asked, knowing Jefferson's atheism, what his beliefs were, Thomas replied "I am, sir, an Epicurean", referring to Epicurus' famous remark "What need have we of the gods, now that we have science?" Yet he found value in the mythologies passed down by his forbearers, enough so to write a book. Notice though, he goes no further than Jesus' life; he was not proselytizing, but offering example and analogy, not doctrine.

    It is in the transformation of parable to doctrine that the damage is done, that men insinuate their own thoughts into the "teachings" of their mythologies. Fatwahs from mullahs, Fred Phelps and his family, the Crusades; none of these memes has a base in the books they profess to worship.A modern world, as even Epicurus knew a millenia ago, has no need for these mythologies besides the stories they tell, beyond that lies harm
    • thumb
      Mar 20 2013: G’day Scott

      Yes I agree as a whole religious mythology has divided us somewhat but I wouldn’t like to know what this life would be like now if we had no common bonds at all through human history because all common bonds are of a religious belief of some sort. If religions around the world didn’t evolve to become more ethical within their structured beliefs we would probably still sacrificing babies & virgins at the altar.

      When you think about this isn’t a group of scientists with common grounds also of a religious belief like having a belief in constructing nuclear devices to destroy all human kind? I think I know that wasn’t their intentions but it’s a plausible possibility which was helped by a group of people (scientist) who have a common bonding.

      I find it awfully strange how one group of people with their ideological beliefs/convictions can continually have ago at others groups when they are just as bad themselves, I’m dumb founded as it makes no logical sense!!!!


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.