Religion based on Myth
By Philippe L. De Coster, B.Th.,D.D.
The study of the above subject on religion and myth has been a life-long investigation and experience of mine, where I was myself a victim rather than an observer. Among the many theories of myth and of ritual or liturgy, the myth and ritual is distinctive in connecting myths to rituals. The myth and ritual, or myth-ritualist, theory maintains that myths and rituals operate together. The theory claims not that myths and rituals happen to go hand in hand but that they should. In its uncompromising form, the theory contends that myths and rituals cannot exist without each other. In a softer form, the theory asserts that myths and rituals originally exist together but may subsequently go their separate ways. In its mildest form, the theory maintains that myths and rituals can arise apart, but subsequently coalesce. Myths in all religions included the Jewish, Christian and the Islamic religions, describe the character and behaviour of the One God as in the Abrahamic Faiths and the many Gods or Deities in Hinduism and even Buddhism. As we see in religions as well as in occultism, rituals seek to curry divine favour. Rituals may presuppose myths, which would suggest what activities would most please the god or gods, but they are otherwise independent of myths. The combination of myth and ritual is the combination of religion and magic:
“Thus the old magical theory of the seasons was displ
aced, or rather supplemented, by a religious theory.
In a ritual a human being plays the role of the god and acts out what he magically causes the god to do. You know how large a part of the teaching of the New Testament and of all the Christian theology turns on the ideas of sacrifice and priesthood. As such the actor, bishop, priest or pastor represents and acts as God or Christ and brought forward as such in Dogmas, for instance the teaching of the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass, nowadays formulated as the Holy Eucharist. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are counted as being positive religions, that is, they did not grow up like the systems of ancient heathenism, under the action of