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Rameumptom Ruminations: 015: The Difference Between Myth and Religion

What is the difference between religion and mythology? Do we take it out of context when we understand it simply as a set of dogmatic beliefs? Religion is much more than just belief and it encompasses the entire culture and society of believers. In this episode, Scott discusses his view on religion and mythology. Joseph Campbell heavily influenced the views discussed today.


Campbell, Joseph. 2012. The Hero with a Thousand Faces. 3rd ed.

“My definition of mythology is “other people’s religion”, which suggests that ours must be something else. My definition of religion, then, is “misunderstood mythology” — and the misunderstanding consists in mistaking the symbol for the reference. So all the historic events that are so important to us in our tradition should not be important to us in any way except as symbols of power within ourselves.”

“Wherever the poetry of myth is interpreted as biography, history, or science, it is killed. The living images become only remote facts of a distant time or sky. Furthermore, it is never difficult to demonstrate that as science and history mythology is absurd. When a civilization begins to reinterpret its mythology in this way, the life goes out of it, temples become museums, and the link between the two perspectives is dissolved. Such a blight has certainly descended on the Bible and on a great part of the Christian cult.

To bring the images back to life, one has to seek, not interesting applications to modern affairs, but illuminating hints from the inspired past. When these are found, vast areas of half-dead iconography disclose again their permanently human meaning.”


2 thoughts on “Rameumptom Ruminations: 015: The Difference Between Myth and Religion”

    1. That’s a great series and an excellent primer to some of his ideology. His books greatly influenced the way I view religion today.

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