“Gods are metaphors transparent to transcendence. And my understanding of the mythological mode is that deities and even people are to be understood in this sense, as metaphors”…― Joseph Campbell
Gods As Poetic Metaphors
It’s a poetic understanding. It is to be understood in the same sense as Goethe’s words at the end of Faust: “Alles Vergängliche ist nur ein Gleichnis” (“Everything transitory is but a reference”). The reference is to that which transcends all speech, all vocabularies, and all images. I think of the more prosaic style of thinking about these references as theological rather than mythological. ― Joseph Campbell
God as a Theological Construct
In theology, the god is taken as a final term, a kind of supernatural fact. When the deity is not transparent, when he doesn’t open up like that to the transcendent, he doesn’t open up to the mystery that is the mystery of our own lives.” ― Joseph Campbell
Mistaking the Metaphors for A Fact?
Most importantly we hope this discussion provides food for thought. We want you to think about how your beliefs in a higher power shape your thoughts and values. Do you see your higher power a metaphor pointing the way to more just and verdant behavior? Also, do you believe in God existing in the literal sense? Perhaps not in this world, but at existing on some plane of reality? Do you relate to the concept of a higher power in this way, or is it a philosophical matter?
Above all many people see belief in the existence a particular God is not just a concept. Many people hold a belief in God as a central part of their identity. And, In fact, want everyone else to hold the same beliefs. The need to believe is so powerful that it propels them to act violently toward others. But, if belief equaled fact, then all Gods would be real. Think about that.
So, is it more probable that people are simply mistaking the metaphor as a fact? Or, is it really more likely that there are thousands of Gods? Is it more likely that the stories of and about Gods are just reference points for more transcendent concepts of reality? One thing is for certain, Approaching the Subject of a Higher Power is something that sparks deep emotional connections for many people.
Gods are metaphors that provide a focal point. It’s a way to express the attributes of creation and the human spirit in a tangible way.
If this article resonates, there are more on our blog. Also, you may be interested in learning about our blended learning process. This is our curriculum which we use to teach several mind-expanding tools. It also aligns the Hero’s Journey. This is the term Joseph Campbell gave the pattern of consciousness development. Our learning process is available in two forms. You can take part in the virtual learning module or in our workshops.
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