We are all fighting the war for the mind of humanity. Analogy, metaphor, simile, and word-picture are its weapons. Find out what you can do to support the use of reason and science and overcome mythology presented as facts.
Myths Vs Facts
Many people see religion as mythology presented as fact. Joseph Campbell said, one man’s religion is another man’s mythology. But a lot depends on your worldview. There are many people who believe their religion is factual. And, their voices are a force in our modern society. They push back against anything that threatens their beliefs. So, this is the basis of the ongoing war between science and religion.
Which religions exercise the most influence? The three largest religions by population are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Together they boast over 4 billion followers. Today there are over 10,000 versions on these themes.
The main goal of these systems is to generate income. In fact, the wealthiest religion has more material wealth than most countries. The Vatican of the Catholic Church is a country. It holds an estimated net worth over 400 billion dollars. This includes cash, real estate, precious metals, and art.
Above all, Christianity and Islam are the leaders in marketing and rebranding. They took the dying-god sects and made it accessible to more people via belief. Whereas Judaism bases its membership on ethnic lines. And, this theme came with a well-established customer base in the region. Next, they perfected the process of indoctrination and groupthink manipulation. Most cleverly, they added sacred texts building on the work of their closest competitor, Judaism. Thus, legitimizing their product while showing Judaism in a negative light.
Mythology Presented as Fact
How is it possible for these mythologies to keep control over the cultural narrative? Their strength lies in their ability to capitalize on the basic fears and insecurities of humanity. For instance, one of their top-selling schemes is the afterlife. It also gives them power. This power enables them to influence the culture. Science and logic are their adversaries. So, in the battle of myths vs facts, mythology needed to win at all costs.
Belief in mythology became the norm, creating a monopoly on the cultural narrative. It’s a mass hallucination through indoctrination. However, it is such a part of the culture and is done in such a persuasive manner that many people don’t see it. They believe their myths are fact. Those who are a part of this indoctrination are themselves victims of groupthink manipulation. So, they pass along the mythology, believing it is factual. That is because the best liars are those who believe what they are saying is the truth.
Religion uses several effective tools to maintain the wall between the origins of their mythology and their customers.
Colorful Tools of Communication
Religion uses an effective programming technique known today as groupthink manipulation. To better understand how this machine of influence works, we want to look at the gears. The gears that make this machine work include metaphor, analogy, simile, and word-picture. These tools are excellent mnemonic memory devices. That is they make ideas easy to remember. You’ll find these at the core of many of your most memorable stories. These simple communication tools disguise intent and meaning. So, this makes it ripe for misuse.
A metaphor is a figure of speech that constructs an analogy between two or more things or ideas. When the underlying premises are understood as a metaphor, then it is a valid tool for comparison.
Many people believe the real purpose of spiritual stories is as a metaphor. It’s a way of describing the unseen powers of reality. So, God is a reference for the transcendent.
An analogy infers that if something is similar in some respects, they probably agree in others. And, so it compares things to show a similarity. It’s an effective selling tool.
For example, the operation of a computer presents an interesting analogy to the working of the brain. So, the analogy goes something like this. Computers work just like our brain does. This becomes an image or word-picture making the analogy easy to remember.
Analogies play a significant role in problem-solving, decision making, perception, memory, creativity, emotion, explanation, and communication. Analogies help us with basic tasks such as the identification of places, objects, and people. For example, in face perception and facial recognition systems. Some argue that analogy is at “the core of cognition”.
But, analogies are not factual. An analogy is an attempt to convey a concept or idea through a metaphorical word in place of something else. For example: “Her eyes were like glistening jewels”. This makes it ripe for confusing myths with facts.
A simile is a combination of metaphor and subtle type of analogy. It is a figure of speech that compares things to infer something. The simile is a tool to infer or project an idea without being direct. The most common use of with the words, “as” and “like”, but it can use any connecting term. For instance, “he’s acting like Mr. know it all”. Here we have an ad hominem attack as a simile.
A word-picture is the landscape that houses analogies, metaphors, and similes. The word-picture becomes a powerful theme that links different aspects of a story. The word-picture is the major theme of many ancient traditions. The life stories of Buddha, Mohamed and Jesus are major word-picture themes. So, it’s the perfect vehicle for programming the cultural narrative.
The Argument as a Tool of Persuasion
First, an argument is a statement made with “premises” (data) persuading you to accept a conclusion. It’s a selling tool. Sometimes it’s hard to spot false premises and claims. That’s because people learn to hide false claims within metaphor, analogy, simile, and word-picture.
In a logically sound argument, the premises are factual or true. So, if we learn how an argument should be constructed, then we can spot problems with the construction of the argument. Then, it’s also a good idea to learn about the common errors of logic.
So, let’s start by looking at the two types of logical reasoning that you’ll likely encounter in the realm of spirituality. These are deductive and inductive reasoning. Both inductive and deductive reasoning can be used to construct a valid argument. There are two main differences in the form of their conclusions. Inductive reasoning is a way of investigating phenomena using relevant data to reach probable conclusions. In contrast, deductive reasoning presupposes the conclusion by showing data to support a position. And two other main distinctions, deductive reasoning gives conclusions as proofs certain. Whereas, Inductive reasoning presents its conclusions as probabilities.
Let’s take a deeper dive into both forms.
Deductive reasoning is based on the theory of the Closed World Assumption.
“It is the assumption that the premises of the argument are known or true. And, conversely, what is not within the argument is presumed to be false.”
In other words, what is not known to be true is automatically assumed to be false. The absence of information is interpreted as irrelevant. It assumes that the premises provide complete and accurate information is about the claim.
The argument form for deductive reasoning always to includes the answer within the premise arguments. For the conclusion to be valid, all the premises must be true and valid. With this approach, you start with the conclusion you want, then find data to support your claim.
The Misuse of Deductive Reasoning
Our example goes like this. The God Odin Exists. First of all, Odin promised to kill all the ice giants. And, there aren’t any ice giants anywhere. Furthermore, there many ancient texts which tell the story of Odin. You’ll find many texts about Odin in German folklore and paganism from all parts of Eastern Europe. Odin is known in many cultures. For instance, he is Wōden in Old English, as Wōdan in Old Saxon, and in Old High German as Wuotan. So, based on his popularity, these sacred stories and texts along with the absence of ice giants we must conclude the God Odin exists.
Odin’s story is an example of a vivid word-picture. I’ll be you can see him killing ice giants right now. It’s a subtle simile that inferring Odin is real based on the number of historical writings and popularity.
This is a perfectly constructed argument using deductive reasoning. However, we think most people would disagree with the conclusions. This isn’t evidence for the existence of Odin. The absence of imaginary beings or creatures does not represent evidence they ever existed. Nor is it evidence Odin got rid of them. And, the recounting of stories, no matter the age or supposed authority of origin does not suffice as proof for the existence of Odin. These points apply to all gods. Not just Odin. This is an example of mythology presented as fact. It underscores the ongoing battle of myths vs facts.
Inductive reasoning uses the data of the premises to provide a reasonable degree of certainty. That is the likelihood of something happening. They base conclusions on the degrees of probability. So, we get answers anywhere from a low, almost negligible probability to a high probability approaching near certainty.
Inductive reasoning may appear less accurate on the surface because it provides only probabilities (or a range of probabilities). However, inductive reasoning is the basis for science and most of what we know. Science seeks the best explanation for the data and then makes predictions based upon the facts. You start with the data and find out what conclusion it provides.
For example, we have a high degree of confidence that the sun will rise tomorrow. We base this degree of confidence in the historical evidence of previous sunrises. Inductive reasoning is often necessary because the answer you seek goes beyond the scope of the premise statements. We don’t know for sure that the sun will rise, but evidence supports a high probability of it happening.
The Problem ― Mythology Presented as Fact
The most notorious disciplines couching their conclusions in terms of absolute certainty are religion and politics. However, none of the assertions of religion can or should be stated with absolute certainty. Instead of remaining silent in the absence of fact, it makes claims about things for which there is no proof. They use mythology cloaked by metaphor, analogy, simile, and word-picture.
Unfortunately, no theologian would state any of their doctrines in this way. Otherwise, if they were honest most of their claims would be less than believable. However, we know this will not happen. It would expose most religions as baseless assertions. But, theologians learn to advertise their mythologies using sleight of hand.
“There is a logical form between the statement and the proposition. The proposition exists only where there are facts. Where there are no facts (i.e. the mystical, the metaphysical, the ethical), there is no corresponding proposition. If there is no proposition, no statement can be made in regard to these topics (mystical, metaphysical, ethical). So, what should we do where we cannot make any statement? Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.” ― Ludwig Wittgenstein, Proposition 7, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
Mr. Wittgenstein explains to us what we should do when having no facts to support our proposition. Sadly, many religions present twisted doctrines when one cannot speak of facts that can be verified. So, mythology presented as facts is a ploy to deceive.
Since the conclusions of their arguments go beyond the facts it would appropriate to state their claims in terms of the reasonable degree of probability, or certainty. We doubt this will happen. Rather than remaining silent on things that go beyond proof, they will continue presenting mythology as fact.
Sorting Out the Facts
The battle of myths vs facts is an ongoing conflict in the cultural narrative. It is the battle of science, logic, and facts against the strength of groupthink manipulation of religion. You win the war one person at a time.
The awakening of the individual is key to bringing them into the light of the fictions which bind them. Many of the archaeologists and scientists of the 19th century were sure that the facts would end the reign of religion. But, they underestimate the power programming. Here are the steps for winning the war between myths vs facts.
Identify The Vehicles of The Programming
The first thing you need to do is learn to see the metaphors, analogies, or word pictures within your worldview. We’ll describe these in a moment. You can find these vehicles in two ways. If you have religious beliefs, write the core tenets. Describe the word-pictures that come to mind. Then, identify the stories of the word-picture. Ask yourself why you believe it. Is there empirical evidence? Or is does the evidence for this claim come from sources within the paradigm?
Identify Your Programming
When you identify your own programming, you will have two lists. One is the programming with a general or popular meaning, and the other is your personal meaning. For example, your programming may include the symbol of the cross. In popular culture, this is a holy symbol for the device on which a dying-god is sacrificed. However, the meaning of this symbol could differ significantly for you.
Myths Vs Facts Decision Time
Now you have the facts. You can see the premises of the arguments that are the source of your beliefs. And, you can see how metaphor, analogy, simile, and word-picture are the communication tools of these ideas. So, you need to decide. Are you going to believe in mythology presented as fact? Or, are you going to give precedence to the facts of science and logic?
Remember, continue to question the cultural narrative. Always question the opinions of religious or political leaders and sources. Become a warrior of light using compassion to spread seeds that bring people out of the dark age mentality.
Interested in spiritual exploration? Check out the blended learning process at the core of our teaching process. It reflects what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey. Our learning options include both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions. Please consider donating and supporting our mission. This helps others learn the knowledge for developing their own path.
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Wikipedia.org
Abrahamic Religions, Wikipedia.org
Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia
Inductive Reasoning, Wikipedia.org
Deductive Reasoning, Wikipedia.org
List of World’s Religions by Population, Wikipedia