Literalism

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dragon

We have to stop reducing the vast meaning and awesome power of symbolism and mythology to mere questions of literal fact or fiction. Myths reflect back to us and teach us about our deepest psychological and spiritual truths. Among contemporary people, myths tend to be dismissed, at a terrible psychological cost, as childish fantasies or the unscientific gropings of primitive minds. This is why followers of western religions have typically insisted that their scriptures are not myths at all, but must be taken as literally true. This, however, merely weakens the effectiveness and power of religions, rendering them spiritually useless, often rather foolish, as well as socially and politically dangerous, rather than instructive, helpful, and even ennobling.