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What is a myth?

Year 8 Term 1 - How do religions use language?

Mr Carter-Stead

on 27 September 2013

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Transcript of What is a myth?

photo credit Nasa / Goddard Space Flight Center / Reto Stöckli
What is a myth?
Examples of myths
Click on the link to investigate some examples of myths from around the world
What exactly is a myth?
What are myths for?
How do religions use myths?
Some religious stories are considered as myths by some religious people.
Find 3 examples of myths from around the world. Find one from a religion.
Myths often tell a story using characters or places that aren't necessarily real.
A myth is a story that communicates a belief, an idea, or a message.
Myths help to us to understand why something has happened, like how the world was made.
They often contain a moral teaching, which helps us learn how to make the right decisions in our lives.
Even though the story in a myth might not have ever really happened, the message or meaning can still contain an important truth.
Myths can help give us answers to important questions
Take this question:
Why is the sky blue?
Scientists might give this explanation
But we could get across the same ideas in a myth!
Long long ago, before you or I were born, a great spirit named Azure roamed the Earth. Light beat down on the Earth from the hot Sun. The spirit Azure and Sun were great friends.
One day Azure became greedy, and jealous. He wanted to be as powerful as Sun. He saw Sun pouring down his hundreds of colours onto Earth, and felt a great hatred. He wanted to limit that power, and take some of it for his own.

So the greedy Azure decided on a plan. He would carve a jar out of his belly and throw it up into the Sky. His jar would catch some of Sun’s light-power and Azure would be able to do with it as he pleased.
Azure’s plan worked; his body-jar filled with Sun’s red light. No longer did this beautiful colour shine down on Earth so brightly.
The spirit Azure was pleased, but his greed was not satisfied. He wanted to take more of his friend’s power. So he cut a new jar from his arms, and caught the yellow light in the Sky. No longer did this colour reach the Earth as it should.
Still the jealous Azure was not satisfied and he set about creating new jars from his arms and chest. Sun’s green and purple lights were captured.

By now Sun has realised what was happening, but Sun was clever. He knew that Azure had turned wicked, so he waited.

Sun saw the head-jar of Azure speeding towards him. Sun was clever, and shone his light-power with a strength never seen before. The final part of the greedy Azure was no match for the sun, and it burst into flames. Sun mourned the loss of his friend who had become mad with the hunger for power. He left the belly-, arm-, leg-, and chest-jars in the sky as a reminder to all on Earth of how jealously could be so dangerous.
Sun’s blue light dances free and un-captured in the sky to this very day
Now at that time the light from Sun shone upon the Earth in all the most beautiful colours of the rainbow. Sun was proud to provide such variety upon the great Earth, and Earth was pleased too.
Azure was close to completing his plan. He was crafting his final jar, this time using all that remained of him – his head. If he could capture Sun’s blue light he would have won. Smiling with the thought of victory, Azure launched his head-jar as high as he could – higher than any of the other jars.
Why is the sky blue?
Sometimes religious people aren't so much concerned with whether the story actually happened in the exact way it is told, but they are more concerned with the ideas, the message, and the meaning behind the story.
Take the question:
how was the world made?
Some Christians see the stories in the Bible as creation myths. This doesn't mean that they consider them to be made-up fairytales, but they see them as stories that show us the truth about how powerful God is and why He made a world for us.
Watch this video to see how on Christian person explains her view:
Does it matter if the people in the myth ever really lived?
Is it important the events in the myth actually took place?
Does the myth contain something that could be true even if the story never actually happened?
What is the truth behind the story, which the myth tries to communicate?
Full transcript