Jan 15, 2004

But by a story
we cannot be saved

More considerations of the importance of myth.

If the resurrection of Christ were a fact without a story, would it be worth believing?

No one was ever moved, but by a story.

In response to a story this age always asks "Is it true?" And we who believe in the importance of stories are always required to say "It was so." The car did get stuck in a tree. The woman did raise from the dead. St. David did ride a sea monster. Jack did climb the beanstalk. In what world would this answer cease to be needed, would the story not be trapped beneath scientific history?

There are stories I have told that I later learned were not factually true, and continued to tell. There are stories I have told that were other people stories, adopted to include me. I have told stories that didn't happen or didn't happen like that. The stories were important as stories, while the facts were irrelevant.

Science, when accepted as true, is translated into a story. We cannot whisper "Yet is still moves" as a fact, for in the whisper it is already a story.

The structuralists attempted to reduce myth to science, yet for the science to be of importance it would have to be translated back out into a story. Thus, the structuralists wanted to trade one type of story for another.

On the day lightning ceased to be the hammer of Thor and became electricity, we eliminated not stories but a certain type of story.

Consider the competing merits of evolution and creation. Not scientific merits, for science doesn't direct the way we think and live, but the narratal merits. Let us choose the better myth.

To the question, "How does one know which story is better" we can never offer a simple or mechanized answer. A story is better because it is worth retelling, because it translates beyond its time, because it moves us.

When "myth" is no longer a prejorative, this age will have passed.