This post by Travis Haan originally appeared at The Wise Sloth.
A myth is a story told by a specific culture that explains nature, history, and customs. Myths tend to be ethnocentric and scientifically inaccurate. Mythology is the collected myths of a culture. If you can find examples of at least half the items on this list in a religious book, then that book fits the definition of mythology.
Are there credible first hand sources that can verify the authenticity of the events described in the book?
Does it have a scientifically inaccurate creation story?
Does it have any other scientifically or historically inaccurate events or statements?
Does it give supernatural explanations for natural phenomenon?
Does it say supernatural phenomenon exist which have never been recorded by scientific instruments?
Does it contain talking animals?
Does it contain numerology?
Does it advocate or condone animal or human sacrifices?
Does it contain multiple Gods?
Does it have a hero who saves the world?
Does it contain a demigod hero who was born from a virgin?
Does God or other supernatural beings have human or animal body parts?
Does God or other supernatural beings possess tools used by the author’s culture?
Does God or other supernatural beings behave like a member of the author’s culture?
Does God or other supernatural beings have names similar to those used in the author’s culture?
Is the author’s civilization the most important group of people in the world to God?
Do the lessons and rules in the book reflect the values of the author’s culture?
Does it command you to believe and hold onto the teachings in the book?
Does it include permission or commandments to kill certain people?
Does it include permission or commandments to take other people’s land and property?
Does it condone slavery?
Does it have rules regarding property rights, prices and taxes?
Does it contain rules or statements that make women second class citizens?
Does it say government should be a theocracy?
Does it give political power to religious leaders?
Does it tell you to give money to God’s spokesmen?
Reprinted with permission from the author.
Travis Haan is the editor of The Wise Sloth blog. The Wise Sloth contains editorial, philosophical, instructional, inspirational and satirical posts in the form of essays, lists, comics, and fiction, which tend to be irreverent, humorous and controversial.
— Church and State (@ChurchAndStateN) February 7, 2019
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