Are there any religions that have no mythology attached?

All of the religions that I can think of have some (no disrespect) wacky mythology attached to them. You can’t get the spiritual value of the tradition without first buying into a wild cast of mythological characters and far fetched stories of people turning into mountains, rising from the grave or separating large bodies of water with a stick.

Are there any religions that separate a spritual practice from green gods with elephant heads and all such?

Well, you could go with deism. In a nutshell, deists propose that the universe was made and set in motion by a Creator (aka Watchmaker), then let to run on its own. No legends, no stories, and therefore of particular popularity among Enlightenment thinkers.

Strictly speaking, probably not. You may, indeed, discover some religions that minimize or eliminate what you would consider “wacky,” but, from an anthropological perspective, mythology is simply the stories that encapsulate the shared beliefs of a group. Thus, even Buddhism, with no deity to adore, has collected at least a few stories regarding the activities of Prince Siddhartha and some of his more enlightened successors.

You might make a case for the UU to be “free” of mythology (although I would note that it arose in the Christian culture and differs from Christianity mostly in recognizing the mythology on which it builds rather than actually shunning or avoiding mythology). Certainly, the UU has no “wacky” historical beliefs of which I am aware.

Every religion pre-supposes the existance of an unseen, spiritual world, which to some minds is enough of a reason to disbelieve.

Why would you want a nice, user-friendly logical religion? :wink:


Some people consider secular humanism to be a religion. Humanism expressly denies the existence of the supernatural.

Just to amend Dinsdale’s post with the assumed word in the second sentence explicit:

I rejoice in the idea of being a Christian humanist, and won’t let the agnostic and atheistic humanists arrogate to themselves the exclusive use of the term, any more than I’ll allow the fundamentalists and allied evangelicals to have exclusive use to “Christian.”

Ah, Poly. I offer a distinction between “big H” and “little h” humanists. Or to put it in other words, a distinction between using the word as a noun, or as an adjective.

In MY use of the words, I would consider you “humanistic”, but not a Humanist. And we all know that like Humpty Dumpty, when I use a word …

What is your opinion of UUs who proclaim to consider themselves Christians, yet claim to deny his divinity?

Do you refuse to call homosexuals “gay”, on the grounds that they are “arrogat[ing] to themselves the exclusive use of the term”? :wink:

(Yes, that last question was intended primarily as a lobbed grapefruit. Tho I can remember a particularly enlightened high school gym teacher expounding in a similar vein 25 years ago in the Chicago public schools.)

What is a “UU”?

A Unitarian-Universalist. They often go by simply “Unitarians”, though the former term is more correct (the current church was created when the Unitarian and Universalist Christian movements merged).

Peepthis, I notice you didn’t cap ‘deism’. Is that a defined group of people, or is just a vague description of the practice of spirituality without mythology?

There’s also Taoism, though IMO that’s more of a philosophy than a religion.

There’s the philosophy of Taoism, and then there’s the folk religion of Taoism. While they might be considered two different things, they’re very closely related–one came from the other (not gonna guess which, though).

According to this definition of Myth

the supernatural does not have to be involved in a myth. Urban Legends I suppose could be considered myths and the supernatural is rarely involved in a UL.

I won’t speak for Polycarp but for myself, it doesn’t seem that far off the mark. I’ll let them in my club house.

Merriam-Webster offers a succinct definition: a movement or system of thought advocating natural religion, emphasizing morality, and in the 18th century denying the interference of the Creator with the laws of the universe.

Einstein offers an interesting deist point when discussing his religious beliefs:

For a good summary of Deism’s (as a general philosophy, it’s not capitalized, but as an organized group it is) history and tenets, check out this site. Essentially, Deists don’t believe any truths are revealed in “sacred” texts or stories, only what can be reasoned – which was your original question.

There’s also a World Union of Deists.

This is not true. It is perfectly possible to accept a religion without believing its mythology to be literally (as opposed to symbolically) true.

Why pick on religion? Myths are part of more in our lives than just religion

Even children can detect hidden meanings in a story.

Fiction can have hidden meanings that many people may not knowingly understand.

Myths have been with opera since the beginning

The problem most people have with religion and myth is that other people insist on saying the myths are real. They are not, but they are too important to dismiss them as:

“Myth” carries with it an awful lot of implication. It implies a false belief. It is a relativistic judgement made from outside the belief system being discussed, for if it is your “traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of (your) world view” then it is not a “myth” to you.

Secular society has its stories and central beliefs that its members use to unfold their shared world view and to explain practices and natural phenomena. They are called scientific models and beliefs in human “rights.” Believers in any particular religion hold their “stories” in the same way that secularists hold theirs. They serve the same function: they explain the world and guide our behavior within it. Neither is a “myth” to one within the belief system.

(If you think this means that I equate scientific beliefs with religious beliefs, then let me assure you of your misunderstanding: we live in a multicultural society and in such a world only secular rules need apply for common consumption; for us to coexist we must keep to this relatively neutral ground when interacting with each other; the rules of evidence and broadly accepted “rights” apply outside of specifically religious discussions.)

If you find it wacky then it is a myth to you. If you find it true (in any sense, literal or as a metaphor) then it is no myth to you. It is your story that explains your world view.

(It’s like the old joke: no one speaks with an accent, you hear with an accent.)

So are you saying that the secular society has nothing to do with Ulysses or the Illiad? In school you never read King Arthur or poetry that referred to mythical characters and events? You don’t read your children fairy tales or recite nursery rhymes to them? You have never seen any of the Star War movies? You just watch the news, read technical books and the Wall Street Journal?

Ditto on what Dseid, kniz, and Joeseph Campbell said.

…and also let me second what Lamia points out. There exist religious beliefs where understanding the mythology as symbolic need not detract from faith in the moral and social precepts contained therein.

Part of the problem – and DSeid mentioned it – is that in common usage the word “myth” carries a connotation of “falsehood to be debunked”. Yet those just-so stories WE feel like living with are our “symbolic interpretations of universal phenomena” or “cultural didactic narratives” or “parables” or classic literature what have you. They serve to provide common frames of reference for a culture.

[sub](And, if when we get to the “other side” we DO find Ganesh in all his elephantine glory, won’t some of us feel awkward… :slight_smile: ) [/sub]