Covered somewhat similar ground as Part 1. Science hypothesises compared with the authority of the Bible. Did not support the idea that the earth is only 6,000 years old – this idea itself is only about 100 years old. Genesis is not a text book! Science demonstrates a designer; intelligent design as too complex for random evolution. This was reinforced by the observation that very few genetic modifications are better than the original and therefore evolution only proceeds along a relatively few lines. So cancer, earthquakes etc are a necessary part of evolution and therefore prevent ‘paradise on earth’ not possible because of human nature. [Hence I suspect they would claim that ‘paradise has to be somewhere else!] Wealth has been based on cheap energy => impact on climate.
This records senior scientists explaining how they can believe in a fairly conservative interpretation of the Biblical texts and also work at the frontiers of science. Their viewpoint was supported by their belief that the universe had to have some reason to exist and the underlying order of the natural world suggested a creator/an under lying intelligence, did God light the ‘blue touch paper’? They discount ‘God of the gaps’ as greater scientific understanding will narrow those gaps over time. ‘Nature can’t prove God’s existence, but is consistent with belief in god.’ A multi-verse is no threat to faith.
Whenever you sense mystery you recognise there is a dimension beyond the physical.
In the West we tend to associate God with the source of energy; in the Eastern religions, God is regarded as the manifestation of the energy, the vehicle for the energy. The manifestations are our experiences of wonder, love, compassion, hatred, malice which Campbell likened to ‘faith’. These are different manifestation of the divine; so divinity is in the mind – what we think. He illustrated with the image of an angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other in constant conflict – which we all experience ie whether to do this or that. This imagery can be so strong for some people that they believe this is the physical reality.
Campbell suggested that we therefore see the divine in others – and they in us; we each radiate the presence of the divine!
Noted that the circle is a common symbolism in all religions for the endless repeating cycle of life we experience in the natural world, tides, moon, seasons, day/night.
He suggest that clowns were very useful in illustrating the essence of life, faith, spirituality, divinity while not allowing the actual details to be taken too seriously (or literally).
The experience of eternity is now as it shuts out the perception of time; this is not heaven which is everlasting ie has no concept of time at all. If we don’t experience eternity now we never will as if/when we get to heaven – which is everlasting and therefore negates the experience of eternity which shuts of time (presume he means for just a short while). [I’ve re-listened and realise I was arguing incorrectly last night – now corrected]
AUM the vowels of the sound of the universe (the mortal component) combined with silence as the immortal component.
It started by suggesting that what people are seeking is an experience of being alive and myths are clues of those experiences – those things that can’t be explained, what is transcended; this is what some people equate to God.
We then saw The Mask of Eternity in southern India – a 3 headed figure with two facing in the opposite direction representing right and wrong, male and female; the central face is at right angles to the other two and represents the neutral ground between the extremes a position that a deity might adopt. God and nature are not separate but different perspectives. In this context both extremes are positive but in Christianity we tend to adopt opposing good and evil view points eg sin and redemption, heaven and hell.
Eternity has nothing to do with time is was suggested – it is now, life, an opera, wonderful, exciting.
All religions are true in their context; do not make the mistake of regarding the poetry (of scriptures) as NOTATION but rather as CONTESTATION (myth). All gods are within us. All religions are true for their time and their myths (stories) reflect their time and context – these myths lose their meaning outside the environment in which they are created. New myths can’t arise today as the world context is moving too fast for them to form; therefore we form our own myths to support us in the time and context in which we find ourselves. Some modern myths might be global warming, NZ’s clean & green image, the internet is good (or bad), GDP has to keep growing to improve our standard of living, etc.
The Power of Myth, is a 6 part series featuring interviews with Joseph Campbell. This first session traced the rise of myths from heroes and some of their common characteristics.
Introduced by Kwane Kwei-Armah, this traced the influence of Christianity brought by the European invaders to Central America and Africa. The Spanish conquistadors imposed their brand of Christianity firstly by seeking to eliminate the indigenous Mayan religion and then by forced conversions. However the traditional beliefs were not so easily suppressed and after a couple of generations re-appeared as part of the evolving Christian practice.
500 years ago there were hardly any Christians outside Europe and the Mid East – now the number outside is several times larger than in Europe & Mid East. How did this happen wondered Kwane. His suggestion was that Christianity adapted to local situations, beliefs and circumstances; this is especially evident in the widespread adoption of the Virgin Mary – in Mexico she is dark skinned – not white European or even Jewish.
In Africa many of the local religions are centred around a world inhabited by spirits – Fetishes. 10 – 50M slaves were transported to ‘save’ them. Castle Coast Castle was the main transportation port while at the same time acting as the centre of Missionary endeavour!
In Ethiopia, the indigenous Christianity has features of OT Jewish dietary laws and early Christianity before Roman (Constantine) influence.
Africa is now the powerhouse of Christianity and is challenging the western church having grown from 10 to 360M members in last 100 years. At present growth rates, by 2050 there will be more Christians in Africa and SE Asia than Europe and Nth America combined and therefore the nature of the church will change.