Myths

When a half-million strong arrived at Max Yasgur’s farm in Bethel, NY, during the summer of ’69, they came looking to set their souls free. They were looking for something real, something worth investing their whole lives. The experience of Woodstock was tangible, giving a whole generation a taste of love and peace that they hoped could change the world forever. Getting back to the garden had tremendous significance at Woodstock because what the Movement was really all about was finding the source of love and unity and getting back to it. It was like trying to find Utopia, that place of everlasting bliss and happiness that history had taught was nowhere.

What was experienced at Woodstock was hard to deny. Throngs of young people came back from the event full of zeal, full of hope, fervently trying to convey to their friends what they had seen and experienced. They were convinced that the experience of Woodstock could spread to the whole nation. But somehow what they found there wasn’t connected to the true Source of love and unity because the Woodstock Nation never became a reality.

Since then, most of the scattered Woodstock Nation abandoned the search, rejected the need for the true Source and settled for any myth that could give their personal life meaning. Eric Utne, the editor of Utne Reader, describes it this way:

For the last 25 years I’ve explored all manner of spiritual approaches — Eastern and Western, modern and traditional. Spirituality and its relationship to politics, education, the arts, and other aspects of life continues to interest me more than almost anything else.1

A myth is simply a story about gods.2 Spirituality is defined by myths which are either created in the mind of the individual or learned from an established religion. Myths are man’s attempt to grope for God, to explain the need for healing, for forgiveness, for a sacrifice, for a new life. Myths teach concepts of how we should treat each other, for it is instinctively known in the heart of all individuals. The importance of finding spiritual meaning to life is expressed in the following quote, again from Eric Utne:

While traditional church attendance is declining, alternatives like Evangelicalism, Eastern philosophies, and New Age spirituality are booming. Bill Moyers, whose six-part PBS series on myth with Joseph Camp­bell captivated many Americans, recently announced that he believes America’s spiritual quest will be “the story of the next 50 years.” He added, “I’ve given up the beat of politics, I’ve given up the beat of international affairs, because . . . this is the biggest story of the millennium.”3

The countless myths that have been created to define or explain God and man’s relevance here on earth proves the universal fact that human beings are cut off from direct fellowship and communion with God as well as having a lack of revelation of the purpose for human life. Without a demonstration of love, justice, peace, and unity that is tangible, all that is left for mankind is mythology any real or fictional story existing in the mind only. Joseph Campbell, one of the foremost writers and experts on myth said:

The individual has to find an aspect of myth that relates to his own life... Every mythology has to do with the wisdom of life as related to a specific culture at a specific time. It integrates the individual into his society and the society into the field of nature. It unites the field of nature with my nature. It’s a harmonizing force. Our own mythology, for example, is based on the idea of duality: good and evil, heaven and hell. And so our religions tend to be ethical in their accent. Sin and atonement. Right and wrong.4

Many parents have turned to myths to give life some sort of universal meaning for them and especially for their children. As one mother said about the subject when interviewed, “I want her (three-year-old daughter) to know the Bible stories, the mythology. It’s a major part of our culture.”5 Anthony Brandt, a contributing editor of Parenting magazine brings the point home vividly in his own words:

What does your run-of-the-mill modern skeptic tell his 10-year-old daughter when her closest friends have just died in a fire? ... I wanted so much to console her, to find something to say that would explain, would justify these deaths and give them meaning. But I didn’t think these deaths had any meaning. All I could come up with was something I didn’t believe. “Maybe their is a heaven,” I said, “and that’s where they are.” Yeah, maybe. And maybe not. ... I’m old enough to know that ... we all need to find or generate some kind of meaning for our lives if life is not to become unbearable. ... To raise children in a culture without at least exposing them to its religious traditions, even if you yourself have abandoned the beliefs on which they are based, may be doing them a disservice. ... I continue to distrust and dislike organized religion but find it hard, as I grow older, to live with only my vague faith that life must have some kind of meaning, even if I don’t know what it is.6

Myths do not provide a life that deals with the basic problems that isolate and alienate. Many of today’s parents, the children of the ‘60s, have no problem identifying with Michael Ventura in this observation:

...perhaps when we love them [our children], our greatest fear is: that we cannot help them, cannot protect them, and that we have nothing real to give them. And their greatest rage is: that we cannot help, cannot protect them, and that we have nothing useful to give.7

Is this the statement we leave for generations to know us by? Somewhere, somehow there must be a life that would fulfill that Elusive Dream that even our children would take identity with. But, you ask, where is it and how do I find it?

The day we are living in is prophesied in the Bible. It says that a time is coming when men will find teachers who will satisfy their own liking and foster the errors they hold. They will turn away from the truth and turn to myths, traditional stories dealing with supernatural beings.8 Modern Christianity is perhaps the greatest myth of all, full of stories about the God of Israel, who went to great extents to reveal his awesome power to his people. They even have all the stories about the Son of God who qualifies without question as the greatest man who ever lived. But all they have is the stories. They don’t have the reality of this God, the Creator of the universe. The myth of Christianity is just one among many, but the one that defiles the whole world.

They tell the stories but those who follow this cultic myth would not ever tolerate the real thing: a life of love, a people living in unity and oneness, laying down their life, being real, being a corporate body, corporeal, having substance, body, going through suffering every day with one another. The myth is exposed when the real substance is seen. The myth of the resurrection is without any consequential effect unless it produces a life of loving one another, praying with one another, working with one another, eating together and sharing everything together in a common life, being in co-ordination, a real Body in which the real Spirit can dwell.

The unity our Master Yahshua prayed for is material; it is real. It has substance. It is not just in the mind. It is what his actual Spirit gives his disciples so that love can be perfected through a demonstration of unity. God is not a myth. That’s why he wants a life of love and unity to be seen so that the world may know that God sent his son, and that he is real. This unity has to be as real as his own body in order to set the evidence before all mankind that distinguishes our Master, Yahshua as the real and true God. Without this, it doesn’t matter what myth you believe.

  • 1. Utne Reader, Jan/Feb 1991, p. 2
  • 2. Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth, p. 22
  • 3. Utne Reader, Jan/Feb 1991, p. 2
  • 4. Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth, pp. 55,106
  • 5. Utne Reader, Jan/Feb 1991, p. 87
  • 6. Utne Reader, Jan/Feb 1991, p. 84
  • 7. Utne Reader, July/August 1994, p.64
  • 8. 2 Timothy 4:3-4

The Twelve Tribes is a confederation of twelve self-governing tribes, composed of self-governing communities. We are disciples of the Son of God whose name in Hebrew is Yahshua. We follow the pattern of the early church in Acts 2:44 and 4:32, truly believing everything that is written in the Old and New Covenants of the Bible, and sharing all things in common.

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