Is it okay or foolish to enjoy reading mythology?

Dec 17, 2018
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Chemung, NY
I am seeking advice on discernment in this question. I grew up loving reading fantasy literature such as Tolkein, Lewis, and even Rowling, Riordan and Paolini. I've also come to the conclusion that Norse mythology, has sories that I've heard before that fascinate me, and I enjoy them. I've wanted to read some of the earliest written works that are the basis of the mythology, such as the poetic/prose eddas. My uneasiness comes from the fact that these stories are some of the direct sources of Germanic paganism. To get to the point, since I would be reading them from the viewpoint of fantasy like the aforementioned authors, my question is:
Is there anything wrong with enjoying mythology through the lense of fantasy as a follower of Christ?
Thanks you!
 

Cturtle

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Feb 11, 2015
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Just to name one... Rowling is witchcraft which is opposite of the Word and against everything Jesus died for. That kind of opposite thinking and renewing your mind with will cause a war and confusion within you and will prohibit you from hearing God clearly.

Will keep you in our prayers
 
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Feb 10, 2015
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A lot of the memes in our culture come from sources like these.

For example, the Greek myths give rise to many sayings and memes in our society.

To have read about Pandora and Pandora's box gives context to such phrases as "that just opened a Pandora's box of consequences".

In both my High School, and later in college, I was required to read (and understand) these. I am glad that I was. It gives cultural context to many things I have encountered, even when the context was far removed from the original source.

A while back there was a question on this site concerning the Divine Comedy by Alighieri. It may have been an attempt to see if anyone recognized it, and it seemed to have been taken down. Regardless of the sincerity of the post, the Comedy, was a Christian work, even though its imagery, and some scenes more explicitly had more in common with the Greeks than straight forward Christian literature.

And there have been a lot of posts with light references to one or more of the StarTreks, as well as Star Wars.

I see little wrong in general, however, one can take these things too seriously, leaving little mental reflection to the higher things of God. One can also fail to note the difference between these works of fiction and Biblical accounts, which we may refer to as 'Biblical Stories', but are truly Histories.

By the way...

You mentioned Lewis. If you mean C. S. Lewis, he was a great Christian author. Even his space trilogy of Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength while being fantastic fiction, along with the Screwtape Letters had Christian lessons as its underlying point. He also wrote such Christian classics as Mere Christianity and the Problem of Pain, etc.
 
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CS Lewis, Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold, provides an example of a Christian who used mythological tales to the service of Christian edification. So reading such material is not wrong in and of itself. What is more important yet than whether or not such and such a practice is wrong per se is to seek God's guidance in the way we use our time. Whether we are before ancient myths of international renown or new myths being produced in our own generation, they can work to help us better understand life as it really is, or to poison our mind in an insidious manner.
 
Dec 17, 2018
2
0
1
19
Chemung, NY
A lot of the memes in our culture come from sources like these.

For example, the Greek myths give rise to many sayings and memes in our society.

To have read about Pandora and Pandora's box gives context to such phrases as "that just opened a Pandora's box of consequences".

In both my High School, and later in college, I was required to read (and understand) these. I am glad that I was. It gives cultural context to many things I have encountered, even when the context was far removed from the original source.

A while back there was a question on this site concerning the Divine Comedy by Alighieri. It may have been an attempt to see if anyone recognized it, and it seemed to have been taken down. Regardless of the sincerity of the post, the Comedy, was a Christian work, even though its imagery, and some scenes more explicitly had more in common with the Greeks than straight forward Christian literature.

And there have been a lot of posts with light references to one or more of the StarTreks, as well as Star Wars.

I see little wrong in general, however, one can take these things too seriously, leaving little mental reflection to the higher things of God. One can also fail to note the difference between these works of fiction and Biblical accounts, which we may refer to as 'Biblical Stories', but are truly Histories.

By the way...

You mentioned Lewis. If you mean C. S. Lewis, he was a great Christian author. Even his space trilogy of Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength while being fantastic fiction, along with the Screwtape Letters had Christian lessons as its underlying point. He also wrote such Christian classics as Mere Christianity and the Problem of Pain, etc.
I have a started to collect C.S. Lewis's works, powerfully written indeed!
 
You might want to listen to John Piper's Can Christians Benefit from Books by Nonbelievers? and/or read the transcript at the bottom of the audio.


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Apr 13, 2019
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You are mixing several topics. Fiction is fiction, not true, just entertainment. Mythology is the study of ancient stories, and that includes a lot of stories that are in the bible. For example, Noah's flood is recorded by tribes all around the world.

You don't have to read many pages in history to realize that the sky above the Earth looked very different just a few thousand years ago. You might wonder why the ancients named their god after a planet that most people now can't even point to. Well, they were quite explicit about that: they didn't worship gods named for planets, they worshiped the planets. In ancient days, Jupiter and Saturn dominated the sky, and Venus and Mars put on quite a show for a long time.

Here is a careful investigation of ancient myths and legends, considering stories in hundreds of languages from all over the world and going back to 10,500 BC. It is very long, and it is still in progress. http://www.saturniancosmology.org/

This link goes to an ebook. You may download it for free. There is no solicitation to buy anything.
 
Feb 5, 2019
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Miami, FL
You are mixing several topics. Fiction is fiction, not true, just entertainment. Mythology is the study of ancient stories, and that includes a lot of stories that are in the bible. For example, Noah's flood is recorded by tribes all around the world.

You don't have to read many pages in history to realize that the sky above the Earth looked very different just a few thousand years ago. You might wonder why the ancients named their god after a planet that most people now can't even point to. Well, they were quite explicit about that: they didn't worship gods named for planets, they worshiped the planets. In ancient days, Jupiter and Saturn dominated the sky, and Venus and Mars put on quite a show for a long time.

Here is a careful investigation of ancient myths and legends, considering stories in hundreds of languages from all over the world and going back to 10,500 BC. It is very long, and it is still in progress. http://www.saturniancosmology.org/

This link goes to an ebook. You may download it for free. There is no solicitation to buy anything.
Greetings all, sorry to get in the mix, but I find the topic interesting. After almost 40 years of claiming to be agnostic, I finally heard the knock on the door and have regained the gift of faith. As I go about growing into this new station, I have many questions. One such question is close to this topic, but more about entertainment as a whole. Is it wrong for a Christian to enjoy watching shows like The Walking Dead? I mean, I know it is science fiction and I watch purely from an entertainment perspective. On a similar note, I am retired military and like guns. I actually do not hunt, but like to go to the gun range and maintain my prior military training. Is that wrong? I have a concealed gun permit and am usually armed when I go about walking this all too violent and hate-filled earth. Is that wrong? I have life-long friends who are not at the same point, spiritually, as I am. In fact, a couple can be considered agnostic. Is that wrong?

rtm3039
 
Apr 13, 2019
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65
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Yuma, AZ USA
Greetings all, sorry to get in the mix, but I find the topic interesting. After almost 40 years of claiming to be agnostic, I finally heard the knock on the door and have regained the gift of faith. As I go about growing into this new station, I have many questions. One such question is close to this topic, but more about entertainment as a whole. Is it wrong for a Christian to enjoy watching shows like The Walking Dead? I mean, I know it is science fiction and I watch purely from an entertainment perspective. On a similar note, I am retired military and like guns. I actually do not hunt, but like to go to the gun range and maintain my prior military training. Is that wrong? I have a concealed gun permit and am usually armed when I go about walking this all too violent and hate-filled earth. Is that wrong? I have life-long friends who are not at the same point, spiritually, as I am. In fact, a couple can be considered agnostic. Is that wrong?

rtm3039
Read a chapter of Proverbs every day. Proverbs has 31 chapters so you can keep your place by just looking at a calendar. There is no religion or nothing in Proverbs and you don't have to believe anything. Just read to find wisdom. When you are comfortable with that, then read the bible from Romans to 2 Thessalonians over and over until you start to remember what it says. That is the part that applies to Christians. Answers to your questions are found in Romans.
 
Feb 5, 2019
293
244
43
Miami, FL
Read a chapter of Proverbs every day. Proverbs has 31 chapters so you can keep your place by just looking at a calendar. There is no religion or nothing in Proverbs and you don't have to believe anything. Just read to find wisdom. When you are comfortable with that, then read the bible from Romans to 2 Thessalonians over and over until you start to remember what it says. That is the part that applies to Christians. Answers to your questions are found in Romans.
"I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them." (Romans 16:17 (NIV))
 
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Dec 19, 2014
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Librarian here.

Ive found over the years as my faith has grown from a tiny seed...that my interest in the things of God and His word has grown and the things I used to enjoy to read has shrunk...because His joy is my strength now.

As far as myths and legends go. I dont dismiss them but they are not my first love. God now comes first.

This is not to say there are no elements of 'fantasy' as we know it in the Bible. There are many references to creatures that dont exist or have gone extinct and age old practices that are no longer around today. The Bible is an ancient book.

It has its fair share of giants, dragons, other realms, and sorcery. There are references to paganism and idolatry.

Modern fantasy is derivative and essentially is fictional retellings. My advice would be to really focus on the Bible and enjoy what God has to say to you. He is the author of our faith and can be trusted. He is the one who gives us dreams and visions.

All those other authors you mention, are they inspired or just spinning a tale out of their own imaginations. Just put it to the Lord and He will give you peace about what you read.