Mythic thinking

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I never imagined I’d be writing to agree (slightly) with Richard Lucas, but I did feel a slight twinge of sympathy when Alan Hinnrichs (Letters, 3 October) attacked him for apparently believing in virgin births, evil snakes and talking donkeys, not to mention global flooding. (The last phenomenon actually does have scientific evidence to support it, but that’s another story).

The point was made some time ago by the ever reasonable theologian – and ex-nun – Karen Armstrong, who drew attention to two ways of thinking which she called logic thinking and mythic thinking. The former embraces science and the latter the deep truths about the human condition. Both are “true” but the confusion comes when we use these ways of thinking to deal with the wrong issues.

Carl Jung also drew attention to archetypal stories and themes running through human experience – he was technically a religious believer but stopped short, as most of us do, in positing a god figure who is a souped-up version of an angry human.

I recently took part in an internet discussion about the nature of existence – how creation might have occurred – and it was wonderful to have an interesting and polite exchange between atheists and believers, recognising that if or until we reach the next dimension, none of us will be able to prove our claims. Although I have to admit a certain fondness for the talking donkey…

(Dr) Mary Brown

Dalvenie Road