Four-leaf clover, Scottish shortbread, Busby Babes, Baba Yaga, Manifest Destiny, and....

Four-leaf clover, Scottish shortbread, Busby Babes, Baba Yaga, Manifest Destiny, and the Ancient Egyptians’ concept of the human soul

If we accept the OED's definition that belief is an acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof do we agree the above qualify as echoes and artefacts of belief?
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Comments

  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    If Manifest Destiny is a belief, so is every other idiotic notion used to justify imperialism.
  • Colin SmithColin Smith Shipmate
    edited March 16
    Ruth wrote: »
    If Manifest Destiny is a belief, so is every other idiotic notion used to justify imperialism.

    Agreed. There is a close connection between manifest Destiny and Scottish shortbread in that they are both tied up with beliefs regarding national identity.

    This painting embodies what I'm referring to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Progress
  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    If "Scottish shortbread" can be defined as "shortbread made by a Scot," then I object to the classification of this delicacy as some sort of "belief." It's an actual, physical manifestation of cookery, and my granddad, born in Scotland, was a dab hand at making it.
  • Ohher wrote: »
    If "Scottish shortbread" can be defined as "shortbread made by a Scot," then I object to the classification of this delicacy as some sort of "belief." It's an actual, physical manifestation of cookery, and my granddad, born in Scotland, was a dab hand at making it.

    It is a "physical manifestation of cookery" but like the communion wafer it is something more than the sum of its ingredients. Otherwise why is it put in tartan wrappers and posh tins with Scottish castles on the lid and sold at a premium?
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    Scottish shortbread in a tartan tin is a cultural symbol and an identity marker. But to be an artifact of belief like a communion wafer it would have to have a liturgical significance in a religious ritual.
  • Colin SmithColin Smith Shipmate
    edited March 16
    Rublev wrote: »
    Scottish shortbread in a tartan tin is a cultural symbol and an identity marker. But to be an artifact of belief like a communion wafer it would have to have a liturgical significance in a religious ritual.

    I don't agree. Belief includes identity, superstition, mythology, and much more. Culture itself is a manifestation of the belief that one group of people is distinct from another.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    edited March 16
    Religious belief needs to resonate with a sacred story. So if the gospels had said that Jesus had taken shortbread and brake it and gave it unto them saying 'This is my body', then it would be a religious symbol or an article of belief.
  • Rublev wrote: »
    Religious belief needs to resonate with a sacred story. So if the gospels had said that Jesus had taken shortbread and brake it and gave it unto them saying 'This is my body', then it would be a religious symbol or an article of belief.

    But religious belief is only one kind of belief. Lucky mascots involve no religion but are a form of belief. The prevalent notion that things were better in the old days is a belief. Christianity, along with all its accoutrements, is only one variety of belief out of many thousands. The Christian God is only one of many thousands of gods worshipped by man.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    Ohher wrote: »
    If "Scottish shortbread" can be defined as "shortbread made by a Scot," then I object to the classification of this delicacy as some sort of "belief." It's an actual, physical manifestation of cookery, and my granddad, born in Scotland, was a dab hand at making it.

    It is a "physical manifestation of cookery" but like the communion wafer it is something more than the sum of its ingredients. Otherwise why is it put in tartan wrappers and posh tins with Scottish castles on the lid and sold at a premium?

    Because it works, and the bakers want to make a profit off it?
  • mousethief wrote: »
    Because it works, and the bakers want to make a profit off it?

    Of course. But why does it work? I suggest it works because it appeals to people's beliefs about what Scotland is.
  • It also tastes good. Which is why it probably sells better than haggis ...

    (Actually, haggis tastes good too)
  • It also tastes good. Which is why it probably sells better than haggis ...

    (Actually, haggis tastes good too)

    I always find it disappointing, tbh. Too sugary and dry. I am wondering when we might discuss something on the list other than shortbread....
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    Because it works, and the bakers want to make a profit off it?

    Of course. But why does it work? I suggest it works because it appeals to people's beliefs about what Scotland is.

    Of course. But so what? I associate tartans with Scotland because that is where the tartans I first learned about came from. I association cream cheese and lox with Philadelphia for the same reason (it doesn't hurt that the leading brand of cream cheese in this country is called "Philadelphia"). What do any of these have to do with religion?
  • FirenzeFirenze Heaven Host
    I am wondering when we might discuss something on the list other than shortbread....

    Tablet?

    It’s a bit Round Britain Quiz* - ‘What connects a botanical sport, a Caledonian biscuit, some footballers, a Slavic witch and the Wild West? Cardiff?’

    ‘Would I be right in thinking Rosenkavalier?’

    So to answer your question, I don’t agree that all of these illuminate a single phenomenon. I think you need to rejig the OP - or reconcile yourself to a long thread on regional bakery goods.

    *dear dead Sunday afternoons listening to the radio
  • why is [Scottish shortbread] put in tartan wrappers and posh tins with Scottish castles on the lid and sold at a premium?
    Because it's a demonstrable fact that tartan and castles on the tin makes the shortbread taste better.
  • SusanDorisSusanDoris Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    Because it works, and the bakers want to make a profit off it?

    Of course. But why does it work? I suggest it works because it appeals to people's beliefs about what Scotland is.
    In that case, and in all other cases involving an actual something, the belief is based on a whole range of facts, with the infinite ability of the human brain to imagine absolutely anything adding the narrative the need for which is a survival trait, is it not?

  • Jengie JonJengie Jon Shipmate
    edited March 16
    Four-leaf clover, Scottish shortbread, Busby Babes, Baba Yaga, Manifest Destiny, and the Ancient Egyptians’ concept of the human soul

    If we accept the OED's definition that belief is an acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof do we agree the above qualify as echoes and artefacts of belief?

    No, I do not accept the OED's definition. I have spent too long reading the debate about the precise nature of belief, particularly religious belief, to know that any definition that is two lines long misleads as much as it informs.

    After being forced to do it for my PhD I came away with the conclusion that I do not believe in 'belief'. It is a word that covers so many different meanings within Western Culture that other cultures do not see as the same, and as such it really does not cover a coherent idea.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    It also tastes good. Which is why it probably sells better than haggis ...

    (Actually, haggis tastes good too)

    Haggis is AWESOME. If you get the lungs right they baa.
  • BroJamesBroJames Shipmate
    Better still, it’s a demonstrable fact that these peripherals to shortbread persuade people to pay mor for it.
  • SusanDorisSusanDoris Shipmate
    BroJames wrote: »
    Better still, it’s a demonstrable fact that these peripherals to shortbread persuade people to pay mor for it.
    Ah, yes, a good way of saving money I find is that I never buy it - I don't like shortbread!!
  • SusanDoris wrote: »
    I don't like shortbread!!
    Sacrilege!
  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    SusanDoris wrote: »
    BroJames wrote: »
    Better still, it’s a demonstrable fact that these peripherals to shortbread persuade people to pay mor for it.
    Ah, yes, a good way of saving money I find is that I never buy it - I don't like shortbread!!

    Is OUTRAGE!

    Shortbread, made with fresh unsalted butter, is food for gods I don't believe in. Also for me.
  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    I think we have to conclude that shortbread is a red herring (metaphor!), unless you want to include under beliefs all advertising and possibly poetry. The human brain links up all sorts of ideas. If I see a shortbread package with a tartan on it, to me it means I'm not looking at Oreos or Fig Newtons. "Love is a journey" and “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players” are metaphors. If I love someone I don't necessarily think it will take going long distances in the process, and I don't remember joining Actor's Equity to be a card-carrying citizen of the world. I don't see these things as beliefs.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    edited March 16
    Returning to the OP, to me, only,
    "Manifest Destiny, and the Ancient Egyptians’ concept of the human soul"
    count as matters of belief - in that there might be people, or have been people, who lived by them or as though they were true.

    The others aren't even similar to each other.
    - The four leaf clover is a symbol, short-hand for 'the luck of the Irish'.
    - Shortbread is a food, like Scotch and haggis, of Scottish origin but widely eaten elsewhere, often marketed with references to Scotland on the packaging.
    - Busby Babes were some footballers.
    - Baba Yaga I had to look up. She seems to be a character from folklore. She might just count as a matter of belief if she was ever anything more than somebody to frighten children to get them to behave. I'd say not, though, as those invoking her would have been people who knew perfectly well that she was fiction.

    Besides, shortbread exists and in their time the Busby Babes did exist.

    So, having dismissed four of these as qualifying
    "as echoes and artefacts of belief"
    what's actually the question about the other two? What am I, as a Shipmate, being invited to reflect upon and perhaps make a comment about, please?
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    Enoch wrote: »
    So, having dismissed four of these as qualifying
    "as echoes and artefacts of belief"
    what's actually the question about the other two? What am I, as a Shipmate, being invited to reflect upon and perhaps make a comment about, please?

    The desperation of some atheists to denigrate theism?
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host
    why is [Scottish shortbread] put in tartan wrappers and posh tins with Scottish castles on the lid and sold at a premium?
    Because it's a demonstrable fact that tartan and castles on the tin makes the shortbread taste better.
    And today's winner of the Interweb is ...

    <drum roll>

    Mr. Cresswell! :mrgreen:
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    Enoch wrote: »
    - The four leaf clover is a symbol, short-hand for 'the luck of the Irish'.

    Is it? I was under the impression that the symbol of Ireland was the shamrock, which has three leaves or lobes, not four. The reason being that according to legend St. Patrick used it to explain the Trinity to the locals. The four-leaf clover is quite independent of this, and of Ireland, and is lucky because it's rare.
  • balaambalaam Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    edited March 16
    BroJames wrote: »
    Better still, it’s a demonstrable fact that these peripherals to shortbread persuade people to pay mor for it.

    Tourists by stuff like this. I tend to go for things with Scotch written on the label.

    Our shortbread is home baked, so it's not really Scottish shortbread, although it says Scottish on the recipe.

  • Dave WDave W Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    Enoch wrote: »
    - The four leaf clover is a symbol, short-hand for 'the luck of the Irish'.

    Is it? I was under the impression that the symbol of Ireland was the shamrock, which has three leaves or lobes, not four. The reason being that according to legend St. Patrick used it to explain the Trinity to the locals. The four-leaf clover is quite independent of this, and of Ireland, and is lucky because it's rare.
    Some kind of heresy, sounds like - the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost, and Biff, Christ's childhood pal.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    I believe Guinness is good for you, and I believe you have to get that pint down your neck quickly because Guinness goes off. The first is an advertising success story. The second is fact based upon diligent personal research by myself and my life coach. Four leaf clovers can feck off, in the sense meant in Father Ted, whatever that might be.

    I also believe that Enoch, above, has the right of the debate.
  • mousethief wrote: »

    Of course. But so what? I associate tartans with Scotland because that is where the tartans I first learned about came from. I association cream cheese and lox with Philadelphia for the same reason (it doesn't hurt that the leading brand of cream cheese in this country is called "Philadelphia"). What do any of these have to do with religion?

    Everything. Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Cargo Cults, Odinism, luck mascots, holy relics, signifiers of national and cultural identity, ley lines, past lives, and all the rest of it fal under the general heading of stuff that (some) people believe in.

    I approach all belief from the position of anthropology and comparative mythology.


    In the case of Scottish shortbread and its marketing it's all part of the Scottish mythology invented, or re-invented by Walter Scott. Hence Scottish shortbread comes in tartan wrappers or tartan tins with Scottish castles on the lid.
  • Firenze wrote: »
    I am wondering when we might discuss something on the list other than shortbread....

    Tablet?

    It’s a bit Round Britain Quiz* - ‘What connects a botanical sport, a Caledonian biscuit, some footballers, a Slavic witch and the Wild West? Cardiff?’

    ‘Would I be right in thinking Rosenkavalier?’

    So to answer your question, I don’t agree that all of these illuminate a single phenomenon. I think you need to rejig the OP - or reconcile yourself to a long thread on regional bakery goods.

    *dear dead Sunday afternoons listening to the radio

    From the viewpoint of comparative mythology I regard all these as symbols of belief.

    The Busby Babes, for example, are an example of a lost Golden Generation and relate to Hesiod's concept of a Golden Age. The belief in a Golden Age so much greater than our time is very prevalent.
  • Firenze wrote: »

    It’s a bit Round Britain Quiz* - ‘What connects a botanical sport, a Caledonian biscuit, some footballers, a Slavic witch and the Wild West? Cardiff?’

    ‘Would I be right in thinking Rosenkavalier?’

    So to answer your question, I don’t agree that all of these illuminate a single phenomenon. I think you need to rejig the OP - or reconcile yourself to a long thread on regional bakery goods.

    *dear dead Sunday afternoons listening to the radio

    But I've already given you the answer to the "quiz". To me, all these are echoes and artefacts of belief.
  • SusanDoris wrote: »
    [quote="Colin Smith;c-124708"

    In that case, and in all other cases involving an actual something, the belief is based on a whole range of facts, with the infinite ability of the human brain to imagine absolutely anything adding the narrative the need for which is a survival trait, is it not?

    Yes. Belief is based on a whole range of things.
  • mousethief wrote: »

    The desperation of some atheists to denigrate theism?

    I have no interest in denigrating theism. Go and take your irritation with atheists on the ship elsewhere.
  • Enoch wrote: »
    Returning to the OP, to me, only,
    "Manifest Destiny, and the Ancient Egyptians’ concept of the human soul"
    count as matters of belief - in that there might be people, or have been people, who lived by them or as though they were true.

    The others aren't even similar to each other.
    - The four leaf clover is a symbol, short-hand for 'the luck of the Irish'.
    - Shortbread is a food, like Scotch and haggis, of Scottish origin but widely eaten elsewhere, often marketed with references to Scotland on the packaging.
    - Busby Babes were some footballers.
    - Baba Yaga I had to look up. She seems to be a character from folklore. She might just count as a matter of belief if she was ever anything more than somebody to frighten children to get them to behave. I'd say not, though, as those invoking her would have been people who knew perfectly well that she was fiction.

    Besides, shortbread exists and in their time the Busby Babes did exist.

    So, having dismissed four of these as qualifying
    "as echoes and artefacts of belief"
    what's actually the question about the other two? What am I, as a Shipmate, being invited to reflect upon and perhaps make a comment about, please?

    The four leaf clover is a lucky charm. Lucky charms and other totems of good fortune are artefacts of belief.
    Scottish shortbread is a symbol of national identity. National identity in the sense that the people of one nation share a distinct identity different from the people of another nation, is a myth.
    The Busby Babes are an example of a lost or Golden Generation who were cut down in their prime. The belief in an earlier Golden Age or that things have declined since some Golden period in the past is very common. It is the basis of Trump's slogan, Make America Great Again, and lies behind much of the desire for Brexit.
    Baba Yaga is a figure from folklore. All folklore is a low form of belief.
    The last item on my list wouldn't fit in the title so I copied it in the first post. The Ancient Egyptians’ concept of the human soul is obviously a belief.

    I was hoping for some reflection on the broad nature of belief and the way some beliefs reappear time and time again in different forms.
  • Lyda wrote: »
    I think we have to conclude that shortbread is a red herring (metaphor!), unless you want to include under beliefs all advertising and possibly poetry. The human brain links up all sorts of ideas. If I see a shortbread package with a tartan on it, to me it means I'm not looking at Oreos or Fig Newtons. "Love is a journey" and “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players” are metaphors. If I love someone I don't necessarily think it will take going long distances in the process, and I don't remember joining Actor's Equity to be a card-carrying citizen of the world. I don't see these things as beliefs.

    Shortbread isn't a red herring at all. I could have written tartan instead. The key word there is Scottish.
  • Jengie Jon wrote: »
    No, I do not accept the OED's definition. I have spent too long reading the debate about the precise nature of belief, particularly religious belief, to know that any definition that is two lines long misleads as much as it informs.

    After being forced to do it for my PhD I came away with the conclusion that I do not believe in 'belief'. It is a word that covers so many different meanings within Western Culture that other cultures do not see as the same, and as such it really does not cover a coherent idea.

    I thought the OED is gospel.

    For me, belief covers everything that people believe or have ever believed in. If a child believes in Baba Yaga then it is a belief even if the parent knows it to be false and is only using it to stop the child wandering into the forest.
  • My approach to belief, which I was hoping to explore here, concerns comparative mythology in which different characters, artefacts, and stories from many cultures and periods, are compared.
  • Dave W wrote: »
    Some kind of heresy, sounds like - the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost, and Biff, Christ's childhood pal.

    Thanks for that. Ordered it from the library. I knew of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas and have borrowed bits from it for writing. Lamb looks interesting.
  • RussRuss Shipmate
    "Belief" has shades of meaning. One way of looking at it is to distinguish "belief in" from "belief that".

    Lots of the propositions that you and I think (believe that) are true are based on evidence, and our degree of certainty in and commitment to those propositions is proportional to the evidence.

    But someone who says they believe in capital punishment does not mean that they think it exists; they mean that they have a degree of commitment (to its efficacy in deterring crime ? to the justice of it ?) that goes beyond the available evidence.

    Your list seems somewhat uneven.

    Seems to me there is ample evidence for the existence of Scottish shortbread, and for the proposition that it is a traditional Scottish food.

    That a four-leaf clover is lucky, or that Baba Yaga is alive today somewhere deep in the forest, or that the human soul exists as the Ancient Egyptians conceived of it (with its need for stuff in the afterlife that could be met by burying the goods with the mummified body) are propositions that some people seem to have believed in - held with a degree of certainty that goes beyond the evidence. When most of us here wouldn't.

    But if your parents tell you that Baba Yaga lives in the forest, that may for a child be adequate evidence for believing that this is true...

    Manifest Destiny is an odd one - something like a self-fulfilling prophecy ?

    Not convinced that you have a well-defined category here...




  • Russ wrote: »
    "Belief" has shades of meaning. One way of looking at it is to distinguish "belief in" from "belief that".

    Lots of the propositions that you and I think (believe that) are true are based on evidence, and our degree of certainty in and commitment to those propositions is proportional to the evidence.

    But someone who says they believe in capital punishment does not mean that they think it exists; they mean that they have a degree of commitment (to its efficacy in deterring crime ? to the justice of it ?) that goes beyond the available evidence.

    Your list seems somewhat uneven.

    Seems to me there is ample evidence for the existence of Scottish shortbread, and for the proposition that it is a traditional Scottish food.

    That a four-leaf clover is lucky, or that Baba Yaga is alive today somewhere deep in the forest, or that the human soul exists as the Ancient Egyptians conceived of it (with its need for stuff in the afterlife that could be met by burying the goods with the mummified body) are propositions that some people seem to have believed in - held with a degree of certainty that goes beyond the evidence. When most of us here wouldn't.

    But if your parents tell you that Baba Yaga lives in the forest, that may for a child be adequate evidence for believing that this is true...

    Manifest Destiny is an odd one - something like a self-fulfilling prophecy ?

    Not convinced that you have a well-defined category here...

    I wasn't trying to find something well-defined. Quite the opposite actually: I wanted to show how broad and ill-defined belief is.

    In my view, belief isn't confined to what is commonly, or even uncommonly, believed in today but includes everything that has ever been believed in. That a belief has been overturned by more recent knowledge, as with alchemy, doesn't mean it is any less of a belief.

    Manifest Destiny does seem to have been believed in and even, according to this painting, given God's seal of approval. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Progress#/media/File:American_Progress_(John_Gast_painting).jpg
  • FirenzeFirenze Heaven Host
    I sort of see what you’re getting at, but it’s stretching the concept of ‘belief’ until the elastic snaps.

    Picking one thread out of the tangle - the widespread occurence of the Golden Age/Edenic/Trailing Clouds of Glory meme. I would describe that not so much as a Belief as an articulation of a troubling sense of loss common to humanity. Loss of what? Favourite candidates are early childhood or even pre-birth. It intertwines with another strand - regret at transitoriness:

    Brightness falls from the air
    Queens have died young and fair

    Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
    What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
    It ís the blight man was born for,
    It is Margaret you mourn for.
    etc etc

    Which, in turns, melds with diminishments of age and the realisation that was as good as it got, and it’s not going to get any better.
  • Firenze wrote: »
    I sort of see what you’re getting at, but it’s stretching the concept of ‘belief’ until the elastic snaps.

    Picking one thread out of the tangle - the widespread occurence of the Golden Age/Edenic/Trailing Clouds of Glory meme. I would describe that not so much as a Belief as an articulation of a troubling sense of loss common to humanity. Loss of what? Favourite candidates are early childhood or even pre-birth. It intertwines with another strand - regret at transitoriness:

    Brightness falls from the air
    Queens have died young and fair

    Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
    What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
    It ís the blight man was born for,
    It is Margaret you mourn for.
    etc etc

    Which, in turns, melds with diminishments of age and the realisation that was as good as it got, and it’s not going to get any better.

    I agree the elastic is taut! Or rather, I think there is no elastic and that belief shades into the everyday without an obvious boundary.

    I would turn what you said around a bit and say that belief in a Golden Age comes from a troubling sense of loss common to humanity and further that all belief stems from human psychological needs and anxieties.

    As an aside, some of my thinking on this comes from working in studios and workshops with radio 2 on in the background. Steve Wright had a slot where listeners could send in a playlist of their favourite songs and it was striking how often their favourite songs all came from a very small span of years. It was as though their Golden Age of music began at around the age of fifteen and ended at the onset of adult responsibilities!
  • SusanDorisSusanDoris Shipmate
    edited March 17
    SusanDoris wrote: »
    [quote="Colin Smith;c-124708"

    In that case, and in all other cases involving an actual something, the belief is based on a whole range of facts, with the infinite ability of the human brain to imagine absolutely anything adding the narrative the need for which is a survival trait, is it not?
    A few posts back, you mention a need to worship. Seems to me this could fairly plausibly be traced back to a behaviour which was a need to follow, obey and do things for those who were mostlikely to be one's protectors and therefore to enhance survival.
    Yes. Belief is based on a whole range of things.
  • SusanDorisSusanDoris Shipmate
    Apologies - bit of a hiccup there with the tags. I hope it is reasonably cler which is me!
  • SusanDoris wrote: »
    A few posts back, you mention a need to worship. Seems to me this could fairly plausibly be traced back to a behaviour which was a need to follow, obey and do things for those who were most likely to be one's protectors and therefore to enhance survival.

    Certainly belief is something that has evolved, just as our morality has evolved. We might also assume, given belief is found everywhere, that it serves a useful purpose. Humans seem to be well-adapted to finding patterns and that has been crucial to our survival and our huge success. Not all the patterns we have found have any substance in reality but we are still prone to believing them to be true.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    One avenue you could try exploring is comparative anthropology. Nigel Barley wrote The Innocent Anthropologist to describe his attempt to understand the beliefs and customs of the Dowayo of the Cameroons. At first he found it difficult to get them to articulate why they believed what they did:

    Why do you do this?
    The ancestors told us.
    Why did they tell you?
    Because it is good.

    Finally he discovered that the meaning of their rituals (such as circumcision) were explained for them by their sacred stories. It's the same thing with the Greek gods and their cycle of myths. And Judaism and Christianity and the Bible.
  • Rublev wrote: »
    One avenue you could try exploring is comparative anthropology. Nigel Barley wrote The Innocent Anthropologist to describe his attempt to understand the beliefs and customs of the Dowayo of the Cameroons. At first he found it difficult to get them to articulate why they believed what they did:

    Why do you do this?
    The ancestors told us.
    Why did they tell you?
    Because it is good.

    Finally he discovered that the meaning of their rituals (such as circumcision) were explained for them by their sacred stories. It's the same thing with the Greek gods and their cycle of myths. And Judaism and Christianity and the Bible.

    I've not heard of comparative anthropology but do like comparative mythology, which may be a sub-division of comparative anthropology. This post was intended as a look at belief from a comparative mythological perspective.

    I suspect belief does need a supporting narrative of some kind, whether the narrative is an external one or an internal narrative. Sometimes, though, the narrative may be lost in the mists. There is an explanation for why faeries, etcetera, are afraid of iron but none I'm aware of for why the can't cross running water.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    edited March 17
    Beliefs, artefacts and stories are all in dialogue together in human culture. Jonathan Sacks says that unless human life resonates with a sacred story it feels meaningless. Which is why sacred stories occur in many different times and cultures. Without them it is difficult to interpret the belief systems of a past society.

    A future archaeologist who excavated a church building would probably conclude that it was built by sun worshippers because they face East. But Christianity took that idea from Origen as a sign of the resurrection and the sun rising in the East. Without the Bible you couldn't make that connection between material culture and belief.
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