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The Fundamentalist Narrative

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The Fundamentalist Narrative

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Faith, symbols and myths are elemental in any form of religion. They play a critical role of enabling the individuals to not only understand the values and virtues they believe in but also deduce vital meanings that guide them in their day to day living. Notably, almost all forms of faith have numerous symbols that are employed in worship. Myths in religion are also fundamental as they enable the respective believers to understand the origin of their faith. Considering the fact that religion is a very sensitive aspect of human life, it is imperative for one to acknowledge the origins of the same. This does not only give one a chance to participate in the same actively, but it also makes sure that the individual develops confidence in the particular teachings provided by the religion.

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In this consideration therefore, it can not be disputed that symbols and myths interplay to provide a framework upon which faith is based. The resultant faith then forms the core of any religion as it defines all aspects of the same. It is in this regard that this paper provides an explicit analysis regarding the relationship between faith, symbols and myths. In order to enhance a harmonic analysis, it will analyze the particular functions and roles of each and how they interlay and augment each other to enable individuals understand and appreciate the various meanings that are related to their religions.

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In his consultative review, Nash indicates that all religions have various symbols that have various meanings (45). These symbols take various forms that range from natural phenomenon, actions, events, archetypes and art work amongst others. The symbols also present compelling ideals and information that is central in worship and religion. Furthermore, they contribute significantly to creation of important myths that are employed in religious teachings. Myths define the origin of various faiths and their credibility is largely defined by the symbols. Seemingly, various myths tend to revolve around the relative symbols that are employed in worship. In this respect therefore, it can be argued that myths would be meaningless without the use of symbols. In addition, studies contend that symbols are important in formulation of myths. In other words, they are considered the origin of the different myths that various religions employ. Therefore, it can be posited that without symbols, myths could be non existent.

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Tillish asserts that symbols define various values and virtues that specific adherents employ in worship (115). A classic example in this regard can be considered to be the symbol of the crucifix that Christians employ in worship. In his study, Campbell particularly singles out the catholic religion and contends that it derives various meanings from the crucifix (56). For example, adherents of the catholic faith consider that the crucifix strongly implies various virtues and values such as responsibility, love, honesty and peace amongst others. Specifically, it is indicated that by dying on the cross, Christ assumed the responsibility for human sins. It therefore implies that Catholic Christians need to exercise love in order to appreciate the effort made by Christ in paying for the sins. Notably, the crucifix has been used in this respect to shape the myth that is central to Christian faith-the death and resurrection of Christ.

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At this juncture, it can also be argued that the symbols are important in defining various morals and values that are upheld by different religions. Certainly, values and virtues such as love, respect, responsibility and honesty as implied in the preceding illustration are deduced from the symbols. These are also important because the relative values are employed in governance in the particular society. Studies assert that the values provided by religion are used in the formulation of different laws and regulations that are used in present day governance. This is due to the fact that they are similar and tend to reflect similar ideals that are upheld by different religions. Considering the fact that religion is central in the society and is vitally important and relatively influential and effective in molding behavior, it was deemed important to mainstream its values and teachings in governance.

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Further, symbols are important in worship because of their ability to enhance the relationship between the adherents and the object of worship. In this regard, Tillich ascertains that symbols enable the divine to understand the nature of the un divine and vice versa (119). It is because they are considered to be a representation of the truth that the adherents believe in. They perpetuate this truth through active participation in the different meanings that they represent. In particular, they accredit the teachings of the divine and make the un divine to appreciate the same. This close relationship is critical because it reinforces the particular faith of the adherents.

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In his review, Nash ascertains that religious symbols are important because they act as a constant reminder to the adherents regarding the persons that played a critical role in shaping their faiths. This then make them to acknowledge the role that such individuals played in the same (88). As such, the adherents in most instances tend to further the ideas that were presented by the prominent personalities that shape that faith. For instance, Christians often tend to remember the role of Christ in the formulation of the Christian faith whenever they see a cross. Also, the Sikhs are often reminded of the persons that fought for their faith through the symbols of Kara or khanda. Usually, they often take up the responsibility of protecting their faith as a way of appreciating the role played by the historical persons.

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Myths also play a fundamental role in religion and help individuals to deduce meanings that are related to faith. They constitute religious stories that seek to define how various things came in to existence. In his review, Nash asserts that they often mainstream the aspects of a higher power and place great reference to gods and sacred creatures (96). In addition, they are usually specific to certain religions and mainly reflect the values perpetuated by the respective religion. Myths thus explain the origins of various faiths. This usually enables the adherents to appreciate their faiths and have confidence in the implications of the teachings employed in the same. For instance, the myth of creation in the Christian faith is fundamental because it gives the Christians a sense of belonging. In this regard, studies cite that they have a chance to appreciate the fact that they came from some definite place and would return to the same after death. This sense of belonging is important as it enables the Christians to have a reason of living

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In addition, it gives them a sense of confidence as they appreciate the role of the higher power in their wellbeing. This has various implications on their wellbeing with the most profound being the fact that just like the symbols, they provide guidance to their faith. In this regard, studies indicate that the stories provided in the myths have invaluable teachings regarding the values and virtues that Christians need to uphold.

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In addition, they provide a logical representation of various events that happened in the past and the factors that contributed to the same. For example, the Sodom and Gomora myth in the Old Testament bible provide a coherent explanation of various events that happened at that particular time, the causes of the same and how the same contributed to the downfall of humanity. In particular, the myth argues that humanity was destroyed because of its failure to uphold the ideals that had been prescribed by God and availed to them by the various prophets. Christians deduce various meanings from this and the meanings play a fundamental role in shaping their character. In this respect, it is certain that failure to follow the teachings of the higher power can have detrimental implications on the holistic wellbeing of the adherents. As such, the Christians make efforts to uphold the teachings of faith in order to prevent similar implications in future. This according to studios goes a long way in enhancing accountability of the adherents. They become responsible for their activities and believe that trey would be rewarded accordingly by the higher power.

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Thus symbols and myths are fundamental in faith and have various implications on the same. In addition, Tillich argues that the relationship between the symbols and myths is important. In particular, it is posited that a weak relationship between these two has far reaching implications on an individual’s faith (112). For instance, if there is a weak relationship between the two, this is likely to culminate in the disregard of the entire faith by the adherents. Nevertheless, Nash contests this and assert that a weakness in the relationship tends to challenge the adherents to make viable connections (101). Nonetheless, the negative effects that this has on the faith are likely to compromise the confidence of the adherents.

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Also, in order for faith to yield optimal results, there has to be a balance between the effect of myths and symbols on the individuals. Campbell indicates that undue emphasis on one aspect has the capacity to undermine the effectiveness and importance of faith in the lives of an individual. If a certain religion uses numerous symbols it would have limited time to understand the meanings of the myths and vice versa. Generally, it is often imperative to have a balance between the two and ensure that adherents derive possible optimal meanings from the same.

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Works Cited

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Robert, Nash. Faith Hype and Clarity. USA: Teachers College Press, 1998

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Paul, Tillich. Dynamics of Faith. USA: HarperOne, 2001.

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Joseph Campbell. Power of Myth. USA: Anchor, 1991.

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