THE PLACE AND IMPORTANCE OF MYTOLOGY IN RELIGIOUS LIFE

Abstract

Author(s): Ali ALBAYRAK

Religion is as old an institution as the history of humanity. For it started with mankind. It is also possible to trace the history of mythology to as back as the history of humanity. The reason for this is that mythology is entirely a product of man and has always been the solution of the imagination in face of all human needs. Mythologies related to faith were formed as a result of attempts to make more intelligible the abstract concepts of religion, stemming from the interpretation of religions or the necessity of humans to concretize. Hence, mythology has been a human-dimensional perception and explanation of religion since ancient times. These humanistic conceptions have particularly penetrated the Jewish and Christian holy books and lead to the creation of rich mythological material within them. Although no such thing comes into question for the Qur'an, there are many mythological elements in the perception of Islam by the people, especially in folk beliefs. There has always been a close relationship between religion and mythology, both in the past and at present. In any period of history; myths, which are sacred stories existing or believed to have existed in the beginning, are not born only from intellectual processes. They also originate from deep human emotions. However, myths are also plainly defined as the expression of emotions. Here, what is meant by the expression of feeling is not the feeling itself but rather the feeling as transformed into an image. The symbolic narration also expresses the objectification of emotions. Yet, the matter at hand is not an individual phenomenon, but a social one. In other words, a myth expresses the objectification of a person's social life and not his individual life. The examination of myths as scientific experiment or scientific text seems rather inaccurate. This is because their reason for existence is not to put forward any kind of information; but to maintain cultural heritage by turning emotions, thoughts, beliefs and social activities, together with their social appearances, into the lifestyle of collective humans. In this respect, myths primarily fulfill a function responsible for the continuity of tradition and the perpetuity of culture.

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