Mythos, Logos, And Revelation

By Terrell Clemmons

The Wall Street Journal ran an article in its Life & Style section a few weeks back called, “Man vs. God.” They had commissioned Karen Armstrong and Richard Dawkins to address the question, Where does evolution leave God? You can read the article here

Mythos, Logos, And Revelation

If you’re familiar with an outspoken atheist, Richard Dawkins, you won’t be surprised at his take. Evolution is. God isn’t. End of story.

Karen Armstrong’s response, though, was more artistic. She spoke of two complementary ways of arriving at truth, which the Greeks called mythos and logos. Both were recognized by scholars as legitimate. Logos was reason, logic, intellect. But logos alone couldn’t speak to the deep question human beings ask like, What is the meaning of life? And, Why do bad things happen to good people? For that, she said, people turned to mythos – stories, regardless of whether or not they were true, that helped us make sense out of the difficulties of life. They were therapeutic. We could think of them as an early form of psychology. Here’s what she said:

“Religion was not supposed to provide explanations that lay within the competence of reason but to help us live creatively with realities for which there are no easy solutions and find an interior haven of peace; today, however, many have opted for unsustainable certainty instead. But can we respond religiously to evolutionary theory? Can we use it to recover a more authentic notion of God?

“Darwin made it clear [that] we cannot regard God simply as a divine personality, who single-handedly created the world. This could direct our attention away from the idols of certainty and back to the ‘God beyond God.’ The best theology is a spiritual exercise, akin to poetry.”

Here’s how I understand what she’s saying: Not only is the truth of any religious story irrelevant, it is incorrect to believe any account concerning God as objectively true. To do so is to construct an idol of certainty. How do we know that? Because of the certainty of Darwinian Evolution.

Her response, at the bottom, isn’t very different from the atheist’s. Evolution is. God isn’t. But some of us like to imagine that he is.

The frontrunner in “Man vs. God” according to the Wall Street Journal appears to be unanimous: Man. I’d love to have the platform of the Wall Street Journal, but since I don’t, I’ll just toss out my piece here: God is.

I suggest a third way of knowing truth – revelation. Because if there is a God, he can reveal himself if he so chooses. I like the ideas of mythos and logos. Some people come to believe in God through the portal of mythos. Rituals, stories, and artistic expressions can communicate to the soul in ways words can’t. Others come to know God through the portal of logos. Long time atheist intellectual, Antony Flew renounced his atheism a few years ago after seeing the complex language of DNA. “Intelligence must have been involved,” he said.

But revelation is a whole new realm, and my personal opinion is it only comes to those who want to know. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart,” God said. The real question is, Do you want to know?

For all my friends out there who do believe, I’d love to hear how you came to that place.  Logos? Did God later reveal himself to you in a supernatural way? I suspect there are some great stories that are well worth being told. Here’s a platform. Would you tell it? Or if you don’t want it posted, send it to me in an email.

I believe the winner of Man vs. God will ultimately be God. What do you think?


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5 replies
  1. Susan says:

    I think to frame a relationship with God as either mythos or logos could be to miss out on the relationship.

    The purpose of faith isn’t to explain and that is all Armstong and Dawkins attempt to do. Provide their own explanations as if they are authoritative.
    Dawkins is considered an evolution expert. Armstrong is considered a religious expert yet she gave up being a nun which is a position of relationship for this nominal expert status.

    The truth is the expert on God is God Himself and so He supplied His Word to reveal Himself to those who will receive Him.

    Jesus Christ not mythos or logos is the center of all true religion. And Jesus Christ truly lived. That is a historical fact not subject to myth or people’s misreasoning.

    1 Whoever believes [pisteou, “has faith”] that Jesus is the Christ is born [gennao, “begotten”] of God; and whoever loves the Father loves the child born [begotten] of Him.

    It is all about the individual’s return of God’s supernatural love. Why water down the response and connection with the myth or reasons of other people. Do they control and define you?

    People need to start reasoning more for themselves. You don’t throw away a relationship with God for the misinformed ideas of others. Does any person reason as perfectly as God? if they don’t then rely on God’s answers in His book. He is the all knowing one. People aren’t.

    As for personal supernatural encounters with God I think I have had at least two though every time
    you read the Bible I think you have a supernatural encounter with God.

    At this time I won’t reveal the details of the encounters because the message board is too public and full of people who want to make the
    holy unholy when they should be seeking to get themselves right with God instead of badgering and demeaning those that are doing that.

    Christians will inevitably be persecuted in this world and it is a badge of righteousness but we don’t have to seek to be persecuted. if we are seeking to be righteous then it has a habit of finding us when the one the unrighteous should be seeking is an acquaintance with God.

    Is a Christian God? Of course not. We are just God’s children in training .

    I am disappointed in Armstrong who seems to have gotten confused and lost her way. In seeking to be a worldly expert and quantify other people’s experiences she lost her own relationship with God.

    It could be because she has too much faith in her own reasoning and not enough in God’s as revealed in His Word so she wandered far from His path seeking worldly recognition when in reality only the relationship with God counts.

    But it is not that easy to be in this world but not of this world because of daily circumstances that intrude on us all.

  2. Brandon P Smith says:

    I am a former Engineer from Baltimore, MD. I grew up in church and I was never an atheist, however, I also never cared about what it meant for God to have authority in my life. I believed he existed while living as if I were He. I have always been an intellectual and the very first time I began to question God’s existence and Christianity was back in the early 2000s when Peter Joseph’s Zeitgeist film began to make its rounds. I want to note that I was encouraged to watch that film by one of my College Professors! I was encouraged to watch it because “it held the truth about the fallacious nature of Christianity”. God’s grace and mercy allowed me to immediately see the flaws in EVERY argument made in that film. My next thought was that I should probably read the bible and see what it says since this film seems utterly futile. It was through seeking those answers within scripture that I was introduced to the God of scripture for the first time. Through my mind, God took ahold of my heart. The words or logos (logic) of scripture became so illuminated to me that I could clearly see Jesus be the true logos (word) of God in flesh. God revealed himself to me through the deceit of the world and I know that it came as a result of my earnest desire to find him. His promises are real and he is faithful in fulfilling them. I am now a Pastor in Riverdale, Md and I am profoundly interested in apologetics. I know that Satan uses our Universities as a tool for rebellion against the Lord and I am thankful for Frank Turek and all the other Sisters and Brothers who continue to fight the good fight of the faith, proclaiming the truth of the gospel. Thank you all.

    • bob says:

      @ Brandon
      “…I am profoundly interested in apologetics.”
      Does that mean you actively seek out and welcome discussions with people who do not believe as you do? From my experience, as an atheist, people who claim an interest in apologetics are generally only interested in learning apologetics and discussing it with fellow believers, not in actually practicing what they learn by having dialogue with unbelievers…at least that has been my experience (with few exceptions).
      “I know that Satan uses our Universities as a tool for rebellion…”
      Shouldn’t you say “I believe that Satan…” – because you don’t actually KNOW that Satan even exists…you merely believe that Satan exists…correct?
      “…Satan uses our Universities as a tool for rebellion against the Lord…”
      My gosh – for someone who claims to “…have always been an intellectual…” that is quite a non-intellectual statement. I would say that your statement is quite anti-intellectual and absolutely uninformed.

    • Susan Tan says:

      I am very happy that you allowed God to illuminate your mind, sir. So now you are able to show people the path to enlightenment.

      I am increasingly convinced that this world contains both intuitive and logical people as there is more than one human brain type and many personalities and each person analyzes a bit differently. All of that is a factor in how strongly we stress logic or not in seeking to know God.

      Logic can be a big help in understanding God and His way as long as we keep in perspective that His ways are higher than our ways.

      The difference between intuition and logic may be some of the basis for the difference between presuppositional and other forms of apologetics.

      I think some people reason more to God and some people reason along more with God by reading the scriptures.

      Since the scriptures are our daily spiritual food it could be hard to maintain a sound spiritual mind without as much connection to God through the scriptures as possible. It could be they serve as a kind of spiritual umbilical cord through which God passes knowledge of Himself to us while He recreates a whole new spiritual nature in us through the divine osmosis of knowing Him better in the scriptures.

      But other people blind to this fact like to attack that cord and cut it before they have a true appreciation of exactly who God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are. They do that by exchanging God’s ideas for the world’s then getting stubborn about things.

      How can you reason with someone pre-determined to dismiss God? That is hard to do.

      People need to be open to God to receive Him and that requires humility and genuine love and respect.

      We should be teaching attitudes and seeking to people so they can prove to themselves God exists because most of the God deniers are so busy attacking that they no longer really want God’s proof which is all around us.

      If mankind is still in a creative process where it learns, changes and grows every day then why are people objecting to it. Is a person really willing to interrupt their own spiritual growth for worldly ideas? Wouldn’t it be better to learn to go with God’s spiritual flow and let Him lead us into ever increasing spiritual knowledge? I think so but there are a lot of bad ideas out in the world aimed at disrupting our spiritual births and progression as if the world would like to hinder it. But stay in the scriptures where Jesus can equip a person to overcome. Jesus overcame the world and I am convinced that He send the Holy Spirit to God’s children to equip them to do the same.

      Thanks for reading. God Bless!

  3. Susan Tan says:

    Google and read “The Pagan Origins of the Catholic Church”. For many years as I debated atheists they kept claiming Christianity was sun worship and based on myths.

    It could be they spotted the paganism that tries to take over the church. The mind can be fooled by what it focuses on can’t it?

    That’s why good Christians are obedient to God and study His scriptures so we can’t be so easily fooled by the pagan world.

    Why do Catholics have all those statue idols. See the answer in the article.

    The false prophet got into the church early. John the Apostle warned us about it.


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