Campbell and Christian denominations

Who was Joseph Campbell? What is a myth? What does "Follow Your Bliss" mean? If you are new to the work of Joseph Campbell, this forum is a good place to start.

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Mr. James
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Post by Mr. James » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

I am a fresh faced philosophy student that has just had his first encounter with Joeseph Cambell and his thoughts on organized religion. Can anyone explain what his thoughts are on how the different denominations of Christianity are tearing the faith apart?
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Post by Martin_Weyers » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Welcome to the forums, Mr. James! I'm not sure if I understand your question correctly. Campbell said in Power of Myth, that he was a little bit tough on faith. "You are a man of faith" says Bill Moyers, and Campbell denies. He stresses experience instead of faith, and this is the mystical approach to religion (though Campbell uses the term mysticism not very often). I think he was tough about faith, because faith is always based on the experience (or ideology) of another one. And Christianity, in the way it is still practised, is more or less based on experiences (and idiologies) of a little tribe, a long time ago, who had to be battlesome to survive in the desert, which was populated with many other battlesome tribes.

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Post by Molly J » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Hi,Mr. James. Being fairly recently disenchanted with my own Christian beliefs, and a Campbell admirer, perhaps I can take a stab at your question. In my reading of Campbell I don't remember him ever expressing concern about the different denominations' effect on the faith. Help me out, Martin and everyone, but Campbell seemed to be concerned in faith itself, in his observation that people of all faiths (not just Christianity) do not understand the mythic connection of all religions, but tend to take the tenets of their particular brand of religion as concrete fact. Which of course causes alot of misunderstanding, wars and prejudice.
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Post by Calaf » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Exactly...he did not make any direct references to differences between the denominations. He did talk about his unhappiness of changes within the Church (at least the Catholic church), what he called the "de-mystifying" of Church procedure: the delivery of the sermon/mass in vernacular rather than Latin, the priest facing the congregation instead of the wall, and on and on.
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Post by bodhibliss » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Though Campbell was known to be hard on Catholicism from time to time, he did seem bemused by so many Protestant sects having turned the rites and liturgy into little more than a lecture - for the most part, not much in the way of imagery at all - no stained glass windows, statues, or paintings.

Campbell, describing one occasion speaking in a Protestant church, trying to explain how Buddhism could be a religion when there is no God included, points out that when looked at from Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Hindu, and other perspectives, in Protestantism there is no God in the sanctuary ...

but his main quibble has already been noted - the tendency to take the myths literally, as history, rather than embracing the metaphorical/mystical significance - but this isn't a criticism he reserves for Protestants alone, nor just Christianity, as this tendency is also found in Judaism, Islam, and some of the popular bhakti sects of Hinduism, and elsewhere.


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