A Mythology Of Good Against Evil Or Pantheist Value?

In last Sunday’s session of mythological discussion, we saw Joseph Campbell refer to an ancient Zoroastrian tradition that strongly influenced the Christian tradition, in which the perceived wickedness of the world must be resisted. The old habit dies hard.

In our culture, and in our study of culture, we are in the habit of dividing the world into two realms: The sacred and the profane. These realms are understood to be strictly distinct from each other. Sacred items are regarded as sacred as a result of their separation from the realm of the profane. Profane items, for their part, are categorized as such because of their perceived alienation from the sacred.

Sacred items, it is supposed, are rare and difficult to obtain, special because they are not part of our everyday lives. Sacred items are treasured, while profane items are regarded as the reflection of a fundamental moral failing. This way of perceiving sacredness is ancient, having come to us along a chain of cultural transmission that stretches all the way back to Zoroaster.

There is another way of perceiving sacredness, however, one equally as ancient as the Zoroastrian tradition. The pantheist approach considers sacred qualities to be present in every object, no matter how common and apparently ordinary they are. From this perspective, the sacred and profane are only separate in terms of our perception.

Which perspective do you choose… or have you chosen another?

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