I’m going to use the image of the Trinity as an example of how thinking in Mythos terms can lead to greater understanding. (See 8/6/11 post about Logos, Mythos, and the Literalist heresy.) When one thinks in images or Mythos terms, it doesn’t matter whether something is real in Logos terms. In the 4th century CE, before the Literalist heresy took hold, Gregory of Nyssa [335-395] wrote the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were not objective facts or Logos, but terms we use to express the way the divine nature adapts itself to human minds. [Karen Armstrong, Battle for God p 69.] In other words, the Trinity is true the way Huckleberry Finn is true.
Back in 1994, when I first started coming to our fellowship, I took our former minister Art Wilmot’s class on the religious archetypes in the Wizard of Oz. We learned the Tin Woodman represents love, the Cowardly Lion represents action, and the Scarecrow represents understanding. Art explained these are three ways of approaching life and they recur in human symbology.
In a moment of revelation, I realized the Christian Trinity was another manifestation of this same triad. The Father means love; the Son, action; and the Holy Spirit, understanding. So in the irony of all ironies I came to appreciate the concept of the Trinity at the same time I became a Unitarian Universalist.
Professor Lloyd Geering came to a similar conclusion in an article entitled “Christianity Minus Theism.” He generalizes the concept of Incarnation and suggests, “we are coming to acknowledge a new but secular form of trinity or three-in-one.
1. The creativity in the cosmos itself
2. The human species that cosmic creativity has brought forth
3. The world of knowledge which our collective consciousness has brought forth.”
Geering also points out the image of the Trinity says God is dynamic, ie the Persons are in relationship to each other. In his secular version, the cosmos, human beings, and the world of knowledge are likewise in relationship to each other.
You see, throwing away images like the trinity limits our thinking.