Myth is truth that is more than factual truth. Empirical data compiled by research, applied by trial and error, is an attempt to develop information reliable enough to put a method in the field. Only when one discovers the exception to the rule he formulates (the bend in time or the medical exception or the one that got away) does it develop that one has actually accumulated a series of anecdotes that may deviate at some uncomfortable points. At those unpredictable points in the data stream, one returns to myth, believing in the Greater Truth behind the fallible data.
Myth is not false because it is myth. In point of fact, the intuitive leap required to make contact with myth may be the least fallible action of knowing. Senses fool us, authorities mislead us, memory fails us, experience, well, my goodness, you know what experience does for us and that leaves us with intuition, the a priori knowledge we arrive at without empirical evidence to support our belief/faith/intuitive system.
For instance, the muscular, evangelistic atheists of the Millenial generation operate out of a mythological system based on Western, Christian values, all the while insisting God is not great, the Church is bankrupt and evil and religion, any religion is the source of all the world's evils. They are half-right, half-wrong and their error is mostly the failure to see where they stand.
With apologies to Harold Bloom, who insists there is no Judeo-Christian hybrid religion, for one can be only one or the other, and the first a classicist and the second a knave, I presuppose even the muscular atheists of our day stand on the Judeo-Christian world view. That is, they believe the Original Myth, in the whole wrapper.
For instance, imagine a Man and a Woman, set naked in a perfect Garden, serenely unaware of their vulnerable position vis-a-vis covering. The one thing they know is they are in perfect cooperation with the Divine.
Now, this idea of Original Man and Woman is not antithetical to scientific proof, such as scientific verifiablity can be said to be. In fact, anthropologists expend enourmous amounts of energy tracking our racial ancestors down through time to the First Mother, a woman they call "Lucy." She comes down to us as "Eve," but we can debate names once we find her. All the racial DNA evidence, we are told, points to a single maternal parental gene pool, and if chromosomes are destiny, we think it not wasteful to find the source of our genetic material.
Simply put, the search for origins is part of the a priori reasoning that compels us to myth telling, if we accept myth as the meta-narrative. The meta-narrative is the Greater Story, the One told around the campfires at night when the wild wolves howl just outside the circle of light, it seems, and when the children need solace against those things that go bump in the night.
The church, when it was the Church, before it became the Sacred Monster, fueled on its meta-narrative, the Story behind the story, or, better, the Story wrapped around the story, suffusing the details with meaning beyond who ate what when, going beyond the details to tell what we were doing there in the First Place.
Original Man and Woman we see depicted as perfectly naked and unafraid, clearly seen by one another and the Divine Creator. Man and Woman are intentional acts by the Cosmos, the One we call God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, describable but thoroughly undecipherable apart from the meta-narrative, the Judeo-Christian mythological statement.
Man as Intentional Being is the basis for Western culture. We eschew fatalism because God loves Man. Nihilism gives way to Logical Positivism, which in turn loses its place to Christian Realism, wherein we insist that Jesus Christ came to us from outside ourselves to show us eternal truths we could not find on our own. Man is and can know that God is because Man is compelled a priori to consider God who is God and to seek God until we are reasonably certain God both hears and acts.
I say that even the muscular atheists of our day stand on this Myth because they exhibit faithful hope. They get up in the morning, nourish their bodies and fill their minds. They behave exactly as Christians or our co-religionists, even insisting on their doctrinal statements in support of their unbelief.
For instance, the Free Thinkers actively oppose evil, as Christians are taught to do. Along with our unbelieving fellow travelers, we live as though evil is to be hunted down, exposed and rooted out of the human experience. Individual evil, corporate irresponsbility, malfeasance in office; all these evil things we hate and we oppose them, according to our Original Myth, that evil is wrong and wrong is bad and bad is to be opposed by the good, lest we lie down with the evil and rise up with the same poor conscience.
The Church, when it was the Church, before it became the Sacred Monster, fueled by its doctrines with its myths, its meta-narratives. The Church, when it was the Church, looked behind the Who, What, Where, When and How to the Why and What's the Big Deal?
So, the Church, in its meta-narrative taught Masculinity as Self-Sacrifice and Femininity as the Perfected Ideal-The Graceful Form as Gracious Person. The church, as Sacred Monster, compartmentalized gender, making masculinity status/privilege and so raped the Perfect Ideal. Graciousness died and the Sacred Monster killed her.
Our meta-narrative, as hard as it is to get, has the pure blood of our faith, purged from its later immuno-viruses, ready to flow at the moment we tap into it. For many of our churches, the local expression of the meta-narrative, it is everlastingly too late. For the next generation of potential believers, it is just about time.