A True Myth – Dean Dickens

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If you’re a Christian and have spent any significant amount of time on the internet, you have most definitely read someone mocking the Christian faith. If you’re really lucky, you may have even spotted the type of person who does this by comparing belief in God to belief in Santa and unicorns. Those guys always put a smile on my face; and the inspiration for the name of this blog actually came from an interaction with one such individual.

Once upon a time, in a YouTube comment section, (I know, great way to start a story right?) I made a comment (It was a darker time in my life) about the reliability of the gospel accounts and the testimony of ancient, extra-biblical historians about Jesus of Nazareth. The individual I wrote to replied back and called me a “delusional Christian mythologist.” I thought the insult was pretty creative for an internet troll, not to mention downright hilarious, so it stuck with me for a while. Sometime later, I was reminded of a quote by J.R.R. Tolkien from his essay, “On Fairy Stories.”  The quote reads:

The Gospels contain a fairystory, or a story of a larger kind which embraces all the essence of fairy-stories. They contain many marvels—peculiarly artistic, beautiful, and moving: “mythical” in their perfect, selfcontained significance; and among the marvels is the greatest and most complete conceivable eucatastrophe. But this story has entered History and the primary world; the desire and aspiration of sub-creation has been raised to the fulfillment of Creation. The Birth of Christ is the eucatastrophe of Man’s history. The Resurrection is the eucatastrophe of the story of the Incarnation. This story begins and ends in joy. It has pre-eminently the “inner consistency of reality.” There is no tale ever told that men would rather find was true, and none which so many sceptical men have accepted as true on its own merits. For the Art of it has the supremely convincing tone of Primary Art, that is, of Creation. To reject it leads either to sadness or to wrath.

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Like a boss

The gospel is both true and beautiful. With each passing day, I become more convinced of its’ truth and more enraptured by its’ beauty. The atoning work of Christ is fantastic, the eucatastrophy1 of history. It is not just true, a cold and indifferent fact of reality; but neither is it just myth, fascinating and wonderful, yet utterly false. It is the greatest story ever told, True Myth. So genuine and certain, it moves men to believe. So enchanting and aweful2, it moves men to worship. So beautiful and elegant, it moves men to weeping.

1 A word Tolkien coined meaning, in his own words, “the sudden happy turn in a story which pierces you with a joy that brings tears… because it is a sudden glimpse of Truth.” (J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 89.)
2 Full of awe. It’s a word, I don’t care what the dictionary says.

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