Here are a few definitions and explanations to help understand what we're talking about regarding the Mythicist Position.
"Natural theology is a branch of theology based on reason and ordinary experience, explaining the gods rationally, as part of the physical world. Thus it is distinguished from revealed theology (or revealed religion ) which is based on scripture and religious experiences of various kinds; and also from transcendental theology..."
"Marcus Terentius Varro (116-27 BC) in his (lost) Antiquitates rerum humanarum et divinarum established a distinction of three kinds of theology: civil (political) (theologia civilis), natural (physical) (theologia naturalis) and mythical (theologia mythica). The theologians of civil theology are "the people", asking how the gods relate to daily life and the state (imperial cult). The theologians of natural theology are the philosophers, asking for the nature of the gods, and the theologians of mythical theology are the poets, crafting mythology. The terminology entered Stoic tradition and is used by Augustine of Hippo."
: "Theology founded on observation or knowledge of the celestial bodies" ... such as the sun, moon, planets, stars, constellations and milky way etc. created by William Derham in 1714
Astrotheology: "Theology founded on observation or knowledge of the celestial bodies, such as the sun, moon, planets, stars, constellations, earth, etc."
--Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998
"astrotheology: theology or religious systems based on the observation of stars..."
--"The Aldrich Dictionary of Phobias and Other Word Families," p. 93.
"astrotheology, theology founded on the stars"
--"Hartrampf's Vocabulary Builder," p. 156.
"Archaeologists are generally agreed that the dominant ideas embodied in the Roman funerary ritual came from the astrotheology of Babylonia and Syria..."
--Francis Hobart Herrick, "The American Eagle: A Study in Natural and Civil History," p. 200.
"Astral Mythology - Or 'star mythology.' From the Greek. The corpus of myths in which stars play a role, particularly as divinities or gods in astral configuration... In agragrian and especially in highly advanced cultures (such as Babylon, Egypt, Mexico) astral mythologies arose surrounding the sun, the moon, planets, and individual groups of stars."
--Udo Becker, Lance W. Garmer, "The Continuum Encyclopedia of Symbols," p. 28.
Towards the bottom of this link one will find an interesting entry in the Jewish Encyclopedia on the, Star Worship of the Ancient IsraelitesAstrotheology of the AncientsStar-Worship (Astrolatry, Sabaism)
"The sun, moon, planets and stars have been worshipped as gods in a number of cultures. Star-worship evolves from the awe felt at the beauty, regularity, mystery and power of the heavenly bodies (especially of the sun) and in response to their effect, real or imagined, on terrestrial and human life. The sun and moon, in particular, are perceived as the givers of time (time being measures by their motions) and the sun as the regulator of the cycle of the seasons. Star-worship usually accompanies, indeed triggers, the early development of astronomy and calendrics and sanctions the parallel growth of A strology. This was certainly so in Mesopotamia in the last two millennia bce [10: i–iii ] and in Central America among the Maya [9: v ]. Star-worship probably underlies the prehistoric megalithic astronomical sites of northern Europe [9: ii–iii ; e.g. Stonehenge] and similar sites in North America [9: iv ; e.g. the Big Horn medicine wheel]. From Mesopotamia star-worship passed into Graeco-Roman culture . Sun-worship became, in the 3rd century ce , something of an official religion in the Roman empire, contemporary ideology seeing in the divine emperor (Emperor-worship ) a terrestrial counterpart of the sun as sovereign of the universe. At the same time Mithras was worshipped as a solar god (see Mithraism) and his mysteries incorporated much arcane astral lore."
"Astrolatry is the worship of stars and other heavenly bodies as deities, or the association of deities with heavenly bodies. The most common instances of this are sun gods and moon gods in polytheistic systems worldwide. Also notable is the association of the planets with deities in Babylonian, and hence in Greco-Roman religion, viz. Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn."* Archaeoastronomy
: "The branch of archaeology that deals with the apparent use by prehistoric civilizations of astronomical techniques to establish the seasons or the cycle of the year, esp. as evidenced in the construction of megaliths and other ritual structures."
"The study of the knowledge, interpretations, and practices of ancient cultures regarding celestial objects or phenomena. The branch of archaeology that deals with the apparent use by prehistoric civilizations of astronomical techniques to establish the seasons or the cycle of the year, esp. as evidenced in the construction of megaliths and other ritual structures."
A famous example of archaeoastronomy would be Stonehenge. But there are countless others from around the world
. You may also find examples of astrotheology & archaeoastronomy here
and much more throughout this forum.
"At Stonehenge in England and Carnac in France, in Egypt and Yucatan, across the whole face of the earth are found mysterious ruins of ancient monuments, monuments with astronomical significance. These relics of other times are as accessible as the American Midwest and as remote as the jungles of Guatemala. Some of them were built according to celestial alignments; others were actually precision astronomical observatories... Careful observation of the celestial rhythms was compellingly important to early peoples, and their expertise, in some respects, was not equaled in Europe until three thousand years later."* Mythicist
— Dr. Edwin Krupp, In Search of Ancient Astronomies, page xiii
Astronomer, Archaeoastronomer & Director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles
: "A person who views various figures of antiquity, including both pagan gods and major biblical characters, as mythical. Moreover, a mythicist may also recognize the origins of these myths as being based in nature worship and what is called "astrotheology."
It's wise to be more clear on what we mean by the word "myth" too:* Myth
: "a traditional or legendary story, usually concerning some being or hero or event, with or without a determinable basis of fact or a natural explanation, esp. one that is concerned with deities or demigods and explains some practice, rite, or phenomenon of nature
"A myth is a traditional story, especially one concerning the early history of a people or explaining some natural
or social phenomenon
, and typically involving supernatural beings or events."
"A traditional, typically ancient story dealing with supernatural beings, ancestors, or heroes that serves as a fundamental type in the worldview of a people, as by explaining aspects of the natural world
or delineating the psychology, customs, or ideals of society"
"Myths are "stories about divine beings, generally arranged in a coherent system; they are revered as true and sacred; they are endorsed by rulers and priests; and closely linked to religion. Once this link is broken, and the actors in the story are not regarded as gods but as human heroes, giants or fairies, it is no longer a myth but a folktale. Where the central actor is divine but the story is trivial ... the result is religious legend, not myth." [J. Simpson & S. Roud, "Dictionary of English Folklore," Oxford, 2000, p.254]"
"A story of great but unknown age which originally embodied a belief regarding some fact or phenomenon of experience, and in which often the forces of nature and of the soul are personified; an ancient legend of a god, a hero, the origin of a race, etc.; a wonder story of prehistoric origin; a popular fable which is, or has been, received as historical."http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/myth
Myth - "a myth is a sacred story concerning the origins of the world or how the world and the creatures in it came to be in their present form. The active beings in myths are generally gods and heroes. Myths often are said to take place before recorded history begins. In saying that a myth is a sacred narrative, what is meant is that a myth is believed to be true by people who attach religious or spiritual significance to it. Use of the term by scholars does not imply that the narrative is either true or false."http://www.reference.com/search?q=mythhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MythAnthropomorphism
: "Attribution of human motivation, characteristics, or behavior to inanimate objects, animals, or natural phenomena."http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropomorphism
The Value of Mythicism
"Mythicism has much to offer to those who find it difficult to believe in the gospel story as "history" but who wish to know the deeper meaning behind the story. Indeed, the mythicist position importantly serves as a bridge between theism and atheism, as it does not seek to discount or denigrate the long and exalted history of thought concerning religion and mythology, dating back many thousands of years, as manifested in the religious and spiritual practices of man beginning millennia ago and continuing since then. The pinnacle of mythicist cultures—more specifically those based on astrotheology—can be seen in the massive and mysterious civilization of Egypt, for example. Rather than being ignored and dismissed, such wondrous creations should be explored and treasured as unique and glorious contributions to the overall human accomplishment."
"One criticism as concerns the mythicist position is that it has not been taken seriously by mainstream academia because it is "absurd." In the first place, what is more "absurd," accepting the fabulous fairytales of a particular culture as being "historical" without a shred of credible, scientific evidence, or suspecting these tall tales to be along the same lines as those of other cultures, such as the Sumerian, Babylonian, Egyptian, Greek and Roman, which are currently accepted as being myths? When it comes to the gods of all other cultures, including those of the ancient religions and extending to those still in currency in "modern" faiths such as Hinduism, Christians and mainstream non-Christian and atheistic scholars alike are in agreement that these entities are myths. Hercules, Zeus, Athena, Neptune, Diana, Ganesha, Hanuman—these are all myths. Therefore, as concerns the non-biblical characters in religions globally for eons, Christians and mainstream scholars are mythicists. It is only the biblical figures who receive special consideration and pleading. In reality, in dismissing mythicism, Christian believers are in effect negating themselves."http://www.stellarhousepublishing.com/mythicist.html