II.III.THE NARRATIVE OR MYTHIC DIMENSION

In very many religions, there are narratives. These narratives may be about the activities of God, gods or other spiritual entities, about the career of a sacred teacher, about the experiences of a religious collectivity, and so on. The narratives in the Jewish and Christian scriptures about the creation of the world, about the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses and about God's leading the people of Israel out of Egypt fit into this category, as do the accounts given in Australian aboriginal religion of the activities of sacred beings in shaping the contours of the land. So, too, do the narratives in Islam about the life of the prophet Muhammad and in Buddhism about the experiences of Gautama (the Buddha). Smart emphasizes that he uses the term "mythic" in a purely technical sense to refer to a narrative which has religious significance. He does not imply that the narrative is necessarily false. In most preliterate cultures, religious beliefs are expressed primarily in narrative form, these narratives being transmitted orally.
 

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