Is Christianity a myth?

Question:

Hey Mr. Jeffrey,

I'm taking a philosophy class, and we are studying how the Greeks used mythology in the past to make sense of their world. I asked the professor to explain what a myth is and he said "a story you don't believe." I knew I could've picked that answer apart, but I let it go. Then he went on to list different myths, to which he included "The Father, the Son, the Spirit. Myth!"

I know he is wrong, but I was thinking about the impressionable students who probably take his word as fact. What approach or questions could I have asked to have him better explain himself? My thoughts were: So if myth is just what you said it is, then it is purely subjective to the individual. How can you objectively prove something is a myth, if it is "merely a story you don't believe?" I don't know if that's a good route or not.


Answer:

It is an excellent route. It would be the one I would pick. What is missing from his definition is whether a story contains facts or not. Facts can be verified, myths cannot be verified. One aspect of the definition of a myth is: "a person or thing having only an imaginary or unverifiable existence" [Merriam-Webster Dictionary].

By his definition, people going to the moon is a myth, at least to some, because they don't believe it. Yet, it is never a myth because the facts can be verified.

While he disbelieves Christianity, it too offers facts that be judged and verified. ""Present your case," the LORD says. "Bring forward your strong arguments," The King of Jacob says. Let them bring forth and declare to us what is going to take place; as for the former events, declare what they were, that we may consider them and know their outcome. Or announce to us what is coming; declare the things that are going to come afterward, that we may know that you are gods; indeed, do good or evil, that we may anxiously look about us and fear together. Behold, you are of no account, and your work amounts to nothing; he who chooses you is an abomination" (Isaiah 41:21-24). That he personally has a problem with Christianity does not make it a myth.

If you want to have some fun, you could point out that this lecture must be a myth because you don't believe it.