Joseph Campbell and Comparative Religions

Essay by Bill DwyerCollege, UndergraduateB+, January 1996

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In the beginning there was darkness. Then there was light. Then there was

consciousness. Then there were questions and then there was religion. Religions

sprouted up all over the world as a response to some of humanity's most troubling

questions and fears. Why are we here? Where do we come from? Why does the world

and nature act as it does? What happens when you die?

Religions tended to answer all these questions with stories of gods and goddesses

and other supernatural forces that were beyond the understanding of humans. Magic, in

it's essence, were the powers wielded by these superior beings that caused the

unexplainable to happen.

Fast forward a few thousand years to the present. In our age and time there is

little left unexplained. Science seems able to explain everything with mathematical logic

and concrete evidence right before our very eyes. The subject of science is taught in

almost every school on Earth.

Gone are the days of magic and wonder. The magic of so-

called magicians like David Copperfield are a jest. When people attend a magic show

everyone looks for the invisible wires and hidden projectors. No one really believes the

magician has supernatural powers, except for maybe a handful of children in the audience

who still have faith in Santa Clause.

Science does seem to explain all. It has enabled humans to fly, cure incurable

diseases, explore the depths of the oceans, stave off death, walk on the moon and wipe out

entire civilizations with the push of a button. It is becoming more and more widespread in

that people are putting their faith in science above that in the gods. What parent wouldn't

rather bring their sick child to a doctor than have faith in the healing power of some

mystical entity that...