The academic definition as given in our texbook is, Ancient narratives that attempt to answer the enduring and fundamental human questions: How did the universe and the world come to be? How did we come to be here? Who are we? What are our proper, necessary, or inescapable roles as we relate to one another and to the world at large? What should our values be? How should we behave? How should we not behave? What are the consequences of behaving and not behaving in such ways? (Leonard & McClure, 2004, p. 1).
In other words, in this sense, myths are the storys that give reason to the questions we have about our social beliefs and moral values.
2.Myths seem to cross cultural barriers in their similarities due to a similar set of questions that we have no scientific answer for. Though religion and mythology give reasons as to why we act the way we do, where we began and what is right and what is wrong in our behavior, we do not have solid proof as to the reasons that these rules for living come from. From the beginning of time for any society, there has been the need to establish a set of rules for establishing acceptible ways of living, and without giving a historical reason based in peoples own history, there is no real way of not having the argument that a people can make up their own set of values based on their own current, individual wants.
3.There is a strong tie between belief, knowledge, myth and religion. Belief can be described as knowledge based on faith, rather than factual data. Myth is story that gives reason as to why we live the way that we do and why we accept the set of values that we live by. Religion is belief in a reasoning as to how and what we believe as fact, and the the history of how we came to be as a true happening. Religion is also what gives rules and consequenses for the ethics and moral rules in which societies use for their way of living.
4.I believe that mythology has a place in contemporary culture as it has been a tremendous part of our history and explains many actions and reactions that our ancestors used in their decision making. From various ceremonies such as weddings and funerals, to old sayings, songs and stories, myth has been an important way in which tradition has been carried down through the generations and across borders into mixed societies. In both teaching their own young, and explaining to and entertaing members of other groups, mythology is a way of telling the story of the history of a culture in a way that is easy for most to understand.
Leonard, S., & McClure, M. (2004). Myth and knowing. An introduction to world mythology . : McGraw-Hill Company.