Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

Living Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Modern Mythology

  • David A. Leeming
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27771-9_9025-2
Inevitably people ask about the existence of myths today. In some cases, the response is obvious. Scientists, for example, use “thought experiments,” made-up narratives, to explain otherwise inexplicable mysteries of the reality they alone can see or understand. Einstein’s famous relativity-based twin paradox is an example:

There were two twins. One went on a round trip into outer space. When he got home he was younger than his brother, because

His heart, brain, and bloodflow “clocks” had slowed down during the trip. This is because time has a material or “length” aspect.

The space twin was surprised on his return to discover how much older his brother was (Capra 1975, p. 170).

This narrative is a modern “myth,” because although it did not actually happen, it serves as a metaphorical description of a reality which is otherwise difficult to explain, much as Genesis I “explains” creation to Abrahamic peoples or the Persephone myth “explains” the seasons and perhaps a psychological aspect...


Individual Mind Twin Paradox Psychic Life Religious Philosopher Organize Religion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Armstrong, K. (1993). A history of God. New York: Alfred Knopf.Google Scholar
  2. Bateson, G. (1972). Steps to an ecology of the mind. New York: Ballantine Books.Google Scholar
  3. Campbell, J. (1949/1972). The hero with a thousand faces. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Campbell, J. (1968/1970). The masks of God (4 vols). New York: Viking Press.Google Scholar
  5. Capra, F. (1975). The Tao of physics. San Francisco: Shambhala.Google Scholar
  6. Leeming, D. (2002). Myth: A biography of belief. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Lonergan, A., & Richards, C. (1988). Thomas Berry and the new cosmology. Mystic: Twenty-Third Publications.Google Scholar
  8. Lovelock, J. (1979). Gaia: A new look at life on earth. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Murdock, M. (1990). The heroine’s journey. Boston: Shambhala.Google Scholar
  10. Zimmer, H. (1946/1972). Myths and symbols in Indian art and civilization. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ConnecticutStorrsUSA