Chapter

Living Narratives

Christian Smith

in Moral, Believing Animals

Published in print July 2003 | ISBN: 9780195162028
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849673 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195162028.003.0004
Living Narratives

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The earliest humans huddled around fires to listen to shamans and elders telling imaginative stories by which they made sense of their world and their lives in it. They told myths about the world's origins, and about how they as people came to be. In modern times, through progress, enlightenment, and cultural evolution, human now possess positive knowledge, scientific facts, and rational analysis. This is the dominant narrative by which modern humans make sense of their world and the purpose of their lives in it. This chapter raises question about the truth of this dominant narration. The point is that for all of their science, rationality, and technology, modern human beings are no less the makers, tellers, and believers of narrative construals of existence, history, and purpose than were their forefathers.

Keywords: earliest humans; enlightenment; cultural evolution; modern humans; narration

Chapter.  12141 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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