BLINDED TRIALS: Religion, Stories, and How We Carry Truths
Stories have power. They stick to us in a way that facts simply do not. We humans are fairly cavalier with our facts. We dispose of facts when they they bore us, or when we simply decide we don’t care for them, or when they rub up against things we’d prefer to believe in their place. Like the burs that you unwittingly bring home after a long hike, however, stories sink their teeth into us and hold on tight, even when we are unaware they are doing so. And when they do, they carry their truths with them.
Take, for example, the myths of the native American tribes that lived near my hometown of Portland. The Multnomah, Yakama, Klamath, Puyallup, and Klickitat tribes all have remarkably similar stories regarding the Cascade Mountains that run from Washington to Northern California. Specifically, they have stories about Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainer and Mt. Adams. In these myth-stories, the mountains are not natural formations but rather great gods. These stories are not rational to our modern ear, yet they carried truths with them for generations that more rational narratives could not sustain.