Middle Ages
Medieval Religion
Superstitions

Why did the people believe so much in mythology and superstitions during the dark ages?

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11/16/2008

== == The "Dark Ages" or "Middle Ages" are not unique for their superstitions and mythology. There has yet to be a race of human beings that has not produced or embraced a set of superstitions or fables. While indeed such things helped explain the unknown, it was seldom comforting filling the unknown with mysterious beings that were even more threatening.

Many of these mythologies and superstitions were brought over and adapted from the paganism of the barbarian tribes that over the centuries converted and became the Christians of the Middle Ages. In the face of intolerant Christian theology all ancient religions with their gods became superstitious practices that served demons. Since people believed in demons, it was easy to imagine the demons had taken specific forms and identities with which to taunt and injure the human race. What is remarkable is how often European tales speak of religious objects as means of warding off such creatures, often these were metaphors for how Christianity was more powerful than the old gods and pagan practices. The older mythologies speak of potions and protective words, pagan throwbacks, and thus often people that tried such things were associated with paganism and labeled as witches or warlocks since even good pagan charms must come from the devil. Add to this the frailty of life with sickness, famine, war and death a very close reality. Further, the Middle Ages were riddled with wonder workers, both saints and sinners. While the modern age may scoff at some of the claims, thousands witnessed events such as the raising of the dead, healings, weather shifting and strange victories and defeats. Fledging science was often mixed with superstition involving incantations and special ingredients since the knowledge just was not there to think success could be achieved otherwise.

The modern world is just as susceptible to mythology and superstition. In fact, a case could be made that the modern world is absolutely obsessed with such things, just as much if not more than any other time period in history. Just a hundred years ago the city of Los Angeles, so convinced by the blathering of drifter, awarded the man funding and equipment to make an excavation in what is now downtown LA to find the underground city of the Lizard people. He used up the money and disappeared after a week. Seriously, look it up. Apartment buildings are still constructed without a 13th floor. Presidents of recent memory and Prime Ministers, the same who brought us into the technological age, are known to have consulted astrologists. Our newspapers contain horoscopes, our store fronts feature psychics and people base success and failure on certain personal routines, clothes, words and lucky objects. Our mythology now is featured in comic books and TV shows depicting people with astounding abilities, heavenly bodies and impossible wealth. Many would scoff saying that we know such things are not real, yet if one combines all the surgeries, special devices, drugs and foods, dietary programs, seminars we are looking at billions of dollars and hours spent in the pursuit of our gods and goddesses, not to mention the money that is spent on therapy for failing to live the dream.