A Christmas message, or does it matter if the Bible is myth? Ask Rudolf Bultmann.
We cannot use electric lights and radios and, in the event of illness, avail ourselves of modern medical and clinical means and at the same time believe in the spirit and wonder world of the New Testament.
Who wrote this about the wonder world of the New Testament? One of the many aggressive atheists who contend with religion these days? No, one of the most distinguished theologians of the twentieth-century, Rudolf Bultmann (1984, p 4). The mythological world of the New Testament was the everyday world of men and women over two thousand years ago. Demons were everywhere, and heaven and hell were real places. Many Christians no longer believe in this magical world. The result is to question the relevance of the gospel. Needed, says Bultmann (1984), is a demythologizing interpretation that retains the truth of the kerygma.
What sense does it make to confess today ‘he descended into hell’ or ‘he ascended into heaven,’ if the confessor no longer shares the underlying mythical world picture of a three-story world? (p 4)
Kerygma (κῆρυγμα) means preaching, and it refers to the message of the gospels. Whatever that is, it’s not the Apostle’s Creed or Nicene Creed; both refer to the three-story world. For Bultmann (1984, p 12), the kerygma refers to God’s decisive act in Christ, above all his death and resurrection. The question of course is why isn’t this just as mythical as a three-story world filled with angels and demons?