Carl McColman, in his blog of spirituality, The Website of Unknowing, offers a delicious discussion of a spiritual middle ground between militant fundamentalism and angry atheism, a place of holy agnosticism:
the landscape of the Divine Mystery, where mythical religion need not be entirely dismissed but rather can be rehabilitated into a narrative of personal and collective transfiguration, even if its old truth claims must be re-evaluated in the light of science.
and further described as:
a world where theists and atheists, both of whom know that they know “the truth,” can transcend their limited/partial perspectives and embrace the profound mystery that lies beyond the limits of their knowing.
I have noted before that I am a big fan of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, a civil rights worker in the 60’s and a profound and prolific author. He offers much the same idea in his “depth theology” that suggests:
The grand premise of religion is that man is able to surpass himself; that man who is part of this world may enter into relationship with Him who is greater than the world; that man may lift up his mind and be attached to the absolute … How does one rise above the horizon of the mind? How does one find a way in this world that would lead to an awareness of Him who is beyond this world? It is an act of profound significance that we sense more than we can say … concepts are second thoughts. All conceptualization is symbolization, an act of accommodation of reality to the human mind. Quotations from God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism
Rudolph Bultmann, the giant of 20th century liberal theology and critical Biblical analysis, also chimes in with similar thoughts.
It may be said that myths give to the transcendent reality an immanent, this-worldly objectivity. Myths speak about gods and demons as powers on which man knows himself to be dependent, powers whose favors he needs, powers whose wrath he fears. Myths express the knowledge that man is not master of the world and his life, that the world within which he lives is full of riddles and mysteries and that human life also is full of riddles and mysteries.
While the fundamentalists claim literal truth for their myths and the atheists correctly debunk such claims, the knowing beyond knowing becomes lost. I think what Carl McColman, Rabbi Heschel, and Rudolph Bultmann have in common is the notion that we may celebrate the truth in the myths even as the myths are untrue.