Monday, July 30, 2007

Girard in the Public Square

Chris Morrissey alerts to this well-written piece on religion and Girard in Prospect.


David Nybakke said...


Do you want to place this article in our side panel for easy access in the future?

Athos said...

Sure, Aramis. I wanted to email the following to a certain listing of our acquaintance, but I can't email where I'm presently located. So:

The erasure of distinctions whereby we make judgments, acc. to mimetic theory, is escalating due to the damaging effect of the gospel in history, is it not?

For some who value MT, this is good news. It means the erasure of the prohibitions of the ancient sacred system, along with demythologizing and deritualization of culture. The progressive utopia seems in sight as we knock over the last few taboos that pinch modern western life.

For others who also view things through the MT lens, this is frightening news. It means that we are in the midst of the "sacrificial preparation" leading to a full scale sacrificial crisis, or "crisis of distinctions," that will simply lead western culture back into another sacrificial event -- "satan casting out satan" -- by which the old sacred renews conventional human culture once again.

Do we have the wherewithal to do the former while applying the brakes, so to speak, before it all slides into a malestrom of violence? Some will say this is a false conservative apocalyptic vision; a fearful clinging to sacrificial prohibitions that continue injustice against some -- scapegoat those who we foist such prohibitions upon. Others will say that traditional societies knew that traditional societies knew full well to avoid areas that spark violence that may lead to social meltdown; primarily murder, adultery, and other sexual arrangements other than acceptable marital systems.

With mimetic theory, you "pays your money and you takes your choice." MT doesn't propose. It only diagnoses.

David Nybakke said...

I thought there was much about the article that was well done, and yet ... I felt that he left too many threads dangling and therefore I don't know that he motivates anyone to delve into MT anymore than if they hadn't read the article.

Now with what you have summed up here in this comment the threads are brought together very nicely.

You draw out well the 2 sides of our usual response to the this crisis of distinction. In our discussion with the world we too often, I believe, miss the clincher or substantiation of the Gospel message - the third way - death of the self and a rebirth in Christ.

It is not, like you say, a utopian state or a frightful pit of despair, but by being born anew in Christ we are made in faith, hope and love - the body of Christ - The Church as model for imitation in a self-donating love and praise of God and one another.

Being in THIS model of prayer, issues like choice, decisions and judgments flow out of us from a love and obedience of Christ. So the discussion taking place in the certain list you mentioned, I'm afraid, is marooned - not abiding in prayer and therefore destined to sink in turbulent waters.

Athos said...

What you describe as a third way, Aramis, is what many who delve into mimetic theory do not see. Instead they become stuck in double binds; a push-me pull-you of recrimination, playing victim, victim, whose the best victim, and -- in short, casting out satan. Again.

IMO, what Gil Bailie is attempting in his Cornerstone Forum in general and Emmaus Road Initiatives in particular is this third way: enlightened by MT but not thwarted by its academic constraints.

The Magisterium of the Catholic Church contains all of this "third way" in every possible aspect, period. Gil, James Williams, and others are expert explicators of what the deposit of faith already contains, in much the same way that Girard opened the meaning of the Sacred Scriptures through MT. It is an exciting, and, at times, frustrating time to be part of the process. Particularly when others are hemmed in by allegiance to the sacred via their scriptures or trying to pull down every prohibition in sight in a neo-pagan frenzy.