Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Girard - Why only in the Christian tradition?

René Girard in I See Satan Fall Like Lightning pp 186-187.

Why is the true principle of demystification stated fully only in one religious tradition, the Christian tradition? Isn't this intolerably unfair in the era of "pluralism" and "multiculturalism"? Isn't the main thing to make no one jealous or envious? Aren't we supposed to sacrifice truth to the peace of the world in order to avoid the terrible wars of religion for which we must get ready everywhere, so it is said, if we are going to defend what we believe to be the truth?

To respond to these questions I will let Giuseppe Fornari speak:

The fact that we possess a cognitive tool unknown to the Greeks does not mean we have the right to think ourselves better than they and the same is true in regard to non-Christian cultures. Christianity's power of penetration has not been its particular cultural identity but its capacity to redeem the whole history of man, summing up and surpassing all its sacrificial forms. This is the real spiritual metalanguage that can describe and go beyond the language of violence.... This explains the prodigiously rapid spread of Christianity in the pagan world, absorbing the living force of its symbols and customs.

The Giuseppe Fornari quote is from "Labyrinthine Strategies of Sacrifice: The Cretans by Euripides," Contagion (spring 1997): 187.

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