Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Is it real? Or is it ... a Hoax? Or Memorex? Or Photoshop? Or Myth?

The video in my previous post I think is too important not to comment on it further. Below I have included the link to Father Barron's sermon that the video was drafted from.

Father Barron's sermon regarding the difference between myth and Gospel or as he titles it, The Resurrection of Jesus is Not a Myth

Please give it a listen and understand I fully support his argument, however I believe that sermons like this no longer open the hearts of many people today, just look at this, another intuitive observation from Father Barron.

I want to take off on the last sentence in his last article: "The great good news is that this choice of his cannot be undone by any choice of ours." I BELIEVE THIS, but I seriously do not believe that most, whether non-practicing Christians to even many who will be sitting in pews this coming Sunday, believe it! At least at the level of conventional culture and its education over the last 50 to 60 years. People of the 'West' have been influenced and have bought into such drivel and myth that we have closed ourselves up and are no longer able to hear what Father Barron is alluding to. It may still be scandalous to some but it is time to bring faith and reason together and get to a serious level of talk about violence or what Girard/Bailie talk about when they refer to the mimetic interplay.

There no longer is any excuse not to connect-the-dots between violence, religion and truth!
Let me refer a little to Violence Unveiled by Gil Bailie:

Participants in Western culture have lived for so long under the influence of the biblical ethos that it is difficult for us to fully appreciate its uniqueness. So pervasive is the concern for victims it arouses that there is a tendency for us to think of it as either a natural, universal emotion or a personal moral achievement for which the individual can take credit. Were either of those assumptions the case, Nietzsche would have been simply wrong about Christianity. He wasn’t simply wrong. He was mad. He was totally wrong, but he wasn’t simply wrong. The Christian gospels have done what Nietzsche accused Christianity of doing, though not for the reasons he alleged.
Whatever “natural” empathy for one another we may have under any given set of circumstances, an empathy specifically for victims as victims is a cultural and not a natural phenomenon. Not only is it not a natural emotion; in many cases it is not even a welcomed one. Those in whom this empathy awakens often try to suppress it in favor of more practical and conventional loyalties. Nietzsche was able to see that in those cultures influenced by the biblical tradition this empathy for the victim had gradually become a major historical force, one that was throwing conventional culture into disarray.
Bailie goes on:

We have been unable to recognize the clumsy attempts to revive the sacrificial ethos of pagan antiquity in our world because we haven’t fully understood the anthropological patterns to which these attempts conform. When we catch glimpses of these anthropological patterns, we blink in incredulity or we think them the product of the rich imagination of archaic peoples.
The fact is:

The generic term for the systematic misrecognitions that have veiled the victim’s face and silenced the victim’s voice is myth. If we live at a moment in human history when “history” is no longer able to screen us from the apocalypse, no longer able to explain away the violence it documents, it is because in our day “history” is exhausting the last vestige of its mythological power. In the foreseeable future, neither religious mystification nor the solemn and quasi-religious causes of “history” will sufficiently veil our violence from our own eyes, nor keep us from seeing the faces of our victims.
Fundamentally, human history is a struggle between myth and Gospel. Literature, as it has developed in Western culture, is neither myth (muthos) nor truth (aletheia), it is the textual arena in which the two struggle for the upper hand. What myth conceals, what literature alternately conceals and reveals, and what the Gospel decisively reveals are the social dynamics that produce what Girard calls “the essential complicity between violence and human culture.”
All this means is that myth is still operating at the foundation of our institutions influencing us (as in this post) and is at the heart of what Jesus is saying here:
John 8, 43-47: “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. “But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. “Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? “He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.”
I want to close with a couple quotes from another Girardian, Raymund Schwager and his book, Banished from Eden - Original Sin and Evolutionary Theory in the Drama of Salvation:
"... in the history of humanity, and above all in the history of the Christian message, there appears a dramatic struggle between contending powers, a struggle which in modern times has not abated but has even increased in somewhat more subtle forms. In view of this dramatic struggle we need, on the one hand, a cool clear-sightedness, which does not close its eyes before whatever is hostile and try to argue it away; on the other hand, faith in a real redemption is necessary, so that in the long run negative mechanisms will not be taken for natural occurrences which would be totally unchangeable."
(Read this post)

"In light of the world-spanning media and economic forces, counter-institutions are necessary that are likewise world spanning and are based neither on money nor the fashions of the media world. The Church as such a counter-institution is of course often helpless and powerless; yet it keeps fundamental alternatives open and so, in spite of problems in its own ranks, resists the tendency to gradually substitute marketing strategies for democracy, which in subtle ways revert completely to the friend-enemy distinction. The doctrine of original sin does not create our political problems, but it certainly circumscribes the greatness of the task. It enables us to judge which proposed solutions are realistic, and thus guards us against counterproductive and better consequences of utopian experiments while making clear that only a faith that can move mountains will be able to bring about genuine improvements in history."
(Review here)

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