Burn the Boats on the Beach
Burn the Boats on the Beach By Bionic Mosquito for Lew Rockwell
René Girard begins Part 5 of his CBC interviews with a comment straight out of Jordan Peterson when the latter confronts Sam Harris and other celebrity atheists:
We think we live in a secular society, but this is imaginary. There is no society without religion, because without religion society cannot exist. What we live in today is a form of Christianity that we do not recognize.
The celebrity atheists and others who are trying to build a religion that is not a religion are all trying to recreate that which came from Christianity: The Golden Rule (which other traditions also recognize) and that all men are made in the image of God (which other traditions do not recognize). They want these foundations, without the One who built the foundations.
Girard continues, offering an interesting interpretation of Matthew 10:
34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.
Why would Jesus create division and discord? Girard offers: order was created and maintained by channeling hatred toward scapegoats. Ritual violence institutionalizes this practice. Jesus challenges this system, announcing the innocence of all sacrificial victims. Jesus removes the possibility of ritual sacrifice as a means of bringing peace.
But this brings the violence to the fore, into the open. Thus, we are left with a choice: either we are going to love each other or we are going to die.
This is how Girard sees the apocalypse. When we no longer sacrifice and also refuse to repent, violence will grow worse. The apocalypse (Daniel, Revelation, Jesus, etc.) is read as fire coming from Heaven – God’s judgement on man. But what it actually foresees is the raging of human violence when it is neither checked by sacrifice or by Christian love. The ultimate violence comes from man’s sin, not from God. Today, the apocalypse is either ignored or blasphemously turned into a tool for Christian support of Middle East war.
It is believed that violence comes from differences – if we just do away with borders, cultures, traditions – the purpose of borders is to keep violence inside and protect from violence from the outside. Without borders, nothing will contain or prevent violence.
Here again Girard’s views mesh with those of Peterson, this time on the necessity of borders.
Girard returns to the self-critical nature of Christianity, the call to always examine one’s heart relative to Christian love: