Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
July 8th, 2016 by Joel Watts

Girard’s collapsible order

Girard is a necessary read during this time. More so, because he understands the role founding myths play in the development of the people.

Girard quote

I’m not going to wax on, but I want to encourage you to read this paragraph and savor it.

It is interesting to note the relationship between order and truth in this understanding. At the beginning of the cycle, in the period when the effects of the founding murder are strongest, cultural differentiation is clearly pronounced and rituals are effective in strengthening it; as a result cultural order is stable. At this point in the cycle the founding lie is firmly believed. As the cycle progresses and imitative mimesis slowly undermines cultural differentiation, the cultural order becomes weaker and the founding myths start to appear less self-evidently true and the mythological and ritual victims less self-evidently guilty. These hints of the truth limit the effectiveness of myth and ritual and so serve to further undermine the cultural order. Thus, in Girard’s system, order and truth appear to be incompatible; to expose the truth about cultural order is to contribute to its collapse.1

Not all orders are worth holding on to, but the Truth always is.

Truth is subversive.

  1. Stephen Finamore, God, Order, and Chaos: René Girard and the Apocalypse (Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2009), 83.
Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).


One Response to “Girard’s collapsible order”
  1. Tom McCann says

    I haven’t read much Girard, which probably accounts for some of my shortcomings. But I will have to say that his thoughts on violence and Christianity are spot-on. We need to demilitarize our religion.
    But, as he suggests, it will be a rough road getting there.

Leave a Reply, Please!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: