Today's Wisdom

Those who do not pass from the experience of the cross to the truth of the resurrection condemn themselves to despair! For we cannot encounter God without first crucifying our narrow notions of a god who reflects only our own understanding of omnipotence and power
Pope Francis

Friday, July 29, 2016

Today's Myths

Weighing the good and bad in the violence attributed to religion, the famed René Girard concluded in his theory of mimetic rivalry and the scapegoat, that world religions in their sacred texts, whether ancient or more recent, were, in a way, myths in their stand against the victim scapegoat except that the Gospels narrate the opposite stand of God's love where the scripture writers witness to the innocence of the scapegoat Jesus of Nazareth in his crucifixion and death, powerfully shown in his resurrection. This witness told the truth that Girard finally came to believe in spite of widespread criticism of the Christian faith in the 20th, and 21st centuries. The reader may wish to read him here:
When he passed away in November 2015, the highly-popular Bishop Robert Barron wrote about the philosopher Girard, possibly a "Church Father", here:
Today, there is more to mimetic rivalry than meets the eyes.  The recent killing of Fr. Hamel that turned the world's attention again to France did not happen in a vacuum. The extremists slit his throat as he was saying Mass while they performed a  Muslim prayer around the altar mocking the Christian witnesses. As BBC reported, the extremists were found to be affiliated with the terrorist organization of the Islamic State that promised the infidels of the West, as much as others who do not follow their interpretation of Islam in the Middle East, to shortly meet the fate of innocents and martyrs who were killed in earlier massacres sometimes carried out by "lone wolves" in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Radical Islam is seen also in Turkey's Erdogan who sends weapons to the IS and fights the Kurds...Fear fills him...
Of particular interest in the political rivalry, the recent game played by Turkey's president Erdogan around the military coup to ousted him can be reconstructed to reveal his will to dictate upon world leaders his desire to become the new Ottoman Caliph, as if he has the right to do so. First he is on vacation and is "surprised" by the army's coup in Turkey that he rushes back to gather his Party's supporters who in turn outnumber the resistance and finally give him full control over Turkey. Erdogan seems to have engineered the whole stage, first making peace with Russia and Israel to guarantee that they will not oppose him. Then, upon his return, he turned against America and the European Union first pretending that America's Administration did not cooperate with him to extradite his Turkish enemy living in Pennsylvania for years back to Turkey to be tried for treason.  When this failed, he threatened to remove the American military bases from Turkey. Having already arrested over 8,000 from his opposition and the military who dared to revolt against him, he now got the Turkish Parliament to quickly restore capital punishment for anyone who opposes him. This measure was only part of a show off to the West that Turkish law will have no consideration for human rights as in Europe. It is dictatorship that resembles theocratic governments in Arab/Islamic countries of the Saudi King and other rulers in Qatar and Iran  who continue to export their radical views to the West.
Erdogan reserved his second punch to the European Union, already wounded by the British exit. In an interview on July 26, he accused the EU (read Merkel ?) of not keeping their financial commitments promised to Turkey in the March Agreement (Readers will find it here: while the Pro-Erdogan Turks in Cologne Germany are staging a big demonstration on July 31 in support of Erdogan on German soil! (here: Some moderate leaders echoing German's feelings, such as Andreas Scheuer of the CSU, expressed their dismay saying that people who want to get involved in Turkish domestic politics are welcome to leave Germany and return to Turkey! Since Erdogan always wanted the EU to accept Turkey as a member, his attitude shows his long-standing desire to assimilate part of it into the "Turkish Empire" at his own terms. It is the promise of grandeur that once possessed Gamal Abdel-Nasser of Pan-Arabism and Saddam Hussein of the Grand Baath! It is the same that Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khameini keeps making in view of a nuclear agreement with the Obama Administration that removed sanctions against Iran and allows him to expand Iran's nuclear power. But Erdogan's dream is shared by another dictator: Russia's Putin. Putin wants half of Europe or so to be under his control. For him, these countries who left the Communist umbrella belong to Russia and can't be controlled by Western powers. He too wants to have NATO members remove their sanctions against Russia since the latter invaded Crimea. Germany's Merkel used to be the lead negotiator with Russia. Now she has her own problems - enough to keep her up at night trying to lead a fractured EU (here:
Can we apply Girard's Mimetic Theory to the rivalry between Russia and Turkey to take part of Europe or rather divide Europe? Both Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin recognized their admiration for each other. Trump went on record that if elected President of the U.S., he will withdraw from NATO and at that point NATO will effectively cease to exist. This will work well with Putin's strategy.
To focus, Putin is against a united Europe. He wants a share for Russia's control. Erdogan is against a united Europe. He has already gone on record that he rejects the way the EU has handled the refugee crisis with Turkey and opposed to European laws for human rights, he is on the verge of restoring capital punishment for his opponents if found guilty by the Turkish judiciary.
The object is Europe alive or dead. The model is Putin, a long-experienced "fox". Dictator Erdogan mimics dictator Putin for full access to Europe (economic benefits from superior industries and better life of freedom in Europe). Each is self-serving. The tension that arises from mimetic desire is dealt with through the scapegoating mechanism. The scapegoat here, let us conclude, is the weak EU. But this does not go well with Obama who wants America to control Europe and nothing for Russia especially since Putin became his enemy and supports the Republican nominee Donald Trump. On July 27, wikileaks released hacked voicemails of the National Democratic Convention (DNC) in which Bernie Sanders was weakened to let Hillary Clinton, Obama's baby, get the nomination for President (here: Immediately Obama accused Putin of engineering the leak!!!
Regardless of who gains what, the picture is clear. The winner for now is a liar. That was the name that Christ attributed to the devil (John 8: 44).  But we can try mimesis (imitation) of Christ the lover or imitate the "Liar" as Satanic as it may get. Over history, as Girard often said, the humanization process of the human race will continue guided by God. Let us hope for a better tomorrow. In fact tomorrow signifies eternal life... 
"(The ones in heaven) shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more;
the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of living water;
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." (Revelation, 7:16-17)

Today's Quote

"Behold I make all things new." (Revelation 21:5)


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