The mimetic analysis of religious violence sets the stage for our second iteration through the patriarchy-solidarity-sustainability feedback loop . Violence is the common denominator that prevents progress toward a world of human solidarity and ecological sustainability. In particular, violence is the common denominator for most obstacles that prevent further advances in human development. And, much of the violence in society is triggered -- directly or indirectly -- by religious violence, especially patriarchal religious violence. In other words, more religious violence leads to more social violence, and more social violence leads to disruptions of human solidarity and ecological sustainability.
Figure 1 shows plots of the Human Development Index (HDI), Gender Development Index (GDI), Life Expentancy Index LEI), Education Index EDUI), and GDP Index (GDPI). The data source is the latest United Nations Human Development Report . The graph shows the HDI and other indicators for 177 countries, with the countries ordered by increasing value of the HDI.
It is noteworthy that HDI and GDI increases are highly correlated. Country names are not shown, but the 20 countries with the lowest HDIs (0.281 to 0.453) include 16 countries where a strongly patriarchal religion is dominant, and 4 countries where there is significant religious diversity. On the other hand, the 20 countries with the highest HDIs (0.933 to 0.963) include 3 countries where a strongly patriarchal religion is dominant, and 17 countries where there is significant religious diversity. Coincidence?
Indices such as those used in Figure 1 require careful interpretation and validation of the assumptions implicit in their formulation, and careful evaluation of the credibility of the data used in their quantification. Given reasonable transparency of assumptions and credibility of data, they serve to give a sense of the dominant trends associated with human developement.
This is not a formal exercise in statistical inference. However, the tight correlation of HDI and GDI, and the religious mix of the countries at the low and high ends of human development, bring us full circle to the theme of Volume 1 Number 1 of this newsletter, i.e., the critical importance of cross-gender solidarity. The invited article by Dr. Evandro Vieira Ouriques
provides a solid epistemological foundation for further research.
7. PRAYER, STUDY, AND ACTION
"God of love and peace, we confess as Christians that we are heirs to a long heritage of prejudice and violence. Guide us to a place where we may gain the wisdom to resist all beliefs and actions that harm others. Make us into a people who understand your love as illustrated in Christ’s suffering. Keep us from crucifying others in the name of the crucified Christ. Amen."
Rev. Chase Peeples
The Congregational Church of Manhasset, New York (UCC)
Seventh Sunday after Epiphany, February 22, 2004
Satan is no longer in control. The acceptability of violence is decreasing. Concern for the victims of violence is increasing. What is the next step going forward? See Part Three of I see Satan Fall Like Lightning, Rene Girard, Orbis Books, 1999.
"Think globally. Act locally." Enjoy the Summer.
8. REFERENCES AND NOTES
NOTE TO READERS: Click on the reference [##] to go back to the text.
On the case for ordaining women in the Roman Catholic Church:
, Gil Bailie, Crossroads, 1995.
Should Women be Priests, R. W. Howard, Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1949.
On the case for not ordaining women in the Roman Catholic Church:
The ordination of women in the Roman Catholic Church, John Wijngaards et al., 1996-2006 This monumental web site is a treasure of relevant texts and other resources.
Can Women be Priests?, Pontifical Biblical Commission, June 1976.
Tradition and the Ordination of women, Catholic Theological Society of America, 1997.
Fallibly Infallible? A New Form of Papal Teaching, Hermann J. Pottmeyer, America, 3 April 1999.
A Priest Called Ludmila, Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, The Tablet, 2001.
Inter Insigniores: On the question of admission of women to the ministerial priesthood, Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , 15 October 1976.
Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis: on Reserving Priestly Ordination to Men Alone , Pope John Paul II, 22 May 1994.
Responsum ad Dubium, Concerning the Teaching Contained in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 28 October 1995.
Apostolic Letter Motu Propio Ad Tuendam Fidem: by which certain norms are inserted into the Code of Canon Law and into the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, Pope John Paul II, 18 May 1998.
On the mimetic theory of René Girard:
Colloquium on Violence and Religion (COVR), Official website for exploration, criticism, and development of René Girard‘s Mimetic Theory. Last updated 22 June 2006. This site includes a list of Girard's publications, a list of publications about Girard's work, links to Girardian material available online, the COVR bulletin, and other Girardian resources.
Girardian Reflections on the Lectionary: Understanding the Bible Anew Through the Mimetic Theory of René Girard, last revised 6 May 2006.
Violence Unveiled: Humanity at the Crossroads
Violence and the Kingdom of God: Introducing the Anthropology of René Girard, Abbot Andrew Marr, based on an article published in the Fall 1998 issue of the Anglican Theological Review under the title of Violence and the Kingdom of God.
René Girard’s Contribution to the Church of the 21st Century, Gil Bailie. Published in Communio: International Catholic Review, Vol. XXVI, No. 1, Spring 1999.
What is Paul actually inviting the Corinthians to do?, Pauline Guthrie, Theology@McAuley, Australian Catholic University, February 2003.
My Core Convictions: Nonviolence and the Christian Faith, Paul Nuechterlein, last updated 2 February 2005.
Violence and the Sacred Victim Vindicated, Abbot Andrew Marr. Last updated 4 March 2005.
'Let the Word alone do the Work': Mimetic Theory Goes to Church, Rev. Stephanie Perdew, Senior Pastor, and Mrs. Suzanne Ross, Director of Christian Education, United Church of Christ, Wilmette, Illinois, USA. Colloquium on Violence and Religion (COV& R), Koblenz (Schöenstatt) Germany, July 2005.
The Cornerstone Forum: Exploring Faith and Engaging Culture, Gil Bailie. Last updated 14 June 2006.
James Alison Theology Webpage, James Alison, last updated 2 June 2006.
How faith turns violent ~ We have begun to understand the ways violence and religion are linked; now we must learn to break those links, Vern Neufeld Redekop, Ottawa Citizen, 22 May 2006 .
Isaiah 1:11-17, Jeremiah 7:22-23, Hosea 6:6, Amos 5:21-24, Micah 6:1-4 and 6-8, Matthew 9:13, Matthew 12:7.
Luke 24:34. For Girard's mimetic analysis of the Passion, see his article Are the Gospels Mythical?, First Things, 62, April 1996, pages 27-31, as well as his books The Scapegoat, John Hopkins University Press, 1986, chapters 8 to 12, and I See Satan Fall Like Lightning, Orbis Books, 1999, chapter 11.
Mark 11:15-19; Matthew 5:38-42, 5:43-48, 10:21-22, 10:34-39, 26:47-54; Luke 6:27-36, 12:49-53, 22:35-38, 22:47-51; John 18:36.
The Koran and Muslims: Intellectual stagnation in the Muslim world long preceded revivalism and its hideous offshoot, fundamentalism, A. G. Noorani, Frontline, Volume 23, Issue 13, July 01-14, 2006. Ragarding God's respect for human freedom, Noorani cites the Koran: "Verily never will God change the condition of a people until they change it themselves", Koran 13:11.
Interview with Matthew Fox, David Jay Brown & Rebecca McCLen Novick, Mavericks of the Mind: Conversations for the New Milennium, 1997.
An Excerpt from René Girard's I See Satan Fall Like Lightning, Orbis Books, 2001, chapter twelve, "Scapegoat," pages 154-160 (the quoted paragraph is on page 157).
The following are some critical scholarly reviews of Girard's mimetic theory:
Girard Among the Girardians, J. Bottum,
First Things, 61, March 1996, 42-45.
Revelation, the Religions, and Violence, Leo D. Lefebure, Orbis Books, 2000, 244 pages. For a critical and very instructive review of Girard's mimetic theory, see pages 16-23 and 29-31.
Scapegoating after September 11, Eric Gans, Chronicles of Love and Resentment, No. 251: Saturday, November 24, 2001.
René Girard and the Overcoming of MetaphysicsEric Gans, Chronicles of Love and Resentment No. 256: Saturday, February 9, 2002.
René et moi, Eric Gans, Chronicles of Love and Resentment, No. 307: Saturday, September 25, 2004.
See, for example, Revelation, the Religions, and Violence, Leo D. Lefebure, Orbis Books, 2000, 244 pages.
See, for example, Genesis 1:27, 5:2; 1 Kings 19:11-12; Psalm 23; Isaiah 54:7-10; John 17:11-21; Mark 15:38, 16:9-11; 1 Corinthians 13; 1 John 4:7-8; Revelation 21:1-7.
Excerpts from I See Satan Fall Like Lightning, René Girard, Orbis Books, 2001, chapter 11, The Triumph of the Cross, pages 137-153.
See Figure 1 in Solidarity & Sustainability, Volume 1, Number 7, November 2005.
See the United Nations Human Development Report 2005 and United Nations MDG Indicators Database. The HDR 2005 ebook is a free download, and the MDG database is free access.
9. LINKS TO ARCHIVED NEWSLETTERS
The following are links to previous issues of the newsletter:
V1 N1 May 2005: Cross-Gender Solidarity
V1 N2 June 2005: The Phallocentric Syndrome
V1 N3 July 2005: From Patriarchy to Solidarity
V1 N4 August 2005: Synthesis of Patriarchy and Solidarity
V1 N5 September 2005: From Solidarity to Sustainability
V1 N6 October 2005: Dimensions of Sustainability
V1 N7 November 2005: Analysis and Synthesis of Objective Evidence
V1 N8 December 2005: Solidarity, Subsidiarity, and Sustainability
V2 N1 January 2006: Synthesis of Solidarity and Sustainability
V2 N2 February 2006: Sustainable Human Development
V2 N3 March 2006: Patriarchy and Mimetic Violence
V2 N4 April 2006: Mimetic Violence in Patriarchal Religions
V2 N5 May 2006: Mimetic Violence in Patriarchal Religions 2
V2 N6 June 2006: Mimetic Violence in Patriarchal Religions 3