Whether We Know It Or Not

“The Bible enables us to decipher what we have actually learned to identify in persecutors’ representations of persecution. It teaches us to decode the whole of religion . . . The Gospels do indeed center around the Passion of Christ, the same drama that is found in all world mythologies . . . We are aware that the Gospels reject persecution. What we do not realize is that, by doing so, they release its mechanism and demolish the entire human religion and the resulting cultures . . . But the very fact that these forms have a diminished hold, and their power of illusion is weakened, is due precisely to our increasing ability to identify the underlying scapegoat mechanisms. Once understood, the mechanisms can no longer operate; we believe less and less in the culpability of the victims they demand. Deprived of the food that sustains them, the institutions derived from these mechanisms collapse one after the other around us. Whether we know it or not, the Gospels are responsible for this collapse” (Girard, The Scapegoat, p. 101).

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