When politicians cry moral outrage, the question for us should be: What is the moral standard for our country today? The brotherhood of man? Democracy? David argues that you cannot eliminate the rule of tyranny and violence without modeling yourself on Jesus. If we’re to imitate Jesus as the role model for governance, does that enable us to commit “preemptive” violence upon non-violent persons? What would a societal imitation of Jesus look like? Listen to the full episode to find out and more.
“Twitter is one long, drawn-out crisis of undifferentiation with a neverending futile search for scapegoats.” The social media platform has become a playground of sorts for politicians playing childish tit-for-tat games with each other. Why has Twitter become such a hellscape? Healthy boundaries and hierarchies are what our society currently lacks, David observes. Joining David Gornoski to discuss this topic is James Kourtides who points us to the misuse of technology that leads to self-inflicted death. How do we tackle this age of negative mimesis through technology? The answer, David and James say, might have something to do with how Jesus destroyed the ancient practice of human sacrifice with the cross.
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Why are conservatives failing to live up to their promises to cut spending and decrease government? David Gornoski gives us some fascinating answers to this question. David also offers some startling insights into what news like the sentencing of Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli mean with regards to institutional abuse in society. Plus, joining David is Chicago’s ‘rooftop pastor’ Corey Brooks to talk about New York Time’s 1619 project and the Black Lives Matter organization, both of which pastor Brooks says are based upon “insidious lies.” Is the current government system encouraging the average American in any way? What can we learn from Mel Gibson’s movie Apocalypto? Listen to the full episode to find out and more.
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Craig Stewart and David Gornoski return to discuss the mimetic road to a future designed by Jesus.
Is there a link between Rene Girard’s theory and the hard sciences? “There’s a sacred to science,” David claims while highlighting how certain aspects of what’s considered ‘settled’ is rarely questioned in the world of academia.
What is the Christian reaction to the state’s monopoly on violence? How do we define our participation in collective violence, especially in today’s heavily institutionalized world? Why has modern-day academia failed in getting us to an accurate understanding of anthropology whereas Girard succeeded? Listen to the full podcast to find out.
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David Gornoski is back with another exciting episode as he comments on the latest news of explosions in Beirut while looking back at the Atomic bombs exploding in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. What good is gender politics in the field of engineering if engineers keep churning out new ways of ending the human species? David asks. How can we escape this path of destruction? How can our nation’s foreign policy accurately reflect our cross-haunted culture? Listen to the full episode as David Gornoski explores the news, deconstructs the media narrative, and presents to us the path of hope as revealed by Jesus’ personhood revolution.
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David Gornoski sits down with Alexander Beiner, Co-Founder of Rebel Wisdom, to discuss new ways by which we can make sense of the chaotic world around us. In light of how Woke culture has proven itself to be a religious movement, society is failing to bind itself around the principle of scapegoating. What is the most plausible replacement? How does the personhood revolution of Jesus undermine the existing structures that are holding society together through human-sacrifice? Listen to the full podcast to discover how Jesus broke the cycle of violence through self-sacrifice or, as Beiner calls it, doing “an aikido move” on groupthink.
Visit Rebel Wisdom’s website at rebelwisdom.co.uk
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How do we see the hidden victims of violence in Indian mythology? What are some of the sacrificial underpinnings of modern-day institutions? How has Christ infected the Indian psyche? Join David Gornoski, Shannon Braswell, and Surit Dasgupta as they tackle these questions while trying to understand some of the major differences between an archaic society that hides its victims under the veneer of grandiose narratives and a cross-haunted society that causes its inhabitants to struggle greatly in their search for scapegoats.
In ancient societies, people would collectively vent their anger and frustration within a fixed time on the calendar, and they would unleash their violence as a collective on a single victim in the form of sacrifice. These times are what we know today as carnivals; the subject is addressed at length by David Gornoski and Justin Murphy in their discussion together.
The 2013 movie The Purge brings back ancient carnivals in the form of a dystopian thriller. In the film’s narrative, we are told that the government, in full consent with its citizens, has set aside an annual day for unchecked murder on the streets; anyone and everyone may be targeted. The result of this purging, we are told, is that “the United States has become virtually crime-free and the unemployment rate has dropped to 1%.”
The introductory text containing the statistics of low crime and low unemployment is a strong rebuttal to empiricists who argue that the world is getting better. Do these champions of the Enlightenment include the numbers of non-violent victims thrown into prison and the violence they suffer there? Do the empiricists count in their statistics the number of fetuses being aborted every year? If they did, a pandora’s box would be opened on their very presuppositions.
To the movie’s premise, one might ask: how can an enlightened and secular society adhere to such a barbaric norm? A casual response would be that the premise is just that of a movie and not to be taken seriously. But what any serious anthropologist must consider is that humanity still adheres to the ancient rule of the carnival; and it does so in the form of sporadic riots and revolutions; only the religiosity has been dressed over with fractured socio-political ideologies.
The Purge is told from the perspective of a white, privileged family that enjoys a life of security and relative prosperity. The father is under the illusion that his high-tech security barricades will protect his family during the 24 hours of carnage. He assures his wife, son, and daughter that they are safe under the “lockdown.” The family is also, quite clearly, under the allure of the purge’s secular mythology: they, like other families, believe that the purge is necessary for cleansing its participants of their violent nature.
In a strange sense, the movie combines, almost prophetically, the pandemic lockdowns and the violent civil unrest in American society into a single narrative. The proponents of the lockdown believe that their advocacy is for the good of society. According to them, a disease is spreading and killing people outside, so it is only logical to let the disease take its course and protect one’s own life. In short, it is common sense to confine yourself and let others rot outside.
Another unwitting giveaway by the filmmakers is that mass, uncontrolled violence is often initiated and backed by an institutional and authoritative entity. One does not need to look further than recent history for examples. We can see elite-funded revolutions in Egypt, Serbia, and Syria among others. These examples point to the reality that mass violence is often utilized as a ritual of dethronement and enthronement—the ultimate sacrifice—while using average human beings as the pawns—local sacrifices.
The movie’s purging ritual is abruptly disrupted by the youngest child—the son—in the protagonist’s family. The son is visibly disturbed at seeing the killing outside of his home; he sees a wounded black man on the street crying out for help as he is chased by a masked group of elites. The wounded man is one of society’s marginalized and his depiction of being hunted is the director’s subtle way of portraying the racist undertones of American societal violence. We will, however, come to a different conclusion which is contrary to the “Woke” ideology of the filmmakers.
The child lets the man into his family’s house but the masked elites discover where their prey has taken refuge. As a result of an ultimatum presented by the masked antagonists, a conflict breaks out within the family. The son wants to help the wounded man but the father binds the man and prepares to turn him over to the mob waiting outside. In the chase and struggle, the man is revealed to be a military veteran. The father, upon hearing his wife’s pleas and seeing the dog tags hanging from the man’s neck, is no longer convicted of making the sacrifice for his family.
The military veteran in American society holds enormous sacralizing power. The veteran, whether he be a high-ranking politician or a homeless drifter, is an unconscious symbol of state religiosity. Neither the Democrat nor Republican side of the political system would ever dare go against this symbol; to do so would be Trump-like in its sacrilege. Unbeknownst to many people, the military veteran, just like the black person, in American society is a secular Christ-figure—one that is fading away as the Calvary event takes an increasingly firmer hold of culture.
How do we see the victim of the accusatory mob in our society today? Ideologies play an important role in how we perceive the marginalized of our time. To a leftist, that victim may be a non-white person. To the conservative-leaning, the victim may be the serviceman who has sacrificed himself for the nation’s freedom. The truth, however, is that it is somewhat both.
The black man in The Purge is an unconscious symbol of the individual in history who is constantly oppressed by tyrannical powers. Likewise, his veteran status symbolizes the individual who is utilized as a pawn in the mass sacrificial machine by the authorities. The filmmakers’ depiction of the black man’s failure to instill mercy into the white father is an attempt to paint a racial narrative to the scapegoating mechanism.
The filmmakers portray the military veteran as a far more successful conviction of the Christ-haunted white patriarch of the family. But the irony here is that, in their attempt at convicting the “privileged” white audience, the filmmakers themselves are convicted of the senselessness of scapegoating. This clinging onto the sacrificial mechanism under a ultra-Christian guise reveals that we need to escape the brokenness of ideological perspectives so that we are able to deconstruct the sacrificial mechanism as a whole.
The West’s failure to unite against scapegoats unanimously is the very reason the day of purging exists both in the movie and in reality. Current events show us what a desperate and reckless search for scapegoats leads to, namely rioting, looting, and the indiscriminate killing of more innocents.
Ultimately, it is not the black man who is the victim, and it is not the military veteran; it is, as revealed at Calvary, all mankind who is the victim of Satan. The Purge attempts to wake us up to that realization in a very narrow and fragmented way, which is why it fails to redeem both its naive protagonists and caricatured antagonists. As for our salvation, it will take more than a purge or a riot to cleanse our souls.
I am blown away in discovering Jesus’s seemingly hyperbolic symbolic aside at the entrance of Jerusalem is actually a prophecy:
“As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
The stones crying out is a reference to the prophet Habakkuk in his dealings with Judah and the Chaldeans hundreds of years earlier.
Habakkuk 2:11-12: “The stones of the wall will cry out, and the beams of the woodwork will echo it.’Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed and establishes a town by injustice!'”
The “stones” are the places–foundation stones of a city–where victims were buried in the founding of a new order. These human sacrifices’ bones have been uncovered in cornerstones from the Middle East to South America. In the next chapter, he reveals that he is the stone the builders rejected; he’s become the capstone. The cornerstone was the first stone laid and the capstone was an irregular shaped stone that was put aside by the builders until the final piece was needed. From the Alpha–the cornerstone of hidden victims–to the Omega, the capstone, the prized final piece of a fortress: Jesus reveals it all.
His crowds are indeed silenced by the mimetic power of group think. They abandon him during his trial and crucifixion. But in their silence, the stones–all the victims hidden our cornerstones since the foundation of human society–cry out upon Jesus’s resurrection. The Gospel unlocks the hidden power of sacrificial violence and exposes it to the daylight. The corpse stones cry out when the Gospel’s deconstruction of myth reveals what happened to them in the Passion of the Christ. He, the misfit stone, himself perfect target for sacrifice, was saved for last–and when he was sacrificed– becomes the capstone of a new world order: one that reveals the innocence of those hidden ones we founded our old order on–in the alpha-first-corner stones at the beginning of our cities.
And as the very next chapter of Luke says,
“Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”
Jesus–The Capstone–whose stony grave is empty for all to see the futility of his community’s sacrifice of him–will break your conscience and society’s conscience–your peace–to pieces if you stumble upon him. And his Capstone is crushing all systems of power that try to continue to found works of glory and social order on the hidden victims they bury.
Barouk Almaw Gari, an Ethiopian entrepreneur and Rene Girard fan, joins David Gornoski to discuss his introduction to the works of Rene Girard, his perspective on Ethiopian politics and history, and how Christianity has shaped Ethiopia’s culture. How does the gospel effect each culture in their tribal and sacrificial customs? Barouk takes us through the gospel-infected culture of Ethiopia and how its culture compares to that of its neighboring countries like Libya. What is the Ethiopian perspective on how the West is moving towards victim-garbed, identity politics? How do we fight against the spirit of the crowd without becoming absorbed into its mimetic rivalry? Listen to the full podcast for the answers and more.
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