In this brand new episode of THINGS HIDDEN, David Gornoski sits down with stuntman and fellow student of Girard, Eric Jacobus. The two have an exciting conversation on the resurgence of 80s aesthetics in pop culture; our society’s fascination with underdogs; the comedian’s role as a scapegoat; the ancient understanding of catharsis; spirit possession; and more. If everything in the 80s looked tranquil, why did pop culture become fractured in the 90s? Did the internet have anything to do with this fracturing? Does human sacrifice correlate with technological progress? What did Jesus accomplish on the cross? Listen to the full podcast to find out and more.
David Gornoski starts the episode with an excellent analysis of the crowd spirit by examining the murder of John the Baptist. Also in the show, David is joined by Corey DeAngelis, the director of school choice at Reason Foundation. The two talk about what school choice means; the future of school choice under Biden; the state’s hostility towards charter schools; the education interest money behind Biden’s team; and more. Why did Bill de Blasio close all New York City public schools based on an arbitrary COVID-19 positivity rate? Did the lockdowns cause a shift in parents’ choices towards homeschools?
David Gornoski resumes his deconstruction of statist coercion and the current manner of doing politics that is victimism. How does mythmaking work in modern-day media? David Gornoski gives us an illustration from recent news–how the mainstream media paints Russia as a boogeyman to hide the establishment’s sins. Not only does the media gaslight us on politics, David says, but they also push a fake food pyramid onto us to severely damage our body’s immunity while making us susceptible to viruses like COVID. Listen to the full episode for all this, plus David Gornoski’s analysis of the latest news stories surrounding Trump, China, Hunter Biden, and more.
Dr. Paul Axton, theologian and host of the Forging Ploughshares podcast, sits down with David Gornoski to talk about his experience of living in Japan, the idea of shame in death, Lacanian psychoanalysis, and seeing Japanese culture through Christian eyes.
While pointing out that Romans 7 is absolutely essential for understanding what it is to imitate Jesus, Dr. Axton observes that death is “an orientation of violence and what we’re continuously spreading as we go.”
Dr. Axton further explains that the problem of scapegoating is rooted in theological development and that we often mistakenly think that scapegoating is our salvation. The theologian highlights that refusal to scapegoat is resisting the enthroned sacrificial powers through an analysis of Shusaku Endo’s novel ‘Silence’ and the historical persecution of Christians during the Tokugawa shogunate.
Why is there such a high suicide rate in Japan? What can Japan teach the rest of the world in being both a high-functioning and scapegoating society? Listen to the full podcast for an intriguing conversation on culture, politics, and the juxtaposition between scapegoating and technological rise in modern Japanese society.
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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.
Jim Babka on Kanye West, Rene Girard, and Justice - A Neighbor's Choice
Jim Babka on Kanye West, Rene Girard, and Justice - A Neighbor's ChoiceCall in at 727-587-1040.Posted by David Gornoski on Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Jim Babka, President of DownsizeDC.org, joins David Gornoski to talk about the increasing polarization and politicization in our culture. There is far too much shaming going on, Jim Babka says, but what we need today is empathy. “We have turned away from God and replaced Him with idols; and the number one idol is the state.” The conversation moves towards the anthropological implications of Jesus’ story in our culture today. What makes people default to statism whenever a crisis appears? David argues that we must get to the root of Jesus’ revealed anthropology if we are to come across a better understanding of our society and what we can do to love our neighbors.
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Our Vain Search for Scapegoats - A Neighbor's Choice
Our Vain Search for Scapegoats - A Neighbor's ChoiceCall in at 727-587-1040.Posted by David Gornoski on Monday, July 6, 2020
Our fixation on identity politics, David Gornoski says, is driving our society towards blame games. “We need to continue to encourage people in thinking for themselves rather than groupthink.” David takes us through the idea of original sin–the concept that sin exists universally–and how filtering that idea through group identities is a recipe for conflict. “We should always ground our discussion in the protection of the human person.” Why is President Trump considered the villain in the politically correct imagination? David explains that it’s because Trump does not position himself as a victim to grab power. How do we preserve the sacredness of the human person without coercing our neighbor or falling into victimism?
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Dr. Darrell Scott, pastor of New Spirit Revival Center and CEO of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump, joins the show to discuss police and criminal justice reform. Dr. Scott believes that we should be sensitive to both sides of the current issue over police reform; excessive force should be dealt with but we have to avoid throwing out the baby with the bathwater. The Pastor from Ohio also describes how the media has painted Trump as a monstrous, hot-tempered figure and a scapegoat deserving blame for every ill. On the legalization of marijuana, Dr. Scott is cautious while agreeing with David Gornoski that some sins, like adultery, shouldn’t be crimes. Listen to the full episode for all this and more.
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Visit Dr. Scott’s website at nsrcministries.org
In this time of mob violence, as victimism prevails over truth, and almost everyone is looking to blame someone else, the question we have to ask ourselves is: how can we defend the scapegoats? “Nullify and get rid of the bad laws that put non-violent people in prisons,” urges David Gornoski, “Say no to the song of the crowd!” Because of the anthropological effect of Jesus’ crucifixion we can no longer continue to use coercion in our maintaining of society. Also, CAN-DO Clemency’s Lisa Jacobi calls in to talk about the plight of Chad Marks, a 41-year-old serving time for a non-violent drug-related offence. Can we transcend the sacrificial mass incarcerating machine? Listen to the full episode to find out.
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Support CAN-DO Clemency at candoclemency.com
“The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.”
Before the Gospel revelation, justice consisted of directing the guilt of the entire society against a single victim. It was widely experienced, just as it is today, that shifting the blame onto another is an effective way of postponing an imminent violent outbreak that often results from mimetic desire. The ancient societies carried out this phenomenon under the ritual of human sacrifice. And as recent as the twentieth century, we see this phenomenon repeated in ideological and secular dressing with the atrocities committed in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
But what we often overlook, due to clueless academic reading of ancient texts, are other forms of sacrifice—sacrifice not involving outright murder but instead refined to expulsion or confinement. Imprisonment is the most accurate word for this type of sacrifice. While a case can be made that imprisonment in and of itself does not comprise human sacrifice, it does not negate the current widespread injustice that can be traced back to the sacrificial origins of the practice.
In Greek mythology, we find that imprisonment was sacralized (and even deified) as Tartarus. It is widely accepted that in ancient mythology the concept of creation ex nihilo is nowhere to be found. What should also be known is that the creation stories in mythologies were filled with sacrificial beginnings. Tartarus is one of the outcomes of such a violent beginning. Once the abyss reserved for the dehumanized fallen enemies of the victorious gods, Tartarus later became the prison for sinful mortals, many of whom were kings and warriors.
The transition from the abyss for gods and titans to eternal prison for rebellious mortals is not surprising if one takes into account the role of religion in shaping culture and institutions. For any institution to carry out its task in an efficient manner, a transcendental founding is necessary. It is for this reason that the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Rome, and Babylon had prisons while Israel had none. The prison-filled civilizations all had one thing in common: a founding myth concealing a murder.
Contrast the pagan view of the prisoner with the Biblical accounts. In mythology, the confinement or expulsion of the single victim is a necessity for the temporary prevention of violent conflict. Therefore, prisons became a necessity, and the prisoner, post sacrifice, was deified as a sacred victim—a god through whom society derived their momentary peace. On the other hand, texts like that of Joseph in the Old Testament proclaimed the victim as innocent and the recipient of an unjust prison sentence.
Fast forward to the Gospels and here, in the passion narrative, we have a direct response to pagan mythology. The God-man Christ Jesus, after being sentenced to die by the Sanhedrin, is first imprisoned and then crucified—confined and sacrificed. It is absolutely intentional, to put it in a literary way, that Christ is both divine and human, for Tartarus was the abyss of both gods and men. The crucifixion of Christ is the careful dissecting and utter deconstruction of the pagan Tartarus myth. The anthropological impact of this story is beyond compare.
With Christ’s crucifixion, a reverse-mythology is set in place, and its effects have reached into the deepest subconsciousness of the human psyche. No longer do we consider the prisoner as an essential human sacrifice for the good of the many, for the prisoner has been proclaimed innocent. In light of this revelation, the modern-day mythmaking for mass incarceration is shaken to its very foundation. The prisoner has been humanized and the structures laid bare.
With Christ’s crucifixion, not only do we see the innocence of the victim but we also see true justice as God’s reign on Earth. During His trial, Jesus, the personification of innocence, was condemned to death while freedom was granted by the crowd and ruler to the violent revolutionary Barabbas. Here, we see the contrast between true justice and sacrificial justice. Violent institutions give rise to violent revolutions. It is not surprising that our modern-day prison-industrial complex unleashes countless Barabbases into the population; crime is multiplied. As a result, the cycle of violence is spinning on and on.
Justice, as revealed at Calvary, is the rehabilitation of our neighbors. Whereas the world locks up non-violent, vice-ridden individuals in the violent abyss of Tartarus and throws away the key, godly justice is the healing of the sick, the rehabilitation of the addicted, and the exorcism of the possessed. This is not naivety; this is the commandment of our Lord. The apostle Paul said, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” This is the proven method of introducing peace in the realms of governance and legislation as observed in Christianity’s gradual effect on society, particularly in terms of individual and property rights.
As Christ-haunted nations, it is very clear: we cannot put non-violent law offenders in prisons where violence is rampant. While it is logical and sensible to detain violent criminals for the good of our loved ones, it is equally diabolical to throw non-violent drug offenders, unlicensed farmers, whistleblowers, and others into cages filled with wild violence. The Christ-captivated conscience of our society does not allow for such barbarism, even if it is written into law. Why then do we allow such lawlessness to be perpetuated by the government?
Perhaps it is time to direct our Christ-haunted society once again to the Lord’s prayer wherein Jesus says: Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. To be ruled by Prince of peace is to set the captives free, and we cannot ignore the countless captives languishing in prison. No matter how safe we feel, our conscience will not allow it.