Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Battling to the End

I had an MRI with contrast this evening. While waiting, I read Girard's Battling to the End. Its scope is breathtaking; its depth and perspective vast.

It gives a respite to the evanescent handwringing so common to the internet. I recommend it highly as an antidote to, yet understanding of, the maddening crowd.

1 comment:

Mike O'Malley said...

Yes, breathtaking scope, depth ... it is an important book, though not without flaw. Let us know when you finish reading it. If time allows I'd like to discuss your assessment.

When you finished you will want to read René Girard's important related essay in the August/September 2009 issue of First Things: On War and Apocalypse
I'll briefly quote: "Christianity, in other words, demystifies religion.

And yet, demystification, which is good in the absolute, has proven bad in the relative, for we were not prepared to shoulder its consequences. We are not Christian enough.

The paradox can be put in a different way: Christianity is the only religion that has foreseen its own failure. This prescience is known as the apocalypse. Indeed, it is in the apocalyptic texts that the word of God is most forceful, repudiating mistakes that are entirely the fault of humans, who are less and less inclined to acknowledge the mechanisms of their violence. The longer we persist in our error, the stronger God’s voice will emerge from the devastation. This is why no one wants to read the apocalyptic texts that abound in the synoptic gospels and Pauline epistles. This is also why no one wants to recognize that these texts rise up before us because we have disregarded the Book of Revelation. Once in our history the truth about the identity of all humans was spoken, and no one wanted to hear it"

"More than ever, I am convinced that history has meaning, and that its meaning is terrifying." - René Girard