Thursday, January 16, 2014

Flipping the Script: Mimetic Theory and the Nonviolent God

When I was in seminary, one of my best friends came up with a brilliant theological … pick up line: "Hey, baby. What’s your hermeneutic?"

Despite the genius of that question, we soon discovered that anytime you start a pick up line with “Hey, baby” you’re in some trouble.
But it’s such a great question. Think of all the relationships that would have avoided painful break ups if they just defined the relationship in the beginning by answering the question “What’s your hermeneutic? What’s your primary interpretive method for understanding how the world works? What’s your interpretation of God?”

Since seminary, I’ve learned some important things about hermeneutics from a man named RenĂ© Girard. Girard is an anthropologist who put forth a theory about human nature that has profound implications for how we do theology. Girard’s anthropology is called “the mimetic theory.”

Mimetic theory is important to Christianity in the 21st century because it helps us understand that violence belongs to humans, not to God. Girard’s point is that from the very beginning of culture, we have had a hermeneutic of sacrificial violence. But Girard helps us see that this hermeneutic is false and that the God revealed through the Judeo-Christian tradition and specifically through Jesus Christ is in the process of transforming our hermeneutic from sacrificial violence to a hermeneutic of nonviolent forgiveness, mercy, and love.

Mimetic theory has three basic principles: 

Read the rest here

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