The History of Desire: From Babylon the Great to the New Jerusalem —
Over the last few weeks I have been engaged in some studies that have opened up a whole new realm of revelation for me having to do with mythology, anthropology, and theology. In the future I would like to write more about this (and perhaps even share my thoughts on some upcoming podcasts) but for now I want to simply link to a few of the sources that have inspired me in this direction, which directly ties in with my research on Babylon the Great. The masculine representation of Babylon is shown in Isaiah 14 as the King of Babylon, also known as the Antichrist, whereas the feminine representation of Babylon is shown in Revelation 18 as the Queen of Babylon, the ‘Bride’ of the Antichrist. These symbols are the antithesis of Jesus and the Church as the True Christ and His Bride. Take a second and look at this page which shows how Old and New Testaments combine to pronounce end-times judgments on Babylon the Great:
To get to the point, I have just been exposed to the work of French scholar Rene Girard. Some of you may be familiar with him as a leading light of “Emergent” Christianity and this may throw up a red flag. Calm down. I don’t worship the guy and I’m not discarding my faith in Scripture as the Word of God, as so many “emergent” types do. Girard comes from the perspective of “higher criticism” and so he sees the Bible largely as a human production and accepts evolution. However, Girard is also a believer and his intellectual research (begun decades ago) actually helped to convert Him to Christianity. In fact, he firmly believes that the only hope for the human race right now is to be found in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ!
Girard’s research into the nature of “desire” shows that human desire is “mimetic,” meaning that our desires are often borrowed, mimicked, from each other. This relates to the Queen of Babylon because she is the archetypal figure whose fleshly/worldly desires are out of control.
Furthermore, Girard’s hypothesis goes on to say that because human desire is mimetic this actually leads to violence in human society as we all compete with each other in desiring the same things. Girard looks back to the foundation of human society and sees this playing out in the times before there was such thing as “civilization.” He theorizes that once this mimetic-fueled violence starts it is only appeased when a “scapegoat” can be identified. “It’s all his fault!” Then, once the majority agrees in a scapegoat, and the scapegoat is killed, unity can again be achieved. Girard believes that violent murder is in fact the foundation of civilization, and that violence itself is the heart and soul of the sacred (meaning religion itself). It is amazing how much of this thought is corroborated by the Bible, first in Genesis, and then ultimately in Revelation.
Of course Jesus Christ and the event of the Cross was the transformational event that interrupted this cycle of mimetic-fueled violence. In fact, it is Christianity itself that has led to the widespread secularism that has appeared to triumph today, by defeating violence and the religion it supported by honoring the victim as hero. I know this is hard to grasp, but it makes sense if you are willing to think things through.
So here are some sources for those who are intrigued by this line of research. Again, I don’t agree with everything here spoken or written, but I do believe that these sources contain some amazing gems:
Firstly, I suggest the book “Compassion or Apocalypse” by James Warren. It covers these things beautifully but it is 381 pages long: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CPL2N0M/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_dpd_4Tibsb06ZCVS6
If you don’t have time for that you can check out a shorter overview of these themes in the book “Discovering Girard” by Michael Kirwan, at only 137 pages long: http://www.amazon.com/Discovering-Girard-Religion-Today-ebook/dp/B003F24ITE/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=
For those who may be wondering, I was first introduced to Girard by listening to the podcast “Beyond the Box,” which has been devoted to “Emergent” topics for five years now. Go to http://www.beyondtheboxpodcast.com/ and listen to the podcasts from April 28 and June 13, 2013 for some good discussion of mimetic desire, violence as the foundation of religion, the scapegoat mechanism, and how Jesus became the answer to ALL of our human problems.
After listening to these podcasts the first book I read that drew me more to these ideas was “Virtually Christian” by Anthony Bartlett, an inspiring and optimistic overview of what Jesus Christ did for us, and what the future potentially holds: http://www.amazon.com/Virtually-Christian-Changes-Creation-ebook/dp/B004UG3UCK/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1367170004
I know this may be a bit much for most people, but hold on. I’d love to do a podcast shortly and break it all down in a language that everyone can easily understand.
The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!
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