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Battling to the End in Israel/ Palestine

Sometimes a blog just writes itself. I’m preparing to attend the annual academic conference on mimetic theory being held near Munich, Germany July 21-24, 2014. We will be focusing on René Girard’s book on war called Battling to the End in the context of the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I. Girard’s analysis of war centers on his reading of another famous treatise written in the aftermath o ...

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The Hidden Cost of Pride

Why are you working so hard to disprove God? From I Origins movie Trailer A reader named Heidi recently asked that we talk about “the issue of pride” as it relates to “our desires for non-physical things”. It was a great suggestion because pride is a sinful pattern of desire for non-physical things, a pattern we believe that Jesus’ atonement is undoing. The understanding of atonement as undergoing a change ...

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Hobby Lobby, Rivalry and Choosing Grace

Though Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby has been argued and decided by the highest court in the land, the battle rages on. Politicians, columnists, editorial staffs and bloggers are furiously duking it out along clearly drawn battle lines. On one side, we have the Champions of Religious Freedom. Squaring off against them are the Defenders of Women’s Rights. The Champions are celebrating a victory for free expression ...

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The Bible is Not A Myth: God’s Patience with a Tone Deaf People

I don’t know where God gets the patience. We are absolutely the most difficult people to communicate with! As the Letter to the Hebrews begins, “Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets.” Many and various ways – thank you, God for trying everything you could think of to get through to us. And then, as Hebrews continues, “in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son”. A ...

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Goodness for Sale: A Consumer Report

What’s the difference between fake goodness and the real thing? Good people want to know. In fact, we need to know because fake goodness is a marketable commodity. Companies know that doing the right thing is important to us, and so they work hard to connect their products with “doing good”. The success of Whole Foods Market (higher priced foods that are natural and organic) and the Tesla Model S (electric ...

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A Science of Religion: Evolving Technologies for Peace

There is no society without religion because without religion society cannot exist. René Girard, Violence and the Sacred The science vs. religion debate seems here to stay. Since Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1859, the debate has revolved around which side holds the key to the truth about human origins. Equally contentious is the debate about the cause and cure of violence: is it religion or sec ...

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Defeating Satan at Harvard

How do you defeat Satan? That was the question the University of Harvard had to answer on Monday night when the Harvard Extension School’s Cultural Studies Club planned a Satanic “Black Mass” at the university. The Harvard community, led by Harvard president Drew Faust, was outraged by the Black Mass. Faust addressed the situation by stating, “The ‘black mass’ had its historical origins as a means of denigr ...

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Dancing with Mimetic Theory

There are two related misconceptions about what mimetic theory says about being human: that (1) we are inherently violent and (2) unavoidably slavish imitators, incapable of individual or original expression. Mimetic theory, a theory of violence and imitation, says nothing of the sort, in fact it leads to the opposite conclusions. The problems arise because of misconceptions about violence and imitation tha ...

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Faith Forward: The Future of Christian Education, Part 4

What’s Emerging? A New Story Dave Csinos, the founder and president of the Faith Forward Conference taking place in Nashville May 19-22, is excited by what is emerging in Christian education curricula today. He sees more taking place than just surface changes. New forms are reflecting the revitalization of emerging Christianity and that diversity is just what Dave hopes participants at Faith Forward 2014 wi ...

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Faith Forward: The Future of Christian Education, Part 3

What’s Emerging? A New Theology of Atonement Why do violence and religion appear to be such intimate bedfellows? The apparent connection between the two has provided low hanging fruit for atheists and anti-Christian polemicists for centuries. Not only do we fight brutal wars for religious reasons, but religion itself seems to have been born as a practice of ritualized violence. No human culture seems to hav ...

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