Around the world violence and war are being carried out in the name of religion, not just in today’s society but throughout history. René Girard argues that violence is at the core of every religion, and by the ways that the media portray religious conflict could lead many people to agree. This essay will be explaining his argument and examining the key points, in order to understand his view point and show examples of where in history as well as biblically, violence is found to be at the core of religion. I will also be examining what is meant by the scapegoat theory and how this is used is relation to Girard 's theory on violence. The essay will evaluate what scapegoats are and why they are picked, and will give examples of when scapegoating is used. To give a standpoint; I am a Catholic and so would argue that to me violence is not at the core of my religion. However I am very open minded to see if what Girard has said could change the way I think, as Girard himself is Christian.
Girard’s main thesis for violence being at the core of every religion is what he calls mimetic. Mimetic was first introduced by Plato over two thousand years ago in his book ‘Republic art’; mimetic is translated from the Greek work ‘imitations’ (Tinsley, 2003, pg.1) In the book Mimesis by Potolsky he says that ‘mimesis can be said to Imitate a dizzying array of originals; nature, truth, beauty, mannerisms, actions, situations, examples, ideas.’(Potolsky, 2006, p.1). Girard’s theory then stands on a view point called acquisitive mimesis; this is where one person copies another and then wants the same thing as the first person. A famous example of this is one child notices a certain toy that had gone unnoticed by both children until that point. But when the first child notices the toy and makes an effort to acquire the toy to play with it, the second child sees this process
Bibliography: Books Bailie, G (1995) Violence Unveiled: Humanity at the Crossroad Fleming, C (2004) Rene Girard violence and Mimesis. Cambridge, UK :Polity Press. Girard, R (1988) Girard violence and the sacred Girard, R (1978) Things hidden since the foundation of the world. Editions Grasset & Fasquelle The Bible with apocrypha Google E-books Burke, K (1984) Performance and Change: An anatomy Purpose http://books.google.co.uk Potolsky, M (2006) Mimesis Timsley, J. (2003) Rene Girard’s theory of Violence, Religion and the Scapegoat. Retrieved from: http://www.jeramyt.org/papers/girard.html Research Article