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Denison Journal of Religion

Abstract

his article shows a discomfort with the way that mainstream Christianity often discusses the atonement by deifying meekness and sacrifice, an attitude that often legitimizes the cycle of domestic abuse. The author seeks a theology that will not allow the cross to become an oppressive force against the marginalized, and finds her answer in Girardian theory. This theory proposes an understanding of human behavior in four basic stages: mimetic desire, mimetic rivalry, scapegoating sacrifice, and scapegoating myth. Mimetic desire states that humans only want what they want because they know others desire it. Next, a rivalry begins between groups that have mimicked their desires; the competition breeds disrespect and conflict. In order to resolve the conflict, the opposing groups find a scapegoat"an uninvolved person against whom they can unite. Once the scapegoat has been sacrificed, a myth is created that both demonizes and deifies that individual"he or she is held responsible for the initial conflict, but their sacrifice is also responsible for the peace and unity that occurs afterwards. Ren̩ Girard claims that this process is recognizable in the crucifixion story up until the resurrection. God shows disapproval of this cycle by not allowing Jesus to become a myth, or a figure that is demonized, deified and sacrificed to create a time of inauthentic peace. The peace that is usually established after the sacrifice does not last in the instance of Jesus. It only manages to hold until the resurrection of Christ. From then on, the work of the resurrected Jesus, and the efforts of the newly formed Church, continue to disrupt the artificial peace. Instead, God offers humanity an authentic peace that comes with being a follower of Christ. This, Kailey argues, is an inspirational theology that can help to break the cycle of abuse and empower women to disengage from victim blaming, and find real peace.

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