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Leading Philosopher says Christian Pacifism is the only road to peace: CEN 11.02.07 p 8. November 1, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Al Qaeda, Arms Control/Defense/Peace Issues, Church of England Newspaper.

rene-girard.jpgCivilization has entered into a period of continuous warfare philosopher Rene Girard said last week in an interview with a French magazine, which will only be ended by a conscious turn towards Christian pacifism.

“The era of wars is over: from now on war exists everywhere. Our era is one of universal action. There’s no longer any such thing as an intelligent policy. We’ve almost reached the end,” Girard said in an interview with Le Point magazine.

The bombing of the World Trade Towers on Sept 11, 2001 ushered in a new phase of history, he said. “Today’s terrorism still has to be thought through, because we haven’t yet grasped that a terrorist is ready to die in order to kill.”

What is new, he suggested “in relation to Western heroism is that suffering and death are called for, if necessary by experiencing them oneself. The Americans made the mistake of ‘declaring war’ on Al Qaeda, without knowing whether Al Qaeda exists at all.”

A member of the Académie française and professor emeritus at Stanford University, Girard is best known for his theories of mimetic desire: that man learns to desire by watching the desire of others: and of scapegoats, which he says found, preserve, and unify culture. In recent years Girard’s work has had a strong impact on theology. His work has taken an avowedly Christian turn and has been cited with approval by theologians including the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams.

The present conflict with terrorism threatened civilization “with death,” he argued. Not because the terrorists might win, but because of the response they would elicit from the Christian West.

Violence would provide but a short term solution and leave the West “in the position of Louis XV: « Après moi, le déluge ».”

The message of Judeo-Christianity, Girard told Le Point was that “if we do not reconcile ourselves, there are no more sacrificial victims to save us the skin. The offer of the kingdom of God is reconciliation or nothing. Unfortunately, we are making the second choice by ignorance and idleness.”

The only hope for the future was to “refuse any violence, all reprisals. I am not sure that we are capable of it, but the Gospels say that it is the only way out.”

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