the institute and the sacrifice

the institute and the sacrifice - Alexis Denigh...

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Alexis Denigh Knappenberger Theology 1211-155 Dr. Gerard Jacobitz February 23, 2008 The Institute and the Sacrifice: Defining Religion When is a religion not a religion? The answer is both surprising and incredibly obvious at the same time, once we have an understanding of what religion actually is. Rene Girard challenges the traditional view of religion in his writings by asserting that Christianity is not, in effect, a religion. This perspective runs counter to all inherent schemes of religion – the Oxford English Dictionary defines religion as “[a]ction or conduct indicating a belief in, reverence for, and desire to please, a divine ruling power; the exercise or practice of rites or observances implying this.” Is this not true of Christianity? Perhaps, but according to Girard, a religion must also be sacrificial and institution building – both terms which can be intertwined and are, practically, opposite to Christianity. Both concepts are elaborated upon in Girard’s essay “The Horrible Miracle of Apollonius of Tyana”. The essay depicts a plague which has spread upon the people of Ephesus. The Ephesians beseech Apollonius – a guru a of the second century renown for his healing abilities, which were believed to far surpass Jesus’ – to end the plague in the city. Apollonius responds with the unthinkable: the Ephesians are to stone a blind beggar, who Apollonius states is “the enemy of the gods”. The Ephesians are initially hesitant,
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the institute and the sacrifice - Alexis Denigh...

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