Christianity and the Problem of Human Violence
From All-Creatures
Christian Living

True Christian living requires us to live according to Kingdom standards which bring Heaven to earth

Christianity and the Problem of Human Violence
By Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.
http://www.christianveg.com

Part 95: The Parakletos – Defender of the Accused, part 1

John 14:15-16 reads, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor (Greek: parakletos), to be with you for ever”. According to Liddell and Scott’s Lexicon, the parakletos is the one who defends the accused. Who is the accuser, and who is the accused?

The Bible often describes Satan as the accuser, such as in the Book of Job. According to mimetic theory and the scapegoating mechanism, the mob’s satanic powers accuse an arbitrary victim of responsibility for a crisis, and then they scapegoat the victim. These satanic powers are as old as human civilization; indeed, Girardian mimetic theory asserts that human community was generated by the camaraderie that accompanies mob violence. The accused, then, is the scapegoat, who may not be totally innocent (none of us is totally innocent) but is never nearly as guilty as the mob believes.

Let’s consider the first part of John 14:15. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” According to this analysis, those who love Jesus will follow him in loving God with all their heart, soul, and mind, and strength, and their neighbor as themselves. (Mark 12:30-31; Luke 10:27). Such people would not consider participating in scapegoating, and their faith would encourage them to forego violence altogether. Jesus then promised that God would send “another Counselor (parakletos).” I think that Jesus was saying that he was the first counselor. He was the one who defended the accused – those who were sick, poor, widowed, or otherwise disenfranchised – who were the typical victims of scapegoating.

According to this analysis, then, one of Jesus’ principle functions was to serve as the defender of the accused. How does one defend the accused? One approach is to use violence to destroy the accusers, but this merely turns the victimizers into victims and fails to generate peace and harmony. A nonviolent strategy involves showing that the accusers are wrong. In the case of scapegoating, one demonstrates that the accusations are satanic, motivated by a desire to maintain peace and order at the expense of an arbitrary, relatively innocent victim. So, in defending the woman accused of adultery (John chapter 8), Jesus pointed out the hypocrisy of the accusers, since they felt free to pass judgment despite being sinful themselves.

Jesus, however, was but one person, and he recognized that future generations, benefiting from the gradual work of the Holy Spirit, would prove effective in defending the accused. Therefore, Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father.” (John 14:12)

Go on to Part 96: The Parakletos – Defender of the Accused, part 2
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Christianity and the Problem of Human Violence

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