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 96: The Parakletos – Defender of the Accused, part 2

John 16:7-11 reads, “…it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor [Greek: parakletos] will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convince the world about sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I am going to the Father, and you will see me no more; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”

From the perspective of mimetic theory and the scapegoating mechanism, this is a principle function of the parakletos, or Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit works slowly in human communities, assisting their gradual recognition of the scandal of “sacred” violence, i.e., violence done in the name of God which is not God’s will. In many ways, the Holy Spirit can more effectively spread Christ’s message than Jesus himself. Because of the scapegoating mechanism, people always resist prophets. Indeed, they tend to kill the prophets who point out the innocence of the scapegoating victim. Therefore, the subtle assistance of the Counselor may prove more revealing than the actual personage of Jesus.

Jesus said that the Counselor will prove the world wrong about sin, righteousness, and judgment. Regarding sin, the Holy Spirit will reveal that human communities, since the foundation of human civilization, have blamed scapegoats rather than accept responsibility for their own sins. It is not that scapegoats are totally innocent; rather, they are not nearly as guilty as the community believes. If they had believed in Jesus, they would have rejected scapegoating violence.

Regarding righteousness, the Holy Spirit will reveal that the sense of righteousness that always accompanies the scapegoating mechanism is mistaken. The people had wrongly believed that righteousness involved killing an innocent person at the behest of religious authorities. Jesus, judged sinful by the mob, went to the Father. This proved his innocence and therefore proved that the people’s understanding of righteousness (i.e., that God wants “sacred” violence) had been wrong.

Regarding judgment, the Holy Spirit will reveal that God’s judgment is loving and forgiving, not accusatory like the satanic mob. The ruler of our world of violence is Satan (the subject of recent essays), whose temptations Jesus rejected. Accusatory human judgments have always been satanic – people have sacrificed peripheral, expendable members of the community in order to gain communal peace. The revelation of Christ and the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit undermine this universal mindset.

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) Jesus was a single person struggling against strong forces of oppression. With the help of the Holy Spirit awakening concern for victims in society at large, our voices in defense of victims are more readily heard. Consequently, each of us has great potential to “learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression, defend the fatherless, plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:17).

Acting in accord with God’s love and mercy in an expression of faith, to which we will turn next week.

Go on to Part 97: Christian Faith
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Christianity and the Problem of Human Violence

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