Good Friday – The Myth of Redemptive Violence, an exploration…

Jesus Crucified

I just read about this in a blog this morning: Jesus died to appease the wrath of God.   It humiliates, shames, and inflicts suffering on its victims.  I certainly have heard of that before.  But the reference to it as the “Myth of Redemptive Violence” is new.  It means to believe that violence will solve everything.  It’s so intriguing to me (at this moment!) that I’d like to explore it.

[You’ll have to go to and type in Adam Nicholas Phillips – “Jesus Was Crucified – But Why?”  I am not allowed to paste in the link it seems.]

The blogger, A.N. Phillips, quoted noted scripture scholar and commentator on world & society, Walter Wink:

The belief that violence ”saves” is so successful because it doesn’t seem to be mythic in the least. Violence simply appears to be the nature of things. It’s what works. It seems inevitable, the last and, often, the first resort in conflicts. If a god is what you turn to when all else fails, violence certainly functions as a god. What people overlook, then, is the religious character of violence. It demands from its devotees an absolute obedience-unto-death. This Myth of Redemptive Violence is the real myth of the modern world. It, and not Judaism or Christianity or Islam, is the dominant religion in our society today.

Phillips refers to this as an active myth in our country.  He calls the following witnesses:

  • Game of Thrones, Man in the High Castle on HBO as well as many other films
  • The Chicago Police dragged the man off the United Airlines flight
  • 59 Tomahawk missiles lobbed at the Syrian airfield
  • An estranged husband killed his wife and himself and a child in San Bernadino, CA
  • Betsy DeVos on violence in schools: “Some schools need guns…”
  • MOAB dropped on Afghanistan to kill ISIS members & to send a message to North Korea
    • The president’s threat of a pre-emptive strike against North Korea should they attempt to test a nuclear bomb.

These are huge issues in our world.  What about the implicit violence in you and me?   “I hate… I’m gonna kill… I’ll fix that bastard… Nuke ’em…”

When I’m afraid, I get aggressive and make others pay the price for my fear.  When I get angry, I turn aggressive and make others pay for my impotence.

I think that’s the real story about why “they” put Jesus to death.  “We” think it will solve everything and help us feel powerful and not powerless.  

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