Monday, August 31, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
The Johannine Jesus said that once he was raised up on the Cross he would draw all humanity to himself, that gradually the sight of this innocent man on the gallows would become more compelling than all of conventional culture's techniques for making sanctioned violence morally respectable. by the time the biblical scholars finally succeed in disproving the "authenticity" of this saying and demonstrating beyond all scholarly doubt that it was never spoken by the historical Jesus, it will have been fulfilled in ways that the average ten-year-old will be able to recognize.Gil Bailie, Violence Unveiled: Humanity at the Crossroads. New York: Crossroad, 1995. 227-228.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
The God whom Moses came to know in the wilderness was a God whose name is an emphatic form of the verb "to be." This was a God heedless of worldly power, who chose as agents in history the social underclass. The greatness and the tragedy of Moses consist, I feel, in the fact that he strove to put the elusive God who empathized with losers at the center of a culture that would have to win in order to survive. He gave the Hebrew people a God with an empathy for the lowly and the downtrodden, a God whose most defining feature was a refusal to be defined, a God openly hostile to the kind of cult idolatry that was synonymous with the conventional religious life of the age. Moses' God was a God wary of religion.Gil Bailie, Violence Unveiled: Humanity at the Crossroads. New York: Crossroad, 1995. 146.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
The gospel's insistence on forgiveness is both profound and pragmatic, but we cannot fully appreciate either until we realize how routinely moral indignation leads to a replication of the behavior that aroused the indignation. Moral outrage is morally ambiguous. The more outraged it is, the less likely it is to contribute to real moral improvements. Righteous indignation is often the first symptom of the metastasis of the cancer of violence.Gil Bailie, Violence Unveiled: Humanity at the Crossroads. New York: Crossroad, 1995. 89.
The Hebrew prophets were the first to speak in condemnation of the sacrificial system and in defense of its victims. They were largely ignored, but their words took on a life of their own, eventually becoming the moral ballast of the Hebrew Scriptures and the essential link in the Judeo-Christian revelation. The Gospels carry forward what the Hebrew prophets began, announcing from the supreme perspective of the Cross that those united by their common victim "know not what they do."Gil Bailie, Violence Unveiled: Humanity at the Crossroads. New York: Crossroad, 1995. 74.
In the final analysis, the only alternative to the simulated transcendence of social contagion and violence is another experience of religious transcendence, one at the center of which is a God who chooses to suffer violence rather than to sponsor it.Gil Bailie, Violence Unveiled: Humanity at the Crossroads. New York: Crossroad, 1995. 66.