By: Ogechi Ibeanusi  

In my poster, I will discuss Rene Girard’s theory of mimesis and the scapegoating function of Christianity. In Girard’s theory of religion and culture, he offers what he calls to be the science of humanity that can answer the questions surrounding the origins of culture and religion. The components that comprise of these theories are mimetic desire and violence, the second being the scapegoat, the third is religious awe, and finally the Bible and the revelation of Jesus Christ. Girard differentiates mimetic desire with imitation in that imitation is copying while mimetic desire functions as a triangle with subject, object, and mediator. Furthermore, violence is added because mimetic desire unlike imitation later leads to rivalry over object desire. Thus, the mediator becomes both the model and obstacle and mimetic desire intensifies rivalries, which Girard believes early modern societies experienced paroxyms. This explains the situation in which human beings revert to the Freudian death instinct, which eventually leads to a single victim or outsider on the margins, whom the community thrusts their bane upon and blames for the problems apparent in all members of the community (otherwise known as the scapegoat.) After the scapegoat has been sacrificed, the community begins to experience greater peace and deifies the scapegoat as a god. The act of killing the scapegoat becomes holy and is at the center of Christ’s cruxification on the cross and Christian-Judeo culture.

Scapegoat, Violence, Peace
Religious Foundations
Virtual Lightning Talk

Ogechi Ibeanusi

Undergraduate Student, University of Southern California, United States
United States