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Episode 16 - Scapegoating & The Satan

We're doing it! We've been asked by a listener to talk about scapegoating and satan. Oh how our views have changed along this journey of ours. Below are the videos and articles that may help you understand and dive more deeply into what we're discussing.

THE PERCEIVED SATAN: THE ROLE OF THE ENEMY IN BIBLICAL AND CONTEMPORARY RELIGIOUS CULTURE This is a very interesting paper that I found by a student named Kelly Ferguson. It is an honors project that she wrote in 2008 for her BA in Religion & Sociology at Carson-Newman College. You can download her paper here.

From her Preface:

"In my time as a student at Carson-Newman College, the theology I encountered in my religion courses blatantly challenged what many churches and contemporary spiritual leaders in my experiences have communicated. For many of my fellow students, college was the first time they were confronted with the historical and cultural contexts behind the Biblical text. Why are so many Christians uninformed about the nature of that which they claim to be their sacred text, the “light unto [their] path”? At age 20, when presented with evidence that Satan is not the serpent in the Genesis account of the Garden of Eden, and that in Job, Satan was called one of the “sons of God,” a member of the divine council, why was this new to me? Why do churches often neglect this information? Do they find that people are more likely to be active in their church and their faith with the threat of Satan and his Hell looming? Or is it a merely a cycle of ignorance? As a student of religion, I was disturbed that seemingly more indoctrinating than teaching goes on in many churches, and wanted to discover the logic behind that trend."

MIMETIC THEORY "Mimetic theory posits that mimetic desire leads to natural rivalry and eventually to scapegoating - Girard called this the scapegoat mechanism. In his study of history, Girard formed the hypothesis that societies unify their imitative desires around the destruction of a collectively agreed-upon scapegoat." Click here to view the entire Wikipedia page on Mimetic Theory.

SCAPEGOATING noun 1. a person or group made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place. 2. Chiefly Biblical. a goat let loose in the wilderness on Yom Kipur after the high priest symbolically laid the sins of the people on its head. Leviticus 16:8,10,26. verb (used with object) 3. to make a scapegoat of: Strike leaders tried to scapegoat foreign competitors. (From

ZOROASTRIANISM "Zoroastrianism is one of the world's oldest monotheistic religions, having originated in ancient Persia. It contains both monotheistic and dualistic elements, and many scholars believe Zoroastrianism influenced the belief systems of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam." Click here to view the entire Britannica article on Zoroastrianism.

ORIGINS OF JUDAISM "The origins of Judaism lie in the Bronze Age amidst polytheistic ancient Semitic religions, specifically evolving out of the polytheistic ancient Canaanite religion, then co-existing with Babylonian religion, and syncretizing elements of Babylonian belief into the worship of Yahweh as reflected in the early prophetic books of the Hebrew Bible." Click here to view the entire Wikipedia article, Origins of Judaism.

FINDING SATAN'S STORY IN THE BIBLE "Jewish apocryphal writings present Satan as the leader of a revolt in heaven and his banishment to the underworld (Sheol). Although the serpent who tempted Eve (Gn 3:1-6) is not called satan, many Jews and Christians have read that text as equating the two. Lucifer is a non-biblical name for Satan." Click here to read the whole article (it's short and to the point).

HORNS, HOOVES AND HELL: THE DEVIL IN MEDIEVAL TIMES "In the Middle Ages European artists and theologians shaped a new terrifying vision of Satan and the punishments awaiting sinners in his realm." This is an informative article from National Geographic by Maria Montesano, a professor of medieval history at the University of Messina, Italy, that you can read here.

WORDS HAVE POWER "I have recently been very intrigued about moods, specifically how our moods biologically change. The processes behind why we get happy, sad, or angry are integral to our existence, and having some insight into how exactly they come about could help us grow immensely. In my search for answers, I discovered Dr. Masaru Emoto (d. 2014), a Japanese scientist that had dedicated his life to studying water. Dr. Emoto’s studies claim that thoughts, feelings, words, ideas, music, and even names affect the molecular structure of water and thus our physical reality. During his study, Dr. Emoto discovered that water droplets that had been repeatedly exposed to positive or negative words, profoundly changed the water’s color, shape, and symmetry." Click here to read the entire article (and see pictures of the water & rice used in the experiments) by Salih Aykac.


Glorious Things is hosted by Shannon Ruddy & Ashley Simmons

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