I am fundamentally an anthropologist and a rationalist. What I say is that human societies are very different from what specialists call 'animal society' because the former have religion.
I think the most influential aspect of my work is to show that Judaism and Christianity exist in a continuity with archaic religions.
On September 11, people were shaken, but they quickly calmed down. There was a flash of awareness, which lasted a few fractions of a second. People could feel that something was happening. Then a blanket of silence covered up the crack in our certainty of safety.
When we judge, we are always in a psychic space which is circular.
The myth-making machine is the mimetic contagion that disappears behind the myth it generates.
The protective system of scapegoats is finally destroyed by the Crucifixion narratives as they reveal Jesus' innocence and, little by little, that of all analogous victims.
In preventing a riot and dispersing a crowd, the Crucifixion is an example of cathartic victimization.
The distance between Don Quixote and the petty bourgeois victim of advertising is not so great as romanticism would have us believe.
We are aware that globalization doesn't mean global friendship but global competition and, therefore, conflict. That doesn't mean we will all destroy each other, but it is no happy global village, either.
Instead of blaming victimization on the victims, the Gospels blame it on the victimizers. What the myths systematically hide, the Bible reveals.
When we describe human relations, we usually make them better than they are: gentle, peaceful, and so forth, whereas in reality, they are often competitive.
Western civilization is, no doubt, predominantly on the side of secular relativism. That is not true in the Islamic world, where faith dominates.
Paradoxically, we have become so ethnocentric in our relativism that we feel it is only okay for others - not us - to think their religion is superior!
When scandals proliferate, human beings become so obsessed with their rivals that they lose sight of the objects for which they compete and begin to focus angrily on one another.
When the Bible and the Gospels say that the victims should have been spared, they do not merely 'take pity' on them. They puncture the illusion of the unanimous victimization that foundational myths use as a crisis-solving and reordering device of human communities.
Society's preservation against the unlimited violence of scandals lies in the mimetic coalition against the single victim and its ensuing limited violence. The violent death of Jesus is, humanly speaking, an example of this strange process.
A scapegoat remains effective as long as we believe in its guilt.
Having a scapegoat means not knowing that we have one.
Learning that we have a scapegoat is to lose it forever and to expose ourselves to mimetic conflicts with no possible resolution.
If you scapegoat someone, it's a third party that will be aware of it. It won't be you. Because you will believe you are doing the right thing.