March 19, 2008


The theme at Goat Rope lately is myths and what they mean. You will also find links and comments about current events. If this is your first visit, please click on the week's earlier posts.

As discussed previously, myths are the Big Stories that convey deep meanings.

One interesting aspect of mythology is that most cultures don't recognize their own myths as myths. Rather, they are seen as stories that convey how things really are.

On this fifth anniversary of the Bush administration's unnecessary war in Iraq, I've been thinking about the myth used to justify it. It's a very old myth, one that theologian Walter Wink has called "the myth of redemptive violence," which underlies and tries to justify every system of domination. The myth, expressed in Babylonian mythology in the story of Marduk, who overcomes and kills Tiamat and creates the world from her body, involves the overcoming of primordial forces of chaos by an act of violence that establishes order.

Thus violence is seen as part of the natural order of things, the savior god that makes social life possible and which demands obedience.

According to Wink,

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...

It is the ideology of conquest, the original religion of the status quo. The gods favor those who conquer. Conversely, whoever conquers must have the favor of the gods. The common people exist to perpetuate the advantage that the gods have conferred upon the king, the aristocracy, and the priesthood. Religion exists to legitimate power and privilege. Life is combat. Any form of order is preferable to chaos, according to this myth. Ours is neither a perfect nor a perfectible world; it is a theater of perpetual conflict in which the prize goes to the strong. Peace through war; security through strength; these are the core convictions that arise from this ancient historical religion, and they form the solid bedrock on which the Domination System is founded in every society.

This myth was powerfully invoked by this administration in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to justify the invasion of a country which had nothing to do with the attacks and the results have been disastrous for the country and the world.

THE MYTH OF REDEMPTIVE VIOLENCE IN ACTION in Iraq is the theme of this review.


MASSEY ENERGY was cited in an incident related to the death of a coal miner in Kanawha County.

BE NOT ANXIOUS. It's often easier said than done, as this book review notes.



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