The myth of redemptive violence is the simplest, laziest, most exciting, uncomplicated, irrational, and primitive depiction of evil the world has ever known. Furthermore, its orientation toward evil is one into which virtually all modern children (boys especially) are socialized in the process of maturation.
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.
In short, the Myth of Redemptive Violence is the story of the victory of order over chaos by means of violence.
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.
A domination system must have a domination myth, however, a story to explain how things got this way. For a story told often enough, and confirmed often enough in daily life, ceases to be a tale and is accepted as reality itself. And when that happens, people accept the story even if it is destroying their lives.
The gospel, then, is not a message about the salvation of individuals from the world, but news about a world transfigured, right down to its basic structures.
It is part of the church’s task to remind corporations and businesses that profit is not the “bottom line,” that as creatures of God they have as their divine vocation the achievement of human well-being (Eph. 3: 10).
The issue is not whether we “believe” in them but whether we can learn to identify them in our actual, everyday encounters. The apostle Paul called this the gift of discerning spirits.
What people in the world of the Bible experienced as and called “principalities and powers” was in fact the actual spirituality at the center of the political, economic, and cultural institutions of their day.