Catholic theologian and priest, James Alison joins us on the show to discuss scapegoating. It’s a word we’re all familiar with, but as James explains, it’s through the violence of the scapegoating mechanism that civilisations are built. And, it is through the scapegoating mechanism that the cross heals. It’s a fascinating way of understanding the atonement, especially for those of us disillusioned with models of atonement that require a violent God.

After the interview, Nomad hosts Tim Nash, David Blower and Nick Thorley try to get their heads round all these new ideas, and ponder how it might shape their evolving faith.

Interview begins at 18m 43s

Image provided by James Alison. Used with permission.


Jesus the Forgiving Victim: Listening for the Unheard Voice


“In any society, in fact we have learnt that our default is the same: there comes a moment in the frenzy of ‘all against all’ when – if we’re lucky – mysteriously it turns into an ‘all against one.’ And no one can quite tell why. No one can tell who’s going to get it. But somebody does.”

“What we have in the crucifixion is God saying: ‘I will come into the midst of your game – I will enter that place of shame, of agony; the place where you cast out other people; the place which the accuser has set up (the accuser being the whisperer behind the lynch) – and I will undo his power by showing that it’s the innocent one that you have killed…What does my love look like? My love looks like my stepping into that place so as to get you out of this bloody scratched disc going round and round and round and playing the same bloody game.’ This is not a non-violent understanding of the crucifixion. You couldn’t have a non-violent understanding of the crucifixion. But it’s an understanding of the crucifixion which attributes no violence to God.”


Some of the book links on this page are affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase, we will earn a small commission. The commission is paid by the retailer at no cost to you and will be used to maintain the website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Lewis Schofield Nov 9, 2018

    Hi Guys,
    I really like what you are doing.
    This episode was good, though to many many seem a bit esoteric.
    However it is a concept worth grappling with, over and over.
    I recommend a book called “Desire found me” by Andre Rabe as a good introduction and then “Virtually Christian” by Tony Bartlett to show the difference that the cross has made and is increasingly making.
    Both would be great people to interview.
    Thanks and blessings.

  2. Andrea Jan 24, 2019

    Where can I find the podcast transcript?

Nomad Podcast Ltd
Company Number 14503502
17 Chancery Close
Ripley, DE5 3UT