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Understanding desire: James Alison

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Understanding human desire, the way it is caught and the way it can lead us to scapegoating and violence is foundational to understanding what it is to be human. Drawing on the work of René Girard, James Alison joins the podcast once again to explore the essential goodness of desire while reinterpreting the doctrine of original sin in ways that help us understand our human condition with gentleness instead of shame and condemnation. This conversation explores how contempt thrives where we are manipulated by feelings of shame and remain unconsciously trapped in rivalry. James points us to the hope found in facing the truth about ourselves, the power of forgiveness and the possibilities for genuine togetherness found when we are prepared to die to cheap ways of belonging that there may be peace.

James Alison is a Catholic theologian, priest and author. His principal claim to fame is as one of those who has done most to bring the work of the great French thinker René Girard to a wider public. In addition, he is known for his firm but patient insistence on truthfulness in matters gay as an ordinary part of basic Christianity, and for his pastoral outreach in the same sphere.

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