Christianisme et politique en Amerique Latine: ou en est la Theologie de la Liberation? (Christianity and Politics in Latin America: where is the Theology of Liberation?) - DOI: 10.5752/P.2175-5841.2009v7n15p7.
O artigo aborda teologicamente a problemática “fé-política” em sua unidade estrutural (respectividade constitutiva) e em sua autonomia relativa (especificidade, dinamismo, estrutura). Começa apresentando e confrontando alguns modos possíveis de seu tratamento (modo reducionista, modo dualista e modo estrutural) e assumindo o que nos parece o mais adequado e o mais conseqüente (modo estrutural). Em seguida, enfrenta-se com a problemática fé-política, esboçando, quase que a modo de teses, sua estrutura teológica fundamental: a fé tem uma dimensão política constitutiva sem se identificar (...) com ou se reduzir a ela; a política, em sua relativa autonomia, tem um caráter teologal radical ; tanto a dimensão política da fé quanto o caráter teologal da política carecem de mediações históricas – precisam ser mediatizados historicamente. E esse é, certamente, o aspecto mais complexo e mais polêmico da problemática. Aqui não faremos, senão, indicar algumas questões que nos parecem relevantes e decisivas nesse processo de mediação: objetividade da mediação, especificidade da missão da igreja, sujeitos eclesiais, caráter social da Igreja, o estritamente político da fé e a perspectiva dos pobres e oprimidos. Palavras-chave : Fé; Política; Cristianismo; Teologia Igreja.The present article addresses the theological issue "faith-politics" in its structural unit as well as in its relative autonomy (specificity, dynamics and structure). It begins by presenting and examining three possible ways of approaching the above named “faith-politics” issue, there is to say, reductionist, dual and structural ones. For that purpose, this article takes the last approach, the structural one, as the more consistent of all of them. Faith-politics issue is then dealt by addressing its basic theological structure. In this way, faith has a constitutive political dimension, nor identifying with politics neither being reduced to any politics interpretation. In its relative autonomy, politics then has a radical theological character. This article also emphasizes that political dimension of faith as well as its theological character of policy needs to be historically mediated. And that is certainly the most complex and controversial aspect of faith-politics issue. In other words, this article wishes to indicate some clues that seem to be relevant and decisive in this process of mediation: objectivity of the above-mentioned mediation, specificity of the mission of the church, social character of the Church, political character of faith and the perspective of the poor and oppressed people. Key-words : Faith; Politics; Christianity; Theology; Church. (shrink)
Throughout the 1980s Margaret Thatcher dominated British and global politics. At the same time she maintained an active Christian faith, which she understood as shaping and informing her political choices and policies. In this article I argue that we can construct from Thatcher's key speeches, her memoirs, and her book on public policy a cultural "theo-political" identity which guided her political decisions. Thatcher's identity was as an Anglo-Saxon Nonconformist. This consisted of her belief in values such as thrift and (...) hard work, care for the family and local neighbor, and charitable generosity; her belief in the renewal of the national British Christian spirit; and her notion of morality as the opportunity for free choice. Without a recognition of the centrality of her theo-political identity, it is difficult to understand the values and beliefs which were central to her political life. The methodological issues raised by the construction of this theo-political identity are examined in this article. The aim of the proposed methodology is to develop theological insights into a political phenomenon like Thatcher rather than make policy judgments or recommendations. (shrink)
O principal propósito deste artigo é discutir uma das mais importantes questões relativas à interação entre Cristianismo e Política nos vários períodos da Idade Média: a relação entre Império e Igreja. O tema será abordado com base no exame de alguns dos aspectos políticos e imaginários envolvidos nesta relação que, à partida, contrasta dois projetos de cunho universalista que terminam por se opor no contexto político e religioso do período medieval. Entre as questões examinadas, um ponto importante será constituído por (...) uma reflexão sobre as origens da noção de Império a partir do Império Romano e, posteriormente, do Império Carolíngio, assim como suas projeções subseqüentes, inclusive no período que ultrapassa a Idade Média em direção à Modernidade. O relacionamento entre Império e Papado, conforme veremos, foi constituído no período examinado por uma alternância de momentos de aliança e oposição política, mas durante todo o período também pode ser pensado nos termos de um grande confronto, entre os poderes secular e religioso, que envolve as noções de “igreja”, “império” e “reino”. Palavras-chaves : Império, Igreja, Realeza, Papado, PoderThe mainly purpose of this article is to discuss one of the most important questions refereed to the interaction between Christianism and Politics in the various periods of the Middle Ages: the relation between Empire and Ecclesia. The theme will be analyzed on basis of the examination of some political and imaginary aspects involved of this relation that, in first place, contrasts two universal projects that falls in opposition in the political and religious context of the Middle Ages. Among the questions examined, an important point will be constituted by the origins of the notion of Empire since the Roman Empire and, later, the Carolingian Empire, as also their subsequent projections, including in the period that exceeds the Middle Ages in direction to Modernity. The relationship between Empire and Papacy, as we shall see, was constituted by the alternation of moments of alliance and political opposition, but throughout the entire period it can be also thought in terms of a great confrontation between secular and religious powers that involves the notions of “ecclesia”, “empire” and “kingdom”. Key words : Empire, Church, Royalty , Papacy, Power. (shrink)
I analyze Hegel’s conception of nationality in order to make clear how he conceives the precise relation between the state and religion. This analysis also allows me to draw conclusions about whether Hegel can be considered racist or Eurocentric. My project involves understanding nationality as Hegel presents it in the anthropology: viz., as a form of spirit immersed in nature and closely related to geography. The geographical features of a nation’s land are reflected in its national religion; its nation-state is (...) a positive expression of this national religion; national religion further functions to reconcile a nation to the particular positive character of its nation-state. Yet as nation-states clash and collapse in history (i.e. the state proper), an absolute (non-national) religion emerges which reconciles its adherents not to the positive form of a certain nation-state, but to the state proper, i.e. the course of world history: this is “Christianity.” Christianity is not a national religion, tied to a certain part of the natural world, but, oddly, it does emerge with a certain peculiar ‘nation’: the “Germans.” Contrary to appearances, the “Germans” for Hegel are necessarily not a nation or race in the traditional sense, because as the vehicle for the absolute religion, their ‘nationality’ is not a form of spirit immersed in nature. Instead, the “Germans” (the apex of history) are beyond race and nationality. Any representation of the “Germans” as exclusively white or European, by Hegel or anyone else, is thus false: the “German” and “Christian” spirit is really just the modern spirit, which is necessarily trans-racial and trans-national. (shrink)
Religion and Politics being a dialectical unity, the same will be true of religion and political democracy. Nevertheless, this is not the same in the case of any religion or any form of democracy, and Western democracy’s presupposition historically is Christianity. Hence the fertile dialectic derived from the “two powers” —between auctoritas and potestas — that facilitates the development of political freedom, since, precisely because no authentic religion is political, religion always limits power. Y et, as political democracy (...) transformed into social democracy has become omnipotent and, suppressing any limitation, democratic power has moved, at least in Europe, towards a form of the religion of politics that excludes Christianity. The problem is whether democracy can endure after dispensing with its suppositions. (shrink)
Our century has witnessed violence on an unprecedented scale, in wars that have torn deep into the fabric of national and international life. And as we can see in the recent strife in Bosnia, genocide in Rwanda, and the ongoing struggle to control nuclear weaponry, ancient enmities continue to threaten the lives of masses of human beings. As never before, the question is urgent and practical: How can nations--or ethnic groups, or races--after long, bitter struggles, learn to live side by (...) side in peace? In An Ethic for Enemies, Donald W. Shriver, Jr., President Emeritus of Union Theological Seminary, argues that the solution lies in our capacity to forgive. Taking forgiveness out of its traditional exclusive association with personal religion and morality, Shriver urges us to recognize its importance in the secular political arena. The heart of the book examines three powerful and moving cases from recent American history--our postwar dealings with Germany, with Japan, and our continuing domestic problem with race relations--cases in which acts of forgiveness have had important political consequences. Shriver traces how postwar Germany, in its struggle to break with its political past, progressed from denial of a Nazi past, to a formal acknowledgement of the crimes of Nazi Germany, to providing material compensation for survivors of the Holocaust. He also examines the efforts of Japan and the United States, over time and across boundaries of race and culture, to forgive the wrongs committed by both peoples during the Pacific War. And finally he offers a fascinating discussion of the role of forgiveness in the American civil rights movement. He shows, for instance, that even Malcolm X recognized the need to move from contempt for the integrationist ideal to a more conciliatory, repentant stance toward Civil Rights leaders. Malcolm came to see that only through forgiveness could the separate voices of the African-American movement work together to achieve their goals. If mutual forgiveness was a radical thought in 1964, Shriver reminds us that it has yet to be realized in 1994. "We are a long way from ceasing to hold the sins of the ancestors against their living children," he writes. Yet in this poignant volume, we discover how, by forgiving, enemies can progress and have progressed toward peace. A timely antidote to today's political conflicts, An Ethic for Enemies challenges to us to confront the hatreds that cripple society and threaten to destroy the global village. (shrink)
Wittgenstein’s comment that what can be shown cannot be said has a special resonance with visual representations of power in both Heavy Metal and Fundamentalist Christian communities. Performances at metal shows, and performances of ‘religious theatre’, share an emphasis on violence and destruction. For example, groups like GWAR and Cannibal Corpse feature violent scenes in stage shows and album covers, scenes that depict gory results of unrestrained sexuality that are strikingly like Halloween ‘Hell House’ show presented by neo-Conservative, Fundamentalist Christian (...) churches in the southeastern United States’ ‘Bible Belt’. One group may claim to celebrate violence, the other sees violence as a tool to both encourage ‘moral’ behaviour, and to show that the Christian church is able to ‘speak the language’ of young people who are fans of metal, gore, and horror. Explicit violence, in each case, signifies power relationships that are in transformation. Historically, medieval morality plays and morality cycles had been used as a pedagogical tool. In the modern-day context of fundamentalist religious education, these Hell House performances seek to exclude outsiders and solidify teen membership in the Christian community. Hell House performances are marketed to the young church members, and are seen as a way to reinvigorate conservative Fundamentalist Christianity. Women and girls routinely take part in, and often organize Hell House events. In the context of heavy metal, violent performances do not seek to exclude, but provide an outlet for a variety of socially unacceptable or unpopular feelings. In each context there is an apparent, if not actual, empowering of women who are willing to play particular kinds of roles. The use of violence and gore has a value beyond merely shocking the audience, it is arguably a way that some women find their voice, both for fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist gore metal fans. (shrink)
Beginning with the familiar -- The difference between families and political communities -- States of nature and social contracts -- Order, but not order alone -- On freedom (and liberty) -- Justice -- A brief attempt at describing good politics -- Focus on the Christian contribution -- Concluding thoughts.
Wallis draws on his experience in urban ghettos to show why traditional liberal and conservative options that emphasize either social justice or personal values fall short. He looks outside the traditional corridors of power to find solutions. Foreword by Garry Wills Preface by Cornel West.
This article tries to highlight the explicit political aim and the importance for our present of the thought of the «late» Michel Foucault. Through the analysis of the role that truth plays in the pagan and Christian techniques of the self, it opposes a truth that we have to discover in ourselves in order to refuse it (Christianity) or to adhere to it (ethics of authenticity) to a truth conceived as a force of transformation of logos into ethos , (...) of the discourse into a way of life. (shrink)
In the summer of 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo, an event which led to the horror of World War I and which many historians suggest marked the beginning of the twentieth century. In 1992, Sarajevo again lurched into prominence as the focal point of one of the century’s bloodiest civil wars. Yet Sarajevo at one point epitomized the dreams of the Enlightenment, a city where Christians, Jews, and Muslims peacefully coexisted. In the midst of Sarajevo’s recent decline (...) into chaos and destruction, Susan Sontag decided to produce Act I of Waiting for Godot, which, despite ever-looming danger, played to packed houses. Why? Why did this city of hope lie crushed at the end of the twentieth century? Why did Sontag stage an artistic production in the middle of such overwhelming tragedy? Why Waiting for Godot ? And, most important, why the appreciative, silent tears of audience members who risked their lives to attend a play in the middle of a war?These are the questions that guide David Toole’s theological reflections in Waiting for Godot in Sarajevo, where he seeks to come to terms with what it means to live a life of dignity in a world of undeniable suffering. Toole skillfully weaves together Friedrich Nietzsche’s views on nihilism with Michel Foucault’s analysis of power to produce a metaphysics of tragedy, or a “politics of dying.” Such politics are then used to shed new theological light on the Christian apocalypse and what it means to be alive at the end of the twentieth century. In making his argument, Toole draws innovative connections between such diverse figures as John Milbank, Alasdair MacIntyre, Euripides, John Howard Yoder, and Norman Maclean (author of A River Runs Through It and Young Men and Fire ), all the while using Beckett’s play as a compass for his direction. The end result is a fascinating, eminently readable, unexpectedly adventurous theological inquiry into the meaning of life. (shrink)
By one of the most prominent interpreters of Leo Strauss's thought, this book is the first to examine the theme that Strauss considered to be key to his entire intellectual enterprise. The theologico-political problem refers to the confrontation between the theological and political alternative to philosophy as a way of life. Heinrich Meier clarifies the distinction between political theology and political philosophy and sheds new light on the unifying center of Strauss' philosophical work. The culmination of his work on the (...) theologico-political problem, it will be of interest to anyone who has followed the debate about American foreign policy since September 11, 2001 and who seeks to understand the challenge posed by political - religious radicalism. This volume also makes available, for the first time, two lectures by Strauss which are directly relevant to this subject and which will pave the way for future research and debate on his legacy. (shrink)
Introduction: "A certain crime unobserved" -- On Catholic thinking -- The mind that is Catholic -- "Infinitized by the spirit" : Maritain and the intellectual vocation -- Chesterton, the real "heretic" : "the outstanding eccentricity of the peculiar sect called Roman Catholics" -- "The very graciousness of being" -- Reckoning with Plato -- On the uniqueness of Socrates : political philosophy and the rediscovery of the human body -- On the death of Plato : some philosophical thoughts on the Thracian (...) Maidens -- What is piety? -- The abiding implications of friendship -- Aristotle on friendship -- The totality of society : from justice to friendship -- The Trinity : God is not alone -- The medieval experience -- The point of medieval political philosophy -- "Possessed of both a reason and a revelation" -- Aquinas and the defense of ordinary things : on "what common men call common sense" -- Implications of Catholic thought -- The "realism" of St. Augustine's "political realism" : Augustine and Machiavelli -- "Mystifying indeed" : on being fully human -- Transcendence and political philosophy -- Mysticism, political philosophy, and play -- Things practical and impractical -- Sports and philosophy -- The real alternatives to just war -- Where does it lead? -- On choosing not to see -- The ultimate meaning of existence -- "The beginning of the real story" -- Conclusion: On being allowed to read Monte Cristo. (shrink)
Thomas Hobbes is widely acknowledged to be the most important political philosopher to have written in English. Taming the Leviathan is a wide-ranging study of the English reception of Hobbes’s political and religious ideas. In the first book-length treatment of the topic for over forty years, Jon Parkin follows the fate of Hobbes’s texts (particularly Leviathan) and the development of his controversial reputation during the seventeenth century, revealing the stakes in the critical discussion of the philosopher and his ideas. Revising (...) the traditional view that Hobbes was simply rejected by his contemporaries, Parkin demonstrates that Hobbes’s work was too useful for them to ignore, but too radical to leave unchallenged. His texts therefore had to be controlled, their lessons absorbed and their author discredited. In other words the Leviathan had to be tamed. Taming the Leviathan significantly revises our understanding of the role of Hobbes and Hobbism in seventeenth-century England. (shrink)
This article discusses Ronald Preston's understanding of William Temple and the relationships between the two thinkers. It shows how both develop a theology of Christian realism which places great emphasis on the autonomy of the social sciences and the importance of economic expertise. Questions are raised about the appropriateness of this method, as well as their understanding of the state as an order of creation: these can easily lead to the reduction of the sphere of political morality and its substitution (...) with a form of technical rationality. After a brief discussion of the cult of the expert and the manager in contemporary British politics, and the limitation of political action through the rhetoric of ‘there is no alternative', the article concludes by calling for a remoralisation of political life against an economic reductionism which threatens to remove ethics from politics altogether. (shrink)
Although modern societies have come to recognize diversity in human sexuality as simply part of nature, many Christian communities and thinkers still have considerable difficulties with related developments in politics, legislation, and science. In fact, homosexuality is a recurrent topic in the transdisciplinary encounter between Christianity and the sciences, an encounter that is otherwise rather “asexual.” I propose that the recent emergence of “Christianity and Science” as an academic field in its own right is an important part (...) of the larger context of the difficulties related to attempts to reconcile Christianity and a recognition of diversity in human sexuality as a norm. Through a critical discussion of arguments which are upheld most disturbingly on a global scale by the Roman Catholic Church and supported with much sophistry by important stakeholders of an influential stream in analytic philosophy of religion, this paper aims to contextualize and defend the legitimacy of the question why God would create homosexuals as such if it is true that every homosexual act is prohibited by God. While recently advanced nonheterosexist scientific models of sexuality in nature inform the discussion, I reject the simplistic view that religions suppress and the sciences liberate in matters sexual. (shrink)
Arendt’s theoretical influence is generally traced to Heidegger and experientially to the traumatic events that occurred in Europe during the Second World War. Here, we suggest that Arendt’s conception of politics may be usefully enriched via a proto-anthropic principle found in Augustine and adopted by Arendt throughout her writings. By appealing to this anthropic principle; that without a spectator there could be no world; a profound connection is made between the ‘cosmic jackpot’ of life in the universe and the (...) uniquely human activity that takes place in the political realm. By making this connection we suggest that solutions present themselves to a central puzzle arising in Arendt’s thought: namely, what it is that people actually do in the political realm. The first solution directly addresses the issue of content: what people talk about in Arendt’s public space. The second addresses the importance of ‘maintaining’ a space of appearances. The third considers the effect of participating in and observing the public domain. Consequently, we conclude that, for Arendt, action is nothing less than the activity of ‘world-making.’. (shrink)
Several discourses about theology, church, and politics are occurring among Christian theologians in the United States. One influential strand centers on the communitarian theology of Stanley Hauerwas, who calls on Christians to witness faithfully against liberalism in general and war in particular. Jeffrey Stout, in his widely discussed "Democracy and Tradition" (2004), responds that religious people ought precisely to endorse those democratic and liberal American traditions that join religious and secular counterparts to battle injustice. Hauerwas, Stout, and many of (...) their interlocutors envision liberal U.S. culture as the context of Christian social ethics. The ensuing debate rarely incorporates Catholic scholars, feminist scholars, scholars of color, or international and liberationist voices. Their inclusion could enhance an understanding of the role of the church in society, and support a common morality in the face of global pluralism. More importantly, it could broaden the scope of discourse on religion and politics to envision global Christian social ethics. (shrink)
Cornel West's reputation as a public and celebrity intellectual has overshadowed his important contributions to philosophy. Professor Clarence Shole Johnson provides a rectification of this situation in this benchmark, thought-provoking book. After a brief biographical sketch, Johnson leads us through a comprehensive examination of West's philosophy from his conceptions of pragmatism, existentialism, Marxism, and Prophetic Christianity to his persuasive writings on black-Jewish relations, affirmative action, and the role of black intellectuals. Special focus is given to West's writings on ethics (...) and social justice, and how these inform his entire theoretical framework. Cornel West and Philosophy is a unique and indispensable guide to West's diverse philosophical writings. (shrink)
The empire/servility syndrome -- How to read the Bible -- Reimagining the world -- Justice, Bible-style -- Prophets : the connoisseurs of Tsedaqah -- If you want peace, build it -- Peace : how ideals die-- and can be reborn -- Truth and the tincture of the will -- When freedom is a virtue -- Hope vs. the cringe -- Exploring love -- Song of joy.
The changing situation in South Africa and Eastern Europe prompts Charles Villa-Vicencio to investigate the implications of transforming liberation theology into a theology of reconstruction and nation-building. Such a transformation, he argues, requires theology to become an unambiguously interdisciplinary study. This book explores the encounter between theology, on the one hand, and constitutional writing, law-making, human rights, economics, and the freedom of conscience on the other. Placing his discussion in the context of the South African struggle, the author compares this (...) situation to that in Eastern Europe, and the challenge of what is happening in these situations is identified for contexts where "the empire has not yet crumbled.". (shrink)