The Political Theory of Liberation Theology: Toward a Reconvergence of Social Values and Social Science

The Political Theory of Liberation Theology: Toward a Reconvergence of Social Values and Social Science

The Political Theory of Liberation Theology: Toward a Reconvergence of Social Values and Social Science

The Political Theory of Liberation Theology: Toward a Reconvergence of Social Values and Social Science

Synopsis

This is the first in-depth look at the political theoretical structure of liberation theology. Pottenger shows how liberation theologians, writing from the perspective of the poor and oppressed, denounce modernity and especially capitalism for having caused poverty and military dictatorships. He evaluates the liberation theologians methodological approach to political theory and the crucial role of Marxism. He also analyzes liberation theologians assessment of Latin American political economy and their moral arguments for political activism in response to these assessments.

Pottenger addresses the general question of to what extent liberation theology has achieved its ultimate objective of a just society of the convergence of traditional social values and modern political science."

Excerpt

For many observers of contemporary society, a troubling new development looms on the horizon of acceptable religious thinking, a development that threatens to undermine the traditional understanding of the relationship between religion and politics; for others, a novel approach to religious and political philosophy has arisen that restores a critical and moral dimension to the banality of contemporary politics. Regardless of the varied reactions, a new religious movement guided by a peculiar political theology with a concern for social problems has indeed increasingly garnered worldwide attention in recent years from believers, policy makers, and scholars alike.

Since its emergence nearly two decades ago, liberation theology has become a unique and permanent political movement throughout Latin America. From Mexico to Chile, from Nicaragua to Brazil, this movement has been politically effective in merging together traditional, religious values with a commitment to social activism on behalf of "the poor and oppressed." Thinkers in this movement analyze social problems associated with chronic maldistribution of wealth and restrictive and repressive governmental policies. Then they combine these analyses with moral commitments to alleviating the plight of the poor to justify their engagement in a variety of reformist and revolutionary political activities.

Indeed, liberation theology has had frequent successes in influencing the direction of social change as well as on specific policy making in various parts of Latin America. For example, it played a significant role in the Nicaraguan revolution in 1979 and continues to provide a major source of legitimacy for the Sandinista regime. in fact, an . . .

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