Sunday, February 7, 2016

"only a thoroughly craven theology"

"only a thoroughly craven theology would imagine that its task is therefore to translate the Gospel message into 'political' terms. . . .  A 'political' theology, in this sense, could only underwrite the modern understanding of politics, and declare to the credulous that the process of politicization is, after all, identical with what the Church has always meant by 'salvation'."

     John Milbank, Theology and social theory:  beyond secular reason, 2nd ed. (Malden, MA:  Blackwell Publishing, 2006), 246-247 (in the chapter entitled "Founding the supernatural:  political and liberation theology in the context of modern Catholic thought").
     The fourth thing wrong with this account is the correlation of truth with negative freedom.  Why should truth just 'show' itself to the person without assumptions [(e.g. those of the concrete historical tradition of Christian practice founded upon the revelation of God in the concrete person and worklife, teachings, example, and cross-bearing wayof the God-man Jesus Christ)]?  All our 'truths' are only 'assumptions', or takings up from previous linguistic arrangements.  The naked truth apprehensible by freedom can only be the formal truth of the universal conditions for the extension of freedom (as 'choice') itself.  The mere freedom to do and think as one pleases is fixed in a pre-established harmony with a merely instrumental reason.  Thus, already in Spinoza we discovered that the 'free' investigation of the Bible had to issue in the recognition that the Bible's rational meaning was a political one, relating to the formal logic of the exercise of absolute sovereign power.
     And political and liberation theology continue to write a Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, which is precisely the hermeneutic 'capturing' of the text of the Bible by the State from the hands of a universal Church, that [(i.e. which Church)] intrinsically threatened the modern concept of sovereignty.  (Is this one aspect of the pedagogy of the oppressed?)  For Gutierrez, secularization results in the total politicization of everything, meaning by this that a Weberian formality of powerbureaucratic, positive, instrumental rationalitydominates all human transactions in the modern age [(underscoring mine)].

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