Liberation Theology: Deleuze and Althaus-Reid


The contemporary relation between theology and philosophy is a complicated one, but there is at least one strand in theology that has always explicitly used philosophical mediations to clarify and support its theological programme: so-called liberation theology. Historically, this theological movement originated in Latin-America in the 1960s. It was a concrete, contextual theology, an “orthopraxis,” aimed at liberating the poor and oppressed in Latin America. Inspired by what its proponents consider the core of Jesus Christ’s message–a radical “option for the poor”–their analysis of politics and society and the resultant action were mediated by the philosophy of Karl Marx. According to one of the most famous liberation theologians, Enrique Dussel, Marx’s thought as a “philosophy of liberation” was used to “formulate a metaphysics demanded by revolutionary praxis and technologico-design poiesis against the background of peripheral social formations. To do this it is necessary to deprive Being of its alleged eternal and divine foundation” (Dussel, 15). This last remark is crucial to understanding the world view and the general perspective of liberation theologians: it is holistic and immanent, not created by a transcendent God that made creation necessarily Good. On the contrary, creation is pervaded with sin, in every place and in every moment where or when human beings or other creatures are oppressed. It is in the “face” of the oppressed that God can be found, and from the perspective of the “poor” (in a broad sense) that resistance must grow. The Marxist interpretation of economic and social relations in the reality in which we live is then used as a means to reach the final objective of liberation theology: the liberation of the poor and thereby, the installation of God’s Kingdom on earth.

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