Theology, Philosophy and Politics

  • Stephen Grover


Popular attacks upon liberal theology usually contain two claims, similar in form but relating to different aspects of the theological enterprise. The first, addressing its credal content, sees scepticism about the historical accuracy of scripture and a tendency to water down the traditional doctrines of Christianity as driven by subservience to secular philosophy, rather than by anything internal to biblical and doctrinal scholarship. The second accuses the liberal theologians of substituting for the supernatural claims of their religion an attachment to contemporary political and ethical programmes which have no specifically Christian content. Thus A. J. Ayer’s Language, Truth and Logic, published in 1936, has long been credited with generating amongst theologians, and also amongst philosophers of religion sympathetic to religious belief, a kind of liberal funk, in which the fear of being seen to be out of line with contemporary philosophical orthodoxy drove them to abandon the defence of traditional faith, and to set about re-interpreting the central doctrines of Christian theism so as to conform to Ayer’s empiricist strictures on meaning and truth. Likewise, changing attitudes to ethical and political issues within the churches are thought to have their roots in a desperate desire to appear relevant to an intelligentsia increasingly disaffected with religion, rather than being generated by sincere attempts to relate the biblical message to present realities.


Ethical Programme Christian Theology Christian Belief Liberal Tradition Christian Ethic 
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Notes and References

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© Stephen Grover 1990

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  • Stephen Grover

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