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Save Us from Cynicism: Religion and Social Class

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Part of the New Approaches to Religion and Power book series (NARP)

Abstract

In the early 1970s, Hugo Assmann, one of the primary Latin American liberation theologians, wrote:

Any kind of Christian theology today, even in rich and dominant countries, which does not have as its starting point the historic situation of dependence and domination of two thirds of humankind, with its 30 million dead of hunger and malnutrition, will not be able to position and concretize historically its fundamental themes. Its questions will not be the real questions. It will not touch the real person. As observed by a participant in the Buenos Aires gathering, “theology must be rescued from its cynicism.” Certainly, in the face of the problems of today’s world, many theological writings are reduced to cynicism.1

After more than 40 years, this text is still relevant. While it is true that with economic globalization, the concrete form in which the economy operates on a global scale has changed and the numbers on poverty are also different, the fundamental ideas of this paragraph continue to challenge us.

Keywords

Middle Class Social Ethic Christian Church Liberation Theologian Moral Conscience 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Hugo Assmann, Teologia desde la práxis de la liberación: ensayo teológico desde la América dependiente, second edition (Salamanca: Sígueme, 1976), 40.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Pui-lan Kwok, Postcolonial Imagination and Feminist Theology (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2005), 7.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Hugo Assman, “Por una sociedad donde quepan todos,” in José Duque, ed., Por una sociedad donde quepan todos (San José, Costa Rica: DEI, 1996), 379–391 (380).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    For more on this subject, see, for example, Michael Tomasello, Origens culturais da aquisição do conhecimento humano (São Paulo: Martins Fontes, 2003);Google Scholar
  5. Jung Mo Sung, The Subject, Capitalism, and Religion, New Approaches to Religion and Power (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), especially Chapter 6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 5.
    Zygmunt Bauman, O mal-estar da pós-modernidade (Rio de Janeiro: Jorge Zahar Ed., 1998), 59.Google Scholar
  7. 6.
    John Kenneth Galbraith, A cultura do contentamento (São Paulo: Pioneira, 1992), 12. (Originai in English, The Culture of Contentment, 1992, 18–19.)Google Scholar
  8. 7.
    For example, Paul Ormerod, A morte da economia (São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 1996). (Original in English, The Death of Economics, 1994.)Google Scholar
  9. 8.
    Hugo Assmann and Franz Hinkelammert, A idolatria do mercado: ensaio sobre economia e teologia(Petrópolis: Vozes, 1989);Google Scholar
  10. Jung Mo Sung, Desire, Market and Religion (London: SCM, 2007);Sung, Subject, Capitalism, and Religion.Google Scholar
  11. 9.
    Joan Robinson, Filosofia econòmica (Rio de Janeiro: Zahar, 1979). (Original in English, Economic Philosophy: An Essay on the Progress of Economic Thought, 1962, 21–22.)Google Scholar
  12. 13.
    Karl Polanyi, A grande transformação: as origens da nossa época (Rio de Janeiro: Campus, 1980), 110. (Original in English, The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time, 1944.)Google Scholar
  13. 16.
    This is the title of a romance novel by Peter F. Drucker, The Temptation to Do Good (New York: Harper & Row, 1984). On this subject, see also Sung, Desire, Market and Religion, Chapter 1.Google Scholar
  14. 24.
    Michel Albert, Capitalismo X capitalismo (São Paulo: Fundação Fides-Loyola, 1992), 87.Google Scholar
  15. 28.
    Paul A. Samuelson, Introdução à análise econòmica, vol. 8, eighth edition (Rio de Janeiro: Agir, 1977), 45. (Original in English, Economics, ninth edition, 1973.)Google Scholar
  16. 31.
    For an example of the Pauline critique of law and the economy, see Franz Hinkelammert, A maldição que pesa sobre toda a lei (São Paulo: Paulus, 2012).Google Scholar
  17. 33.
    Albert O. Hirschman, As paixões e os interesses: argumentos políticos para o capitalismo antes de seu triunfo (Rio de Janeiro: Paz e Terra, 1979), 42–43. (In English, The Passions and the Interests: Political Arguments for Capitalism before Its Triumph, 1997, 39.)Google Scholar

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© Joerg Rieger 2013

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