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Transcript of Liberation Theology
- 1. Liberation Theology
2. Latin America 3. LT: a Christian response to economic injustice
- An intellectual and social movement in Latin America beginning in the 1960s
- Rooted in Christian faith and Scriptures and developed from conscientious members of religious orders.
- Members of the religious orders are committed to the vow of poverty and do not own property individually, nevertheless they enjoy a standard of living and security that separates them from the daily agony of the poor.
- The question then arose for some of them: what is the ideal of poverty in a situation where most are suffering dehumanizing poverty, andwhat should the Church and Christians do about it?
- The theologians who formulated liberation theology had close contact with poor communities - didnt teach in universities and seminaries.
- Since they spend much time working directly with the poor themselves, the questions they deal with arise out of their direct contact with the poor.
- Liberation theology interprets the Bible through the experiences of the poor.
- It deals with Jesus's life and message: The poor learn to read the Scripture in a way that affirms their dignity and self worth and their right to struggle together for a more decent life.
- The poverty of people is largely a product of the way society is organized therefore liberation theology is a "critique of economic structures".
- Phillip Berryman described the liberation theology in the following terms:
- "Liberation theology is:
- 1. An interpretation of Christian faith out of the suffering, struggle, and hope of the poor;
- 2. A critique of society and the ideologies sustaining it (profit, power, pride);
- 3. A critique of the activity of the church and of Christians from the angle of the poor".
6. Brief History of Colonial Latin America
- Spanish Crown (1485-1530) Golden Age
- Ferdinand (Aragon) and Isabella (Castile)
- United kingdoms = new power of Iberian Peninsula/Europe
- Reconquista/Crusades Evangelize the world
- Columbus (1487 1506)
- Honor, riches, pride (Capitulations of Santa Fe)
- Zealot: believed he was the bearer of Christ to heathens
- Treaty of Tordesilla
- Pope Alexander VI divide the world between Portugal and Spain
7. Conquistadors and Colonization seeking treasure
- Hernn Cortz 1519 enticed by gold, conquered Tenochtitlan (Mexico City) with less than 1000 men in 1521.
- Francisco Pizarro 1532;168 men (68 horses) conquered the heart of Incan Empire by tricking the Sapa Inca (king).
- Emperor attempted to buy his freedom by filling a large room with gold and silver this only fuels the flames of greed for riches.
- European advantages
8. Role of colonies
- To enrich the Crown with bullion, raw materials and labor
- The colonies' central purpose was to serve the interests of the metropolis [Crown] by producing raw materials needed to manufacture in the home country, and then by providing a market for what was made(Bakewell, 2004, p.368)
- Mercantile system of a kingdom created monopolies that provided raw materials to the homeland.Monopolies ensured the Crown got their slice of the wealth (taxation). Over-taxation, inefficiency in production, high prices to colonies.
9. Major colonial sources of wealth
- red dye (brazilwood), sugarcane, cotton, coffee, gold and emeralds, cacao, rice, Indian labor
- Mexico and Latin America:
- silver, gold, sugar, leather Indian labor
10. Role of the Church in the Medieval/Classical worldview
- Gods Church on Earth > Roman Catholic Church
- Pope was closest to God (hierarchy), was considered authority of God on Earth
- Notion of church-state separation was scarcely conceivable in this time(Bakewell, p 138, 2004)
- Kings were faithful and obedient to the pope, tantamount to obedience to God
- Kings had the divine right of God and appointed bishops in their kingdom
- Function of citizen of kingdom was to be loyal and supportive of king, and thereby God, by being obedient, faithful to position in life.
11. Consequences of a rigid, hierarchical social/ political/ economic structure, in which the Church and State are intimately intertwined:
- Leaders of the Church benefit from close relationships with heads of state.
- Church leaders do not advocate for change of this structure, that is,a more equal distribution of power/resources that would benefit the poor , because this would threaten their privileged position in society.
- People are keenly and painfully aware that a large part of the Church is in one way or another linked to those who wield economic and political power in todays world.
- This applies to its position in the opulent and oppressive countries as well as in the poor countries, as in Latin America, where it is tied to the exploiting classes.
- Is the Church fulfilling [its] role when, by its silence or friendly relationships, it lends legitimacy to a dictatorial or oppressive government? (Gutirrez, p65)
13. Economic Development vs Liberation
- Development was a movement of the 1950s to beat 3 rdworld poverty w/ economic policies
- IMF, World Bank loans, foreign investment, new technology
- development consists in increased wealth or, at most, a higher level of well-being
- development is atotal social process , which includes economic, social, political, and cultural aspects
- Development failed to lead poor countries out of economic stagnation and oppressive poverty.
14. Failure of economic development in the 1950s 1960s:
- It has been promoted by international organizations [IMF, World Bank, WTO] closely linked to groups and governments which control the world economy.
- The changes encouraged were to be achieved within the formal structure of the existing institutions without challenging them.
- Great care was exercised not to attack the interests of large international economic powers nor those of their natural allies, the ruling domestic interests groups.
- The so-called changes were often nothing more than new and underhanded ways of increasing the power of strong economic groups.
- Since supporters of development did not attack theroots of evil ,they failed [to cause true growth] and caused instead confusion and frustration (Gutirrez, p26).
- Gutirrez defines the root of evil as being the inherent selfishness of man
15. Three interpenetrating levels ofliberation
- Liberationexpresses the economic, social and political aspirations of oppressed peoples and social classes that put them at odds with wealthy nations and oppressive classes.
- Liberationas the best of development is within this level of liberation, which includes internal and external liberation of man.
- Liberationas man assuming conscious responsibility for his own destiny.
- Liberation from a theological perspective: Christ is the one who liberates us, from sin, from sinful structures, which is the ultimate root of all disruption of friendship and of all injustice and oppression (Gutirrez, 36-37).
16. Role of the Church 17. Basic Principles of LT 18. Priority of Praxis over Theory 19. History as a Focus of Theology 20. Reading the Bible