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Modern theology more vibrant and versatile due to globalization and decolonization

Published: 23rd June 2022 Last updated: 23rd June 2022

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In this book "The Modern Theologians, Perspectives on the 21st Century," emeritus professor of interreligious dialogue Marcel Poorthuis and former pastor Wilken Veen consider many theologians of the last forty years from around the world. They argue that theology has not only become much more pluralistic through globalization, but also more vibrant, as theologians have taken their own identities and life circumstances as their starting point.

As new examples in Christianity, Poorthuis and Veen cite liberation theology, black theology, feminist theology, and the many theologies that consciously and in resistance to colonialism see one's own culture as the finding place of God. The same movement can be observed in Asian, Indian and African theology. Not the church but suffering of the people is at the heart of God's intervention in the world. These are emerging theologies that also start from personal involvement, identity and environment.  

Only a theologian who takes his own religious identity seriously can enter into dialogue with other religions. The interreligious dialogues between Christianity and those other religions lead to new questions about Christian theology. It can no longer settle these questions with schemes of truth and error. 

Radical orthodoxy

Thus theology can free itself from totalitarian tendencies and oppressive claims to power. Yet supporters of radical orthodoxy in particular see in this development precisely a selling out of the mysteries of Christianity and criticize the dominance of the social sciences over theology.

Poorthuis and Veen argue that globalization, modernization and communication will continue to change theology. Poorthuis: 'It is bizarre to realize that the corona pandemic did not lead to mutual solidarity between rich and poor, but only deepened that gap. The notion of living in one world, God's world, for which we bear responsibility, will increasingly define theology in the twenty-first century, if humanity is to survive.'

The book 'The Modern Theologians.  Perspectives on the 21st Century ' is published by Boomfilosofie . For more information contact persvoorlichting@tilburguniversity.edu and tel. 0134664000