Unearthing Political Theology

When looking at how theological concepts link to politics and economics, the term used is Political Theology. Since the time of Jesus, the relationship between Christianity and politics has been heavily discussed. The term has been used by many men and women in many ways, but this is the general idea of what the term means.

Troubled past

The term has had a troubled past mainly because of what it has been associated with. Being endorsed by Carl Schmitt, a German political theologian born in 1888, it became associated with Nazism. This for the most part because Carl Schmitt was a follower of the Nazi ideology. Schmitt had hesitated the first few months after Hitler came to rule, but through Göring he started cooperating on the legal basis of the Third Reich. When doing this, he used his view on political theology. Because of this, it is important to separate the general idea of what the term means, and how Carl Schmitt and other political theologians in Nazi Germany explained the term in their writing.

Unearthing Political Theology

Johann Baptist Metz

When talking about the “general idea of what the term means,” we for the most part think of Johann Baptist Metz’s view on the topic. Metz was born in 1928, and was a German Catholic theologian. Together with Jürgen Moltmann, Metz wrote several texts on the term, their basis being in the direct confrontation of Nazism. Because of this, Johann Baptist Metz is surely one of the most influential German theologians after the second Vatican Council.

In similarity to many other political theologians, the work of Metz often talks of the dangerous memory of Jesus Christ. This is highly related to the anamnesis, a recollection, often of a supposed previous existence. Metz’s biggest motivation was in all probability to rebuild Christian theology from the ground up, following the Holocaust.

Sub-Saharan Africa& The Middle east

The term is not only used in Europe and the United States. In sub-Saharan Africa, for the most part South Africa, the term arrived from the relationship between politics and theology in the anti-apartheid movement. The number of Christians in sub-Saharan Africa has risen, which increased the need for Christian response to political and economic problems such as poverty, violence and war.

In the Middle east however, it is used by Christian leaders for other political problems. The way Christian leaders in the middle east approach the term, if for the most part a way of survival. Christians being a minority in the middle east, are often threatened. The term is therefore associated with survival of Christianity in that region.

What does the future hold?

There have been heavy speculations about whether postmodernity is over. The western culture has changed a lot, following events such as 9/11. The economic situation has changed the most. It’s therefore hard to predict what the future holds, mainly because everything is changing with such rapid speed.

United States of America

In the United States, one of the most influential political theologians in our time is Stanley Hauerwas. It must be stated however, the Hauerwas considers his work as theological politics. Reinhold Niebuhr, whom was the leader of the Socialist Party of America during the 1930’s, developed his own theory, although it was very similar to Johann Batist Metz’s view on Political Theology.