Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Theologians of Hallowed Secularism

6/17/2007--My friend and colleague Robert Taylor has been introducing me to the thinking of major post-war, that is after WWII, Christian theologians. The list so far has included seven names: Bernard Lonergan, Karl Rahner, Edward Schillebeeckx, Jurgen Moltmann, Wolfhart Pannenberg, Johann Metz and Eberhard Jungel. So far I know a little about some of these men [and I am well aware that they are all men--the list was not meant to be exhaustive]. You may wonder how Christian theologians, especially ones as orthodox as these, could have much to say to Hallowed Secularism, which aims at living full lives outside the Christian/dogmatic religious tradtitions. The answer is that Christian theology after the war was intensely concerned with secularism. After all, this secularism occured primarily in societies that had been Christian, so something about Christianity made secularism possible. In addition, in the West, meaning here Europe and North America, and increasingly world-wide, the Church would have to share social space and come to grips with with secularism. In other words, secularism would be the Church's context and challenge. So, for some of them directly and intentionally, while for others indirectly and by side-effect, these thinkers define what is shared and what is not shared by Christianity and secularism. Their ability to understand the theological foundations of secularism is far greater than any defender of secularism whom I have read. You and I need to know them well.

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