Jesus Christ is the Revolution

“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, … Continued

“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus [Galatians 3.27-28].”

Two millennia ago, when St. Paul wrote those words to the theologically-challenged Christian communities of what is now central Turkey, he was certainly proclaiming a social revolution: in a world characterized by ethnic and religious hatreds, chattel slavery, strict patriarchy, and male primogeniture, Paul taught the radical equality of all baptized believers in Christ. But did that make Jesus of Nazareth, whom Paul believed to have called him to his apostleship, a social revolutionary? No, at least not in the sense proposed by the various theologies of liberation that sprang up in Latin America in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s.

There were, in fact, multiple theologies of liberation, with different themes and different stresses; lumping them together as “liberation theology” is, in some sense, a disservice to the originality of the various theologians of liberation.

Still, there were common threads running through the theologies of liberation and two were especially prominent: a commitment to “Marxist analysis” as the best tool for understanding the causes of Third World poverty, and a vision of the Christian community in which the Church’s primary task was political action (including, in some cases, violent political action) as the vanguard of the future egalitarian society.

Now, if that sounds vaguely reminiscent of the European intellectual and political churnings that eventually came to be labeled, simply, “1968,” that’s because the theologies of liberation were not quite the indigenous Third World phenomena their proponents (and the western media) imagined them to be. For the truth of the matter is that the theologies of liberation were largely born in western European faculties of theology and brought back to Latin America by recently-minted academics who, having drunk deeply from the wells of European socialism, now proposed to bring the revolution home, so to speak – if in Spanish and Portuguese, rather than German and French, accents.

The late John Paul II could hardly be accused of favoring a publicly quiescent Catholicism, given his pivotal role in the collapse of European communism. In his epic address to a conference of Latin American bishops meeting in Mexico in January 1979, John Paul made it clear that the picture of the “subversive Man from Nazareth” propounded by some forms of liberation theology did not square with classic and settled Christian convictions.

John Paul wanted a social and politically engaged Church; however, he did not accept the idea of a “partisan Church” (which many liberation theologians advocated), for reasons that go straight back to St. Paul’s arguments with those obstreperous Galatians (whom some biblical scholars believe to have been transplanted Celts, and thus obstreperous by nature). The kind of Christian liberation that John Paul promoted was the kind he had modeled in Poland, where a revolution of conscience had cleared the social space for a nonviolent and democratic political revolution.

In Latin America, the John Paul II model was perhaps best embodied by the heroic archbishop of Managua, Miguel Obando y Bravo, who throughout the 1980s stood firm against the kindergarten Marxism of the Nicaraguan Sandinistas, even as he bent every effort to move his country toward democracy and social justice.

There’s an interesting coincidence, which some might even find ironic, in the fact that John Paul’s successor, Benedict XVI, will have to confront the afterburn of liberation theology that can still be detected in Latin American Catholicism during his current visit to Brazil.

As Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Benedict was a principal critic of the theologies of liberation. Yet Ratzinger and the liberation theologians shared (and share) a common commitment to the Bible as the book of the people of the Church, not a book that’s the private preserve of highly-trained academics. That Benedict XVI’s understanding of the Jesus of the New Testament differs sharply from that proposed by many liberation theologians is obvious; what is perhaps not-so-obvious is that shared commitment to bringing the Bible out of the literary dissecting room and the university lecture hall so that it can be a living and liberating word, once again, for ordinary men and women, seeking the face of the Lord as they seek their own human dignity.

There is nothing more revolutionary, socially or otherwise, than the core proclamation of Jesus of Nazareth: that the Kingdom of God is among us, for the coming of that Kingdom relativizes (even as it puts in proper order) all of our other loves and loyalties. That re-ordering of priorities doesn’t have much to do with “social revolution” as the world-after-Karl-Marx understands the term. But it has everything to do with a revolution of the human spirit that can ignite positive social change and genuine human liberation.

John Paul demonstrated that in igniting the nonviolent Revolution of 1989 in central and eastern Europe. It would be no bad thing if Benedict XVI could ignite a similar process of authentic liberation leading to genuine and enduring social change in Latin America.

“On Faith” panelist George Weigel, a Senior Fellow of Washington’s Ethics and Public Policy Center, is the author of many books, most recently “God’s Choice: Pope Benedict XVI and the Future of the Catholic Church” (HarperCollins).

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  • Glen

    Weigel, you can really put a sentence together. Good luck to Benedict XVI and thank you for a college level essay.

  • halozcel

    there is neither slave nor free.Galatians 3.27-28there is neither male nor female,Galatians 3.27-28Which ones are correct??

  • J. Leopold

    Mr. Weigel as a propagandist of intellectual absurdities, you get an A for this pompous essay.As to the Liberation theology, it is currently the only concrete approach that has helped the Catholic Church to stymie its gradual erosion from the Latin American continent as it actually displays a genuine concern for the poor that have and continue to be exploited by elite classes, Catholics to a person, of that continent. As to St Paul and the Galatians, it is obvious that like the current Catholic Hierarchy, he preferred sheepish compliance over vocal challenging debates.As to the Kingdom on Earth, I have no knowledge of where you reside but it is at best an intellectual delusion as Christian led wars are ravaging the Middle East and killing thousands of innocents while individuals such as yourself, the Christian Churches et al, support same by not pointing out the inherent evil of it all.

  • Freevoice

    “That re-ordering of priorities doesn’t have much to do with “social revolution” as the world-after-Karl-Marx understands the term. But it has everything to do with a revolution of the human spirit that can ignite positive social change and genuine human liberation.”Jesus of Nazareth was not a doubletalker and took the bull by the horn because it is all about the human spirit.Everybody can make things complicated but it takes a genius to keep things simple….Jesus knew that just like I know that.He leveled the playing field so that all people could have access to build a relationship with the most high, creator of the heavens and the earth that dwelled in us. That is true and genuine equality.Thank you very much Mr. Weigel

  • Glen

    We are one and equal in Christ. I believe that at the same time, we do contend with earthly powers, culture, and authorities. Paul dealt with a culture that was different form ours and he expected followers to respect the culture in his time. We are still subject to earthly authority. I am subject to the ruling for abortion that seems to me like murder. Paul would instruct me to live in peace not to bomb abortion clinics. Work for change but don’t take out violence. Christians in Islamic culture will enslave themselves to the cultural preferences of the host nation when they know that the way women are treated is wrong. They will persevere as Paul instructed and pray and work for peaceful change. Our culture is no longer a place where women are not allowed to have authority over men. So we can and should follow that current rule not live in anger if we were to think otherwise. Thank god slavery is gone, at least in America. If by law slavery existed, then we would as law abiding citizens obey this ridiculous logic until such time as it could be changed. Otherwise, we would be burning the house of every slave owner and living in anarchy. Always and forever one in Christ no matter what is the authority structure in our age. Obliged to obey earthly authorities, obey the laws, and respect prevailing positional power. Yet, as Christians, we are free to ignite a similar process of authentic liberation leading to genuine and enduring social change.

  • Anari

    Jesus was a rebel. He wasn’t a punk. He walked the earth with authority and was not persuaded by man’s Hypocrisy. As we current christians are supposed to do.

  • Roger Smith

    This is just a theory not real. Jesus Christ originally a jewish prophet made god by people. He was a man in flesh – who live a short undocumented life not to be worshipped but now the Christians worship him instead of real God that created him or any other prophets.There are 12,000 churches are for sale in the USA alone indicated that you can fool some time some body not all the people all the time, only 2000 years and not we all realize Christianity is almost like a pagan religion or multi-god religion of idols as Hinduism. Instead of asking God for help you ask Jesus for help who could not help himself without God’s power, you ask Pope or some dishonest – immoral father in a church to forgive – who has no authority to forgive unless God himself. Christianity is going to lost with this cheap slogan, believe in Jesus = go to heaven. So easy – no it does not work that way.To survive Christianity need to go back to original “no other god before God” and no image of God etc.. the real monotheism. Most of the things are said at the name of Jesus is man made because first book about Christianity was written 300 years after Jesus’ time. Think of the authenticity 300 years after some thing happened in just 3 years of Jesus’ life – we do not remember what happened last week, so all this is big business and control of power. Look at the fruits to know a tree, look at the priests and church leaders today they are immoral and power hungry big business, what they can teach us. No wonder the world’s fastest growing religion is not Christianity because what they say and what they practise is different. Love you enemey said the bible = kill 600,000 Iraqis. Return bread to your enemy’s stone = carpet bomb Afghanistan.Jesus is not irrevalant today and his teaching but they way Church teaches today, same as windows version 3 today call windows vista newer version. We need to read and understand without prejudice other major religions and why they are our enemy of the west and why their faith is so strong than ours, we are winning wars but loosing morality and family, look at our divorce rate and compare it to any middle East country (except Israel) they seems better in family value and they give life for their faith,, why why why,,, We need read their religion in Middle East better without prejudice to understand them, may be then we will know why the are the fastest growing religion in the world.

  • Anonymous

    GEORGE WEIGEL tells us: There is nothing more revolutionary, socially or otherwise, than the core proclamation of Jesus of Nazareth: that the Kingdom of God is among us, for the coming of that Kingdom relativizes (even as it puts in proper order) all of our other loves and loyalties. Ann O. replies: George Weigel admits that some truths are true *RELATIVE* to others? AWWK cough!!! ACK heez crunk EEEEEEEKKK! You better not let Pope Benedict hear you say that :-)

  • Russell D.

    Anon:Tell the Pope I said it. He’ll know what you mean. We go way back. Used to look up catholic school girls’ skirts back in the day. Yea Buddy.

  • speed123

    Hey Roger, Crawl back under that rock, you’re an idiot. Try not to write or speak about that which you do not understand.

  • R.L. Giarrusso

    Didn’t Jesus say He had come to set brother against brother, the same man who violently chased the money changers from the temple? Yes, He preached peace, but didn’t back down from confrontation, cater to the status quo, or equivocate. And though His message was to unite us all in belief in one God, I don’t recall Him saying that His Father was better (or even different) from the God of the Old Testament, nor do I think that He would take sides in the petty and murderous conflicts of race, class, and religious exclusionism, bigotry, and xenophobia that plague us today. Didn’t he say that His Father’s house had many mansions? I believe that Jesus was real, and was more than just an inspired man, or a preacher, prophet, or social commentary. Revolutionary? Definitely. He gave believers faith and comfort that in spite of the inequities on this plane, there would be salvation for the righteous (and punishment for the wicked) on the next. He brought hope and inspired the confidence to follow your conscience. Jesus also popularized the concept of an egalitarian society, where we were all equal in God’s eyes, and that he who exalted himself shall be humbled as he who humbled himself would be exalted. And even if you don’t accept Jesus in your life, that fact that people know right from wrong and acknowledge they should do the right thing (even if they don’t always follow through with it) are a testament to the morality that God brings into our hearts. Whether you see His presence there or not.

  • Roger Smith

    Thank you Speed123 for your free speech but you know the Bible saying “Know the truth and truth will set you free”. Learn other major fastest growing religion and study Christianity to compare, it is full of contradiction, man made ideas, violence, you will find the truth and it will set you free from prejudice, ambiguity and hatred. Please more question the questions and you will learn. Bible is the best selling book is true and also the most unread selling book in the world. You get a gift of Bible and keep it in book case but never read, if you read and also read other major religion books you will be lost, simple example how can be one God and thee gods in one, so confusing because the whole idea is man made a Pagan king in Rome 300 years after it happened. Thank you.

  • Ross

    J. Leopold.The wars in the Middle East are being fought in the name of secular democracy, not Christianity.Church leaders, especially the late Pope John Paul II as well as Pope Benedict XVI, have vociferously condemned the killing there. Pope Benedict referred to the unending “slaughter” there just last month.

  • jason

    Weigel is what 2nd century christians would have called a gnostic. the bible says these things about equality, justice for the poor, etc., but none of it **means** anything in this material world. the verses about the kingdom are all about the next life, while this life is about your private connection to god. classic gnosticism. so very convenient, too, as it offers no challenges to any existing social relationships or structural issues in society. weigel’s religion costs nothing, will change nothing, and is worth nothing.

  • Anonymous

    did you say central turkey? turkey? islamic turkey? that must mean that turkey was not always islamic! wow – how did it become islamic? did the islamics attack it and take over by force? that would make christians in turkey sort of like the pals in israel, and we can demand our land back, and according to the standard set by islam christians would be right in blowing up women and children as non innocent invaders.

  • baikonur

    Mr Weigel attempts to discredit liberation theology by associating it with 1968-era European intellectual movements. But he leaves undiscussed just why ideas imported from Europe would prove so successful in their application. That the church benefitted because it adapted to existing social conditions should be beyond question. Portraying the social revolutions of Latin America as having their birth in Paris is incredibly wrongheaded and terribly elitist. Is this indicative of the course Benedict intends to take?

  • Monty Keeling

    Mr Weigel’s article shines helpful light on the truth of the Christian Gospel. Christianity today is a wide landscape of interests and actions. In fact, many churches did oppose the War in Iraq. But these are not the kind of Christians that interest the news media. Faith is a process, but noone can take seriously Jesus’ understanding of God’s grace and be happy with the world today. Christians are working to change things. And much of the light that shines through the world still comes from God’s people. (Who also include the Jews and some other folks as well.)

  • Acrapist

    If you really want liberation, stop believing in things that do not exist. Gods, ghosts, spirits, souls, devils and demon, and life after death all share in that there is no physical evidence that they exist. Here are some other things that share this trait: the Aliens that were supposedly hiding behind the comet that “picked up” those people that killed themselves at just the right time to catch a ride, Santa clause, voodoo, rubbing coins on people as a cure for illness, and the list is endless. People will seemingly believe anything given the promise of a tasty carrot and the threat of a nasty stick.These things are mental prisons in that they promise punishment and reward for belief and behavior. The “liberation” that Jesus offers is trading one prison cell for another (not exactly a revolution).The real revolution is to stop believing in things that do not exist. Giving up unreasoned beliefs is not a license to live without a moral code. Having a moral code is part of being human and is not an exclusive product of religion.I can be a good, decent, loving human being without believing in, boxing myself into, or chaining myself to fairytales. Freedom is free thought, where-after you choose to do what is best.

  • mannbhupinder

    Was Jesus A Rebel or a Social Revolutionary? Of course: he was all this. He was a man without much, perhaps any, formal education, and he was going around teaching his religious experiences. And he had attracted quite a few women followers, given those times. The establishment did not like that and got rid of him. Don’t you think that the parallels between him and many subsequent social rebels, including David K of Waco, TX, are rather uncanny, and disturbing? The US establishment got rid of the last one, just like the Romans got rid of Jesus. And, in between, the Church got rid of William Tyndale–his crime was translating the Bible into English. Just like the human minds create Gods, so can so many faithfuls see so much in a man and events from so long ago. Just a matter of interpretation of the events and actors according to your biased outlook, baby.

  • Gaby

    Acrapist:”If you really want liberation, stop believing in things that do not exist. Gods, ghosts, spirits, souls, devils and demon, and life after death all share in that there is no physical evidence that they exist. “But what if you can feel them? I can’t see IT, I can’t touch IT, I’m not even sure I believe in IT, but I can feel IT.

  • dts

    Gaby this one is posted here for youOne day, a 6 year old girl was sitting in a classroom. The Teacher was explaining evolution to the children. The Teacher asked a little boy:TEACHER: Tommy do you see the tree outside?TOMMY: Yes.TEACHER: Tommy, do you see the grass outside?TOMMY: Yes.TEACHER: Go outside and look up and see if you can see the sky.TOMMY: Okay. (He returned a few minutes later) Yes, I saw the sky.TEACHER: Did you see GOD?TOMMY: No.TEACHER: That’s my point. We can’t see GOD because HE isn’t there. HE just doesn’t exist.A little girl spoke up wanting to ask the boy some questions. The Teacher agreed.LITTLE GIRL: Tommy, do you see the tree outside?TOMMY: Yes.LITTLE GIRL: Tommy do you see the grass outside?TOMMY: Yessssss!LITTLE GIRL: Did you see the sky?TOMMY: Yessssss!LITTLE GIRL; Tommy, do you see the Teacher?TOMMY: YesLITTLE GIRL: Do you see her brain?TOMMY: NoLITTLE GIRL: Then according to what we were taught today, she doesn’t have one………..II CORINTHIANS 5:7 ” FOR WE WALK BY FAITH, NOT BY SIGHT “

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    It is all about first century CE economics and nothing to do with social revolution or liberation theology- please stop all the “theology speak”:Early Christian economics 101:The Baptizer drew crowds and charged for the “dunking”. The historical Jesus saw a good thing and continued dunking and preaching the good word orally plagiarized from the ancient religions but added “healing” as an added charge to include free room and board. Sure was better than being a poor peasant but he got a bit too zealous and they nailed him to a tree. Paul picked up the money scent on the road to Damascus. He added some letters for a fee and “Gentilized” the good word to the “big Along comes Constantine. He saw the growing rich Christian community and recognized a new tax base so he set them “free”.An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue, ( Professors Crossan and Wright are On Faith panelists). “Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God’s hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus’ failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing.”In conclusion, money is a major foundation of Christianity to include Mormonism. Ditto for Islam.The martyred apostles ran afoul of Roman political and religious authorities because they preached, healed, and baptized for the conversion (and profit) to a non-Roman way of life. This support of an anti-Roman cult resulted in the typical murder/crucifixion of the cult leaders. The apostles’ conversions also caused a dramatic drop in Roman/Jewish temple appearances and contributions and just like Jesus’ Jewish temple outburst, it resulted in added punishment to include crucifixion.

  • Roy

    What do you think Jesus would say about a church that has cardinals in LA and Mexico who protect pedophile priests?

  • stoff

    Acrapist: “The Truth will set you free.”Obviously one can believe that without believing in the one who said it. But why should I believe the atheists, materialists, and empiricists who gave us the Terror of the Fench Revolution, and the internal combustion engine; the slaughter of the Gulag, and the glow of electric lights; the miracle of penecillin and the nihilism of Auschwitz? It seems that your brand of free thinking can be very useful for figuring out how THINGS work, and horrific at explaining how we SHOULD live with one another.The question, then, is not whether or not truth sets us free, but rather, what (or Who) is the truth? However you answer THAT question it will never be a matter of proof, but of belief.

  • Officeman

    A couple of quick responses to some comments.First, to those who keep calling religion a fantasy, you have concluded as much because you believe theists can’t prove he exists. How odd you are so certain in your own conclusions when you can’t prove that God doesn’t exist. You should read some of the great religious writers, including former atheists, who came to the conclusion that he does exist. There is far too much intellectual weight behind the belief in God to attribute it to a “tasty carrot and threat of a nasty stick.” You do yourselves, and the rest of us, an injustice.Second, to Jason, conclusory analysis will get you nowhere. Unanalyzed claims about Weigel being a gnostic are unconvincing. I can’t even tell if you know what gnosticism is, let alone how you make the connection with Weigel. Your statement that Paul’s words concern only the next life is also conclusory. How do you explain the ancient Christian and Biblical recognition that the Kingdom of God is at hand. Mt 3:2. It seems reasonable to conclude that it begins now and carries into the next life. All who belong to it should live in that hope and with that love in how they behave. That was Weigel’s point, that, thanks to Jesus Christ, our lives are full of meaning. What’s gnostic about that?

  • Jonesy

    Roy I think Jesus would say such a Church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.

  • acrapist

    Gaby,I do not begrudge you your feelings and I consider them physically real. Were we part paths is when you assign them to supernatural forces as opposed to natural phenomena. I find no reason to say that the extraordinary feelings that I sometimes have are from anything other than real sensory input and real neurological processes.DTS,If every time a skull is opened, a brain is found, then it is reasonable to think that, if the teacher’s skull was opened, that we would find a brain. Additionally, we know that thinking and perception resides in the brain and that if the teacher exhibits behavior that points to thinking and perception, that she has a brain. This is reasonable. This is very different than faith. Faith does not require reason, evidence or proof. I can imagine an invisible buddy, and with faith, assert that this buddy is really there.STOFF,Horrific atrocities abound both within and without religion. That is a human thing. I consider truth to be what is experienced and anything written about that to be an interpretation. In that sense alone will the truth set you free. Everything else is a conceptual construct that may or may not have utility. I do not consider holy books to contain any truth and I certainly do not think they will set you free.

  • David C. Nelson

    Jesus was a Jewish radical who who campaigned to ameliorate the suffering endured by his people during a foreign occupation of his land. He was smart enough not to confront the occupying Roman armies directly, but instead rallied his people to to regain the moral strength they would need to overthrow the quislings who cooperated with the occupiers. Out of this short campaign rose the myth that he was the son of God, but in reality he was history’s greatest Liberation Theologians.

  • Freevoice

    Roger Smith: “Learn other major fastest growing religion and study Christianity to compare, it is full of contradiction, man made ideas, violence, you will find the truth and it will set you free from prejudice, ambiguity and hatred. Please more question the questions and you will learn.”This is such a tired line and it gets boring…..Christianity is not full of contradictions the PEOPLE are, without human action nothing happens…stop and take a look in the mirror. Blaming everything on Christianity is such a cheapshot for those who can’t see beyond their own limitations. If you search your own heart you will see the light. Fastest growing religion does not make it a better religion…part of human nature…everything needs to be easy….when things go wrong they can always point the blaming finger instead of looking inward.The bible is a manual that tells you about the wickedness of human nature but it also gives you the roadmap to salvation. Seek and you shall find! Spirito Santos

  • Monty Keeling

    True Christianity isn’t perfect. But then neither is anything else in life. I know of no other religon, however, that believes in a God who is so loving that as a creator grace (the good things in life and forgiveness without requirements)is offered to everyone. Even those who don’t believe God exists! As long as there are questions that we cannot answer there’s a good possibility that God exists. Anytime you can get 80 percent of the American people (the percentage of folks who claim to be Christian in this country) to agree on anything. That in itself is pretty good proof that whatever they believe in must have real substance.

  • acrapist

    Monty Keeling,80 percent of Americans believing that their imaginary friend is real means that 80 percent of americans are idiots.

  • Freevoice

    80% of Americans and many more around the world….from Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, South and Latin America and the Caribbean this imaginary friend most be making a difference in peoples lives, where marxism and atheisism have failed them miserably. Praise be to the God of my fathers who knows that only a fool breaks his own heart

  • candide

    Jesus was not a social revolutionary, but he allowed himself to be proclaimed king of Israel by the political revolutionaries and that is why he was executed. He was no Socialist; he was a Jewish nationalist.In any case he was no saviour of the Gentiles.

  • Brian F.

    Gee, some people have way too much free time on their hands. I just thought it was a succint and to-the-point perspective on liberation theology vs. the kind of genuine liberation that John Paul II delivered to Poland and Eastern Europe. Weigel’s analyis certainly calls to question the need for liberation theology in light of the real change sparked by John Paul The Great. As for Benedict’s visit to Brazil, I don’t suspect a man previously known to silence priests for their views on liberation theology will be taken in the same light as John Paul II was taken by his native people in Poland. It’s apples and oranges. Perhaps in the future we will see a Pope of Latin American or African ethnicity and he will bring some legitimacy to those countries in the same way that John Paul brought it to Eastern Europe. God allows great servants, but only so often. We’ll not see another Pope of John Paul’s spirit and caliber in our lifetime. There was only one John Paul II and he is now gone. Those shoes won’t (and probably cannot) be filled by Benedict. We need to aknowledge that and move on. Here in the US and in Europe, the sun is setting on the Catholic Church, it is not rising. We’ve seen the last of the Greats and should now look to other leaders and institutions to carry us forward into the future. There will certainly be great men and women, but they won’t be Pope. They’ll be something else and they will make a change.

  • Michael

    that is probably the most superficial and condescending analysis of liberation theology and social movements in Latin America that I have ever read. You have spoken like any wealthy conservative catholic would of a philosophy and world that he could never understand. Just because you might have been to a couple of beach resorts in Latin America doesn´t mean you understand the people, their social movements or their faith. It is unfortunate that continuing conservative catholic church leadership are so much in agreement with you. May your faith lead you to a real compasion and understanding of the big world outside of your own.

  • John Kolar

    Mr. Weigel oversimplifies Liberation Theology to the point of caricature. He says that LT understands “Marxist analysis” as the best tool for understanding the causes of third world poverty. Most Liberation Theologians emphasize “structural injustice” as the tool for understanding poverty–that is, that poverty is the result of sin built into the structure of society (e.g., in the case of slavery where the law endorsed what was clearly a sinful state of affairs). Marx, too, understood injustice as a structural feature of modern capitalist political economy. Marx’s prescription for the solution–the deterministic inevitability dawn of “scientific socialism”–is NOT endorsed by any Liberation Theologian. The Catholic Church too, in its official social documents, understands that ameliorating “structural injustice” is a key to creating a society of justice and peace. Thus, the analysis of the Church and Liberation Theologians dovetails in many ways in terms of “social analysis.”

  • Anonymous

    I used have a “Palamino” Horse named “B E C K”!After Becks Beer that is.When Jesus was around, besides the three wise Zoroastrians who went to Philistine to see Jesus in his crib, that it was the “PAGAN ARABS” [Abrahamic Islam never existed even though the "KABA" in Mecca was the center of Paganism] WAS mostly PAGAN WORSHIPERS at that TIME.Note: MOSES Father-in-Law “JETHRO” was a high priest of the Pagan Temples 3,500 Years ago!WAKE-UP!Please, Broithers & Sisters, IT was the “PAGAN ARABS” (via their “Arabian Nights” & Lawrence of Arabia days of Lore mentality’s & sleeping with nine year olds) that were the MERCHANTS (of death) in JERUSALEM at the time of “Yawah” JESUS [Arabs if combined will be richest people on Earth, not Muslum] who paid and got Jesus killed because of his fliping their wears [they rolled dice on his fate] Business Mans Tables at the Market place! Only Eclatari-on’s know who those Arabs were that had Jesus systematically Poof-TIMED! Ya Ya

  • Munguza

    Mr. Weigel: As you blithely (and inaccurately) dismiss Liberation Theology as, “not quite indigenous” and, “brought back to Latin America by recently-minted academics,” let me remind you that Roman Catholicism isn’t what we native Latin Americans consider “an indigenous phenomenon” either…There was a time when the Church used exorcism to treat seizures that are now understood and easily treated with medication. When Ben Franklin invented the lightning rod, he was denounced by Christian leaders because they believed lightning was an act of God not to be challenged by mere mortals. Indeed, at the time it was legally prohibited to douse a house fire started by lightning (though you could in an adjoining house if it spread there).Liberation Theologists were no different from Ben Franklin telling Church elites that lightning was caused by electricity and stoppable with a metal rod, not a divine act to blindly accept because “that’s what we’ve always done.” In their case, Liberation Theologists were primarily concerned with *Social Justice* and reforming the Church’s primitive over-emphasis on submission to authority, passivity, and concern for the afterlife at the expense of present suffering.After generations of grinding poverty, most Latin American peasants came to accept their harsh subsistence living as God’s will, a fact of life they could not change and should not question. If they got a tooth infection or lost an infant from disease, it was because God wanted it so. Many of the countries functioned as de-facto Slave States.Liberation Theology said the opposite, that God did not make you an impoverished peasant, men did. God does not want you to suffer needlessly or lose a child to an easily curable disease, it is the indifference of your fellow man who does, by consuming public money on his private ranch instead of vaccines and health clinics. God wants you to actively re-build society to reflect His wish to first take care of the least among us.For liberation theologists, it was an *unacceptable moral outrage* that the infant children of peasants were dying slow, painful easily-preventable deaths from diarrhea and infections while wealthy elites pilfered their money to spend on lavish mansions, spas and party ranches. Apparently to Pope Benedict, it was not as outrageous as Theological Correctness since he fought harder against the latter than the former.

  • Anonymous

    The drunken Moses Story’s is as sobering as the Drunken Noah story’s!?

  • candide

    Weigel is an apologist for every evil in the Catholic Church. He is an integrist, which in church terms means a Fascist.

  • Gaby

    I understand, Jozevz. Not all of it but most.

  • Acrapist

    Praise be to the human mind that breaks free from religion, from absolute social structures (communism & capitalism) and from its own cherished ego.

  • acrapist

    Liberation Theology is an Oxymoron.

  • Freevoice

    “The God revealed in the Bible is a God who intends that his human creatures redress that unjust situation. That is the message of Liberation Theology, not Weigel’s caricature.”Indeed human creatures need to redress that unjust situation. The message of Liberation Theology in most cases is being discussed by the privileged and the Church but it never seems to trickle down to those that need to hear it. Institutionalized religion is plain old politics…..people, power and privilege….it has nothing to do with spirituality. Jesus in his time challenged this same hypocrisy. I am glad to say that today others are following in his footsteps. The churches run empty while those that tell the truth in Jesus name are thriving, shining their light and inspiring others who seek the truth and soul salvation. “I live in Houston, Texas, & I have seen the growth of Mega-Churches in this city, & I can honestly tell you that blind faith leads to robbery. Pastor Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church won a major battle in court about two weeks ago. He is not to reveal his profits from his mega-Church to the public anymore. Why is he hiding his surplus (since I am sure in his heart he believes God has blessed him w/ such magnificent materialistic gift of millions & millions of dollars)??? If Rebel Jesus was alive, he would not only speak out against the falsehood of ALL religions, but he would also point out the corruption of the corporate world in churches (like Lakewood Church) preying on the ignorance of the masses. “This is typical character assassination Joel Osteen does not force people to do anything against their will; he is not telling them that if you don’t give you will burn in hell. He is thriving because he is telling the truth that others before him failed to do.In this I say there is still hope….the people of faith will lead America away from the darkness and downward spiral of self-destruction.God bless Joel Osteen and his wife Victoria keep shining your light and continue to be a blessing to others. Faith delivers your soul from death and destruction and that’s a good thingSpirito Santos

  • Veils of Maya

    STOFF wrote: “It seems that your brand of free thinking can be very useful for figuring out how THINGS work, and horrific at explaining how we SHOULD live with one another.”Science does not dictate morality. All non-theists do not subscribe to some kind of “atheistic” morality. This assumption is an artifact of your belief that God gave Man morality. I’m free to base my moral system on practical concepts that have historical proven results. You’re stuck with 2,000 year old rules that can never change. And if science is so great at figuring out how things work, then why does religion involve itself in matters of science, such as evolution? Why does religion make scientific claims when it clearly has no grounds or evidence to back up these claims? Even stranger still, why does religion only choose to involve itself in specific scientific theories that conflict with the myths of the Bible, yet ignore the rest?

  • Veils of Maya

    FREEVOICE wrote: “80% of Americans and many more around the world….from Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, South and Latin America and the Caribbean this imaginary friend most be making a difference in peoples lives, where marxism and atheisism have failed them miserably.”It is estimated that 46-85% of the population of Sweden does not believe in God. An estimated 5% of the population attend church. Sweden is among other countries such as Norway, Iceland, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, Japan, The Netherlands, Denmark and the UK that are the least religious, yet are the healthiest as indicated by life expectancy, literacy, per capita income, educational attainment, gender equality, homicide rate and infant mortality. The United States is unique in that it of the most wealthy democracies that is strongly religious, yet has high rates of homicide, abortion, teen pregnancy, sexual transmitted disease and infant mortality.

  • Freevoice

    “The Netherlands, Denmark and the UK that are the least religious, yet are the healthiest as indicated by life expectancy, literacy, per capita income, educational attainment, gender equality, homicide rate and infant mortality.”Believe what you want….but saying that people in the Netherlands are the healthiest because they are the least religious is so much propaganda and all laughable. Gender equality is a farce…..gender feminist rule and women/mothers are vilified and kept on the sideline of society as slaves of the state.Educational attainment for some with The Netherlands has 16 Million people and the United States almost 300 Million…you do the math.You should leave the United States and go where the grass is greener….and utopia on earth…so that the United States can maintain its uniqueness.

  • Veils of Maya

    Freevoice: wrote: “Gender equality is a farce…..gender feminist rule and women/mothers are vilified and kept on the sideline of society as slaves of the state.”The Bible isn’t exactly a major proponent for women’s rights. Sounds like you’re towing the party line. Freevoice: wrote: “Educational attainment for some with the government as the biggest employer……not the freemarket where people can make their own choices. They forgot to mention the many highly educated who are unemployed but get government funds to run programs that supposedly help minorities.” One of the companies I worked for received a significant investment from a venture capital company in the Netherlands. The founder of said VC firm acquired a telecom business, turned it around with a innovative management strategy and sold it for a huge profit. In addition, this firm only invests in companies that are green (concerned with or supporting protection of the environment) Sounds like a free market to me. Freevoice: wrote: “The Netherlands has 16 Million people and the United States almost 300 Million…you do the math.”Someone already did the math: These were statistics from the Cambridge University, Journal of Religion and Society and The New York Times. Again, while no country is perfect, it’s clear that non-religious societies do not always result in fundamentalist states that have “…failed [their citizens] miserably.”, as you claimed. Freevoice: wrote: “You should leave the United States and go where the grass is greener….and utopia on earth…so that the United States can maintain its uniqueness.”Being a unique society and being a healthy society are two different things. Sounds you think maintaining status quo is more important than results.

  • Acrapist

    Free Voice =/= Free Thought

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  • Elias Fernandez

    Jesus’s teachings represented a dangerous situation for the Roman Empire, and to all its client power elites in Judea. So, Pontious Pilatus got rid of him. Paul represented the same danger, so Nero got rid of him.The words in Gal 3:27-28 calls for the unity of the New Way to face the oppression of the Romans, to not pay heed to the power symnbols of Rome (the pagan gods).Yes, Jesus and Paul were revolutionaries, full of dynamite political messages so much so the had to be eliminated by the power elites.Please, refer to Horsley & Silverman’s “The Message and The Kingdom” -How Jesus & Paul ignited a revolution and transformed teh ancient World-.

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