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The 1970s saw the emergence of liberation as an important force within Christianity. The liberation had three major expressions that include; Black theology, Latin American liberation theology and feminist theology. Studies shows that all three respond to oppression, for instance, Latin American liberation theologians argue that the poverty stricken people are exploited and oppressed by capitalist nations. Black liberation theologians also argue that their people are suffering from oppression at the hands of racists whites. Conversely, Feminist liberation theologians on the other hand emphasis upon the liberation of women in a male-dominated society. In summary, this paper will discuss the three expressions of liberation theology that is; Black theology, Latin American liberation theology and feminist theology within the context of each, as well as, critiquing reflecting on the positive and negative of each.
Liberation theology tries to infer the holy writ through the plight of the disadvantaged or the poor. This is a movement that was originated from South America in 1950. It was a response to deal with issues of poverty that faced the ordinary people, in which there was the distribution of wealth among people to help them upgrade their economic status. In summary, all the three varieties of liberation theology happened to favor political, social as well as, economic change. However, some proponents allow selective use of violence so as to bring change, while others rely upon nonviolent means. This movement arose in protestant as well as, catholic churches and it had three main expressions as discussed below.
(a) Black Liberation Theology
Black liberation theology focuses on Africans and African-Americans being liberated from bondage and injustice. The goal here is to "make Christianity real blacks." It attempts to focus Christianity on liberation from forms of social injustice right away, rather than in the afterlife. This theory was formulated in 1969 by the Nation Committee of Black Church men as a civil rights movement. According to Bradley (2008), he argues that Black theology is a theology of black liberation that plumb the black condition in the light of God's revelation in Jesus Christ; it emancipates black people from white racism, therefore providing authentic freedom for white and black people. In his book, "A Black Theology of Liberation" James Cone, the chief architect of Black Liberation Theology developed black theology as a system in 1970 (Powe, 2011). The movement focused mainly in promoting Marxism and communism by incorporating religious interpretation. Black liberation theology theory focused on the issues involving deliverance from injustices that was not the core principal of the Gospel. However, it is important that the African-Americans needed freedom from racism, unfair treatment as well as, other discriminative practices or doctrines in the society.
Critique of the Black Liberation Theology
Cone's articulation on Black Liberation theology has offered a unique perspective of empowerment particularly to the black Christians allowing all of Christendom to benefit from his work. Nevertheless, Cone's critical analyses of the white Christianity in America, ethnic/racial minorities have played a vital role in contributing to the expansion of self-affirming Christian theologies such as black women and feminist liberation. As argued by Cone in 1970, the movement ventured to reject God's uniformity. However, that was not the case given that the theology focused on political, economical values as well as, historical identity thus uniting black people.
However, negative results due to Black liberation were also evident. For example, the theory tends to separate the white and black Christian communities, as a result, encouraging racism that is not biblical. For Cone, Christianity is about offering practical good news to the oppressed, and so unity among the people is expected since both share same doctrine of Christ. The goal of Black Liberation Theology was mainly to assist the black community, however, in reality, this ended up hurting them even more. Firstly, it promoted negative values such as racial tension leading to more oppression.
(b) Latin American Liberation Theology
According to Rhodes (2003), Latin America for many years have had a unique situation that distinguished theology the theology that is done there from the theology that is done elsewhere. Today, Latin American liberation theology has been public along with it being worldwide. This theory was originally developed from the ideologies instigated by the Catholic missionaries in Latin America and however argues that there is oppression as well as, exploitation of the poor people by the well advantaged; that is the rich capitalist nations. The Latin people are said to have developed the theology by radical understanding of the Bible biased to the people. The movement was brought in limelight by armed pastors who yearned for change, and this is the reason why many churches today had people carrying weapons and guns to show how the church is fighting for their liberation (Kevin & Burke, 2011).
Critique of the Latin American Liberation Theology
This theology had a lot of impact on religious believes given that most people used the scripture to show how discrimination has gone to a larger extend. However, there was positive outcome of this issue in that there was the introduction of the gospel into Latin Christianity, which was an important issue. This however, encouraged the Latin America to start looking life differently, despite the fact that there was an intense insecurity as well as, breaking of the law. As a result, most people faced various challenges hence blaming the rich for the miserable lives the poor were living. Latin American Liberation Theology also promoted discrimination between people of the same race rather than developing peace and unity. Conversely, there was ignorance of spiritual growth, hence advocating of violence so as to obtain justice majorly resulted to bloodbaths causing deaths of many innocent Latin Americans. This liberation also led to the destruction of churches causing continuous spread of libertinism.
(c) Feminist Theology
Christian traditions up-to-date believe God to be male, just because many human societies privilege men over women. Feminist theology intentionally works against the sexism of these tradition beliefs. Therefore, the offset of Feminist theology is the rejection of many women within the society. The major issue that has been stipulating in this theological theory is the control on the women by men. The theory postulates that women are not treated as equal with the men, and scripture notes the equality among the people given that everyone is equal in the eyes of God.
Moreover, the likening of the God's image to that of the male gender is another issue to feminist theology. In this case, it can be evident that the fact ignores the female aspect of life for the reason that; first, there is nowhere in the Bible which is written to acknowledge the likeness of a woman to God, in spite of the fact that creation of all human beings are in the likeness of God. Second, it is sometimes hard for women to blend together in a community which is full of stereotyping, just because the women are said to be weaker sex and this has become a crucial issue in the community that needs to be evaluated.
Critique of the Feminist Theology
Feminist Theology has today become a topic which is discussed worldwide because feminism issue in societies has been there since time in memorial. As a result, there have been positive aspects brought about by feminist theological concept, especially on the issues relating to Christianity. Christianity have accepted women and identified them to be of a great value in society regardless of their weak outlook (Mitchel, 2011).
Conversely, there is negative aspect of this theology in that it shows women to be very weak and unreliable. Just to argue out, I believe that when it comes to being productive, women should be considered to be highly productive in the community as compared to men, however, the chauvinistic nature of…[continue]
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