Atheism in liberation Theology

Gustavo Gutiérrez:
non-believers and non-persons
The power of the poor in history (Orbis: NY 1984) viii, 92
But there is another methodological difference between "our" way of doing theology and the liberation way, which Gutiérrez indicates many times in these essays; the two theologies respond to different interlocutors. Gutiérrez sees northern hemisphere theology as a sustained attempt to answer the questions of nonbelievers, the ones for whom, in the modern world, belief has become difficult because of the Enlightenment, or modern science, or technology. Such questions are primarily intellectual. But in the situation in which Gutiérrez lives, the questions are posed by those whom he calls non-persons, the "marginated," those for whom society has no place, those pushed away from the responsibility of a fully human existence.
- preface: Robert McAfee Brown, viii

The bourgeois revolutions of eighteenth-century Europe promulgated a code of "modern freedoms." Theology today in Europe and North America has come to grips with this modern mentality. Its historical agent is the bourgeois middle class. ...
This is the point of departure of "progressive" theology--which it explicitly and perceptively recognizes to be its conversation with the "modern human being"--that distinguishes it from "traditional" theology. "Traditional" theology is theology still bearing the mark of the feudal world. It has stuck fast in the ancien regime and the world of classical philosophy. ...
The same point of departure also distinguishes "progressive" theology from the theology of liberation. The theology of liberation begins not with the problematic of the "modern (bourgeois) human being," but with that of the poor and dispossessed--those whom the bourgeois dominators seek to maintain "without a history," while they present their own, middle-class society, which they only just molded, as pertaining to the natural and constant order of things.
But the oppressed and marginalized are oppressed and marginalized precisely by the interlocutor of "progressive" theology-by the bourgeois class. ...
"Progressive" theology seeks to answer the questions of the nonbeliever; liberation theology confronts the challenge of the nonperson. The spirit of modernity, typically skeptical, or even frankly nonbelieving, where religion is concerned, calls the faith into question by challenging the meaning of religion for human life. Its critique originates in an individualistic, and indeed critical, mentality. It takes its point of departure in its own proclamation of the modern freedoms. It prefers to situate the debate on religious terrain, attacking the philosophical presuppositions and historical truth of religion, along with the role of the church in traditional society.

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