liberation theology

Several Roman Catholic theologians working in impoverished communities in Latin America have emphasized that both in the OT and in the NT injustice and oppression have been condemned in the name of God. The books of Exodus and 1 and 2 Macc. encourage the oppressed to refuse to submit to their sufferings. Jesus was on the side of the poor and against the exploitations by the rich (Luke 16:19–31); the first Christians liberated themselves from inequalities of wealth (Acts 4:32). In some countries (e.g. Peru, Brazil, Central America, South Africa) the Bible has been used as the basis for, and justification of, political action on behalf of those discriminated against.
Liberation theology has not been favourably received by those theologians who detect in it a Marxist analysis of society. They fear that Jesus is interpreted in predetermined categories and made to fit into them, and also that much liberation theology is indifferent to established critical scholarship. But the influence of liberation theology (and movements such as feminist [[➝ feminism]] theology which are akin to it) is enormous. There is steady progress in teaching oppressed groups to understand their situation and to change it—a process called ‘conscientization’. An example is the use of the poem in Lam. 5:1–5 by priests in Brazil to give hope to the poor; if they feel that their own plight is described thus in the Bible, then they too are not abandoned by God. And Isa. 50:4–9 suggests that their sufferings may even further the purposes of God, and final vindication is assured (Isa. 53:12).
One or two theologians in the West have adapted liberation theology to apply to what they call the ‘culture of contempt’ which erodes standards of moral and intellectual achievements. To reverse the ever-declining value set on high standards of competence and integrity, they welcome liberation theology as offering a challenge to the ideals of a decent, caring society to look beyond its own self-interest.

Dictionary of the Bible.

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  • Liberation theology — is a school of theology within Christianity, particularly in the Roman Catholic Church. It emphasizes the Christian mission to bring justice to the poor and oppressed, particularly through political activism. Its theologians consider sin the root …   Wikipedia

  • liberation theology — n. a Christian theology incorporating political, esp. Marxist, theory and seeking to liberate people, esp. of the Third World, from economic or political oppression …   English World dictionary

  • liberation theology —    During the 20th century, various groups challenged the universality of traditional Christian theology. They suggested that established church theologies did not speak for the whole church, but only for the ecclesiastical and political leaders… …   Encyclopedia of Protestantism

  • liberation theology — a 20th century Christian theology, emphasizing the Biblical and doctrinal theme of liberation from oppression, whether racial, sexual, economic, or political. [1970 75] * * * Roman Catholic movement that originated in the late 20th century in… …   Universalium

  • Liberation Theology —    A radical theology that arose in the Latin American Catholic Church during the 1960s. Unlike the traditional church in the region, which had aligned itself for centuries with the military and the wealthy elites, practitioners of liberation… …   Historical Dictionary of the “Dirty Wars”

  • liberation theology — N UNCOUNT Liberation theology is the belief that the Christian Church should be actively involved in politics in order to bring about social change …   English dictionary

  • liberation theology — noun a form of Christian theology (developed by South American Roman Catholics) that emphasizes social and political liberation as the anticipation of ultimate salvation • Hypernyms: ↑theology, ↑theological system …   Useful english dictionary

  • liberation theology — noun Date: 1972 a religious movement especially among Roman Catholic clergy in Latin America that combines political philosophy usually of a Marxist orientation with a theology of salvation as liberation from injustice • liberation theologian… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • liberation theology — libera′tion theol ogy n. rel a modern Christian theology stressing liberation from racial, economic, and political oppression • Etymology: 1970–75 libera′tion theolo gian, n …   From formal English to slang

  • Liberation Theology —    A system of theology which initially arose in South America: it makes use of Marxist categories and stresses justice and God’s bias to the poor …   Who’s Who in Christianity

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