Public Theology in pluralistic societies? Lessons from the theology of Etienne de Villiers
AbstractThis article discussed the meaning and significance of the theological contribution of Etienne de Villiers for the task of prophetic public theology in pluralistic societies. It was argued that De Villiers's theology enriched public theology in a variety of ways. De Villiers convincingly argued that Christian morality does have unique contents. These unique contents enrich and deepen discussions in the pluralistic public domain. De Villiers also showed that Christians can enter the public domain from the perspective of so-called thicker theological convictions like sin and love. De Villiers emphasised the participation of Christians in so-called technical discourses. This implied that Christians strive to make their convictions as far as possible intellectually accessible to a pluralistic audience, that Christians strive for moral consensus, sound moral decision-making, influencing of the public opinion and participation in policy-making processes in pluralistic life. This technical discourse with the aim to reach moral consensus and to impact on policymaking processes should also be practiced within Christian communities where a plurality of moral views, even conflicting views, exist. This quest for decision-making, consensus and impacting on public policy are to be advanced in the ecumenical Christian family, and even between Christians and other religions.