Marx, the Praxis of Liberation Theology, and the Bane of Religious Epistemology
Author(s)Malesela John Lamola
philosophy of religion
Religions. Mythology. Rationalism
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AbstractCan religious epistemology aid in the transformation of the world to the same effect as Marxist Theory? Utilizing an approach derived from Louis Althusser’s isolation of the radical implications of the epistemological break of Karl Marx, from his Feuerbachain theological thought to a materialist epistemological tradition, we probe the relationship between the mystical intent of Christian theology and the appearance of praxis as a category derived from the Marxist lexicon, within the modus cogitans of Latin American theology of liberation. We problematise the transcendentalism that liberation theology places on social practice, in its retention of a spiritualist Weltanschauung as the preeminent framework for the critique of socio-historical reality. Far from being a materialist-transformative “epistemological break” from orthodox theology, this putative theology of revolution is thus exposed as being a brand of a Hegelian theosophy, which is discontinuous with the dialectical understanding of the socio-material basis of human relations that emerges around Marxist Theory, namely praxis. Our leitmotif is therefore a claim that political theology, qua theology in general, and the Latin American Theology of Liberation in particular, have a limited efficacy as a theoretical tool for socio-political transformation, due to its inherent transcendentalist and rationalistic orientation.