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Today is Martin Luther King day, and the activity of King and other civil rights activists, the inaction and maintenance of the status quo by most Christians, and the outright racism and violence practiced by some, all illustrate a key point: actions put theologies to the test. Morgan Guyton wrote a post on that theme in connection with the anniversary of Columbus’ “discovery” of the New World, that deserves to be considered more generally and not just in connection with Columbus. And so I thought I would highlight it today, as a way of getting at this larger issue. Here is a rather long excerpt from an even longer post:
To me, colonialism shipwrecks the simple orthodoxy of apostolic succession and original catholicity, because it reveals that Christian orthodoxy failed the millions of African, American, and Asian natives who were massacred by the colonialism that justified itself with Christian orthodoxy just as Columbus did. The litmus test of my orthodoxy is: what would someone like Christopher Columbus have needed to believe to see the natives he encountered as equals who were worthy of his respect and honor? I don’t think the brutality of colonialism is avoidable given the nihilistic Augustinian account of human nature we call “original sin.”
Witness - Colonialism - Compels - Christianity - Exclusivity
The ugly witness of colonialism compels me to imagine a Christianity that does not claim exclusivity, but recognizes a form of Christ in ways of living that emulate Christ even in cultures that do not know the Christ that I know. The Christianity that demands submission to my salvation narrative using my terminology in order to avoid eternal damnation is the Christianity that is capable of dehumanizing the other sufficiently to justify enslaving and killing them for their own good. That’s the awfulness I am confronted by.
It is partly because of the witness of...
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