Christologically Inclusive Humanism
Chia, Mook Soo
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Christian faith turns on the claim that God revealed Himself in Jesus of Nazareth and that he is the Lord and Saviour for all humanity. This exclusive claim raises many questions in a pluralistic and multi-cultural world. In particular it seems to be both excluding and therefore to presuppose various kinds of violence towards others. This research endeavors to address such questions by seeing what can be learned from the Swiss theologian Karl Barth. Barth is a good test case because of his famous Christological concentration. He is often taken as a paradigm ‘exclusivist’. Situating Barth in his historical and intellectual context I shall argue that Barth formulates a Christologically inclusive humanism that addresses the supposed tolerance of Liberal theology, the actual violence of anti Semitism, secularizing understandings of community and the imperial mentality of Western Christendom towards non-Christian religions. By adapting a scripturally informed rationality which is cultivated in the Christian community, Barth expounds (1) a Christologically based tolerance towards non-Christian others (Chapter one); (2) a covenantal understanding of Jewish-Christian solidarity (Chapter two); (3) an ethic of the neighbours which grounds solidarity with poor, marginalized and oppressed communities (Chapter three); (4) a Christological anthropology which respects the irreducible otherness of others (Chapter four); (5) a politics of community which celebrates the community of near and distant neighbours (Chapter five); and, based on the above understandings, (6) a self-critical theology of religion for grounding interfaith encounter (Chapter six). By way of conclusion, I argue that Barth’s theology should not be understood on postmodern lines but that it accentuates the universal in the particular. For this reason, I claim that Barth’s theology, though Christologically based, is capable of contributing to a global responsibility for building a society of love and justice. As a Chinese scholar, I also argue that Barth can contribute to a burgeoning Chinese theological tradition, advancing a Christologically based humanism in a multi-religious and cultural society.
Brash Foundation (Singapore); St. Luke's College Foundation (Devon, England); S-Word EFC (Singapore); Theological Centre for Asia (Singapore); Singapore Bible College (Singapore); Mr. Seng-Chye, Chan (Singapore); Mr. Moses Ng (Singapore); Madam Chan-Qin Chai (Singapore); Mr. Darmo Suwito (Indonesia)
Gorringe, Timothy J.
PhD in Theology