Posted by: gcarkner | May 3, 2013

Must We Be Political Atheists?

Faith, Economics, Philosophy and the Political Theatre

A couple of weeks ago, someone asked me where is there hope for intelligent, rational, good faith political engagement by people of sincere religious faith. In the context of late modern hyper-pluralism, is it impossible to access a discourse that calls on the full wisdom of the Christian heritage while engaging current issues of public debate, the common good and the polis? So I went to the Regent College Bookstore and scanned the shelves. To my delight, I discovered a lively array of deep and scholarly work on the topic. It also sparked my memory of the classics that I have benefitted from in my intellectual and spiritual journey, the giants who help to carry the discourse forward.

It seems that it is not necessary to be an atheist in order to be relevant to current political, social and economic challenges: justice, rights, globalization, poverty, identity, human suffering, global warming, liberty for the oppressed, moral vision, democracy, violence and terrorism, economic justice, crippling debt, recovery of civility. Below you will find sources for brilliant analysis, critique, challenging new metaphors and political vision, but above all hope for a better world and a belief that we humans can do better by each other. These scholars and writers refuse both cynicism and complacency; they assist in the robust quest for meaningful dialogue, debate and action. Many of them are public intellectuals, constructively involved in their communities, taking leadership. The good news is that there are many more than those listed below. More will be added as we become aware. Students and faculty ought to find excellent encouragement and inspiration, vision which is worthy of a life commitment.

~Dr. Gordon E. Carkner, PhD in Philosophical Theology, University of Wales

Rowan Williams, Faith in the Public Square.

David Lyon & Van Die, Rethinking Church, State and Modernity: Canada Between Europe and America.

Jean Bethke Elshtain, Sovereignty: God, State and Self.

Glenn Tinder, The Political Meaning of Christianity.

Jacques Ellul, Propaganda.

Gary Haugen, Just Courage.

James K.A. Smith, After Modernity?: Secularity, Globalization, and the Re-enchantment of the World.

John Stackhouse Jr., Making the Best of It: Following Christ in the Real World.

James Davison Hunter, To Change the World: the irony, tragedy & possibility of Christianity in the late modern world.

Paul Marshall, Religious Freedom in the World.

____________ Blind Spot: Why Journalists Don’t Get Religion.

Richard John Neuhaus, The Naked Public Square: Religion and Democracy in America.

St. Augustine, City of God.

Charles Taylor, Hegel and Modern Society.

_____________ A Secular Age.

John Milbank, Theology and Social Theory.

Rodney Stark, The Rise of Christianity: a sociologist reconsiders history.

David Bentley Hart, Atheist Delusions: the Christian Revolution and its Fashionable Enemies.

Peter Berger, The Sacred Canopy.

Craig Gay, With Liberty and Justice for Whom?

Michael P. Schutt, Redeeming the Law: Christian Calling and the Legal Profession.

Jim Wallis, The Great Awakening: Seven Ways to Change the World.

Heclo & McCloy, Religion Returns to the Public Square.

Peter Hitchens, Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith.

Robert Dahl, On Democracy.

Os Guinness, A Free People’s Suicide.

Margaret Somerville, The Ethical Imagination.

James Davison Hunter, To Change the World: the tragedy, irony and possibility of Christianity in the late modern world.

Nicholas Wolterstorff, Understanding Liberal Democracy: essays in political philosophy.

________________ Justice: Rights and Wrongs.

Miraslov Volf, Exclusion & Embrace: a theological exploration of identity, otherness and reconciliation.

Lewis Smedes, Mere Morality.

Ronald Sider, Just Politics.

Donald Hay, Economics Today.

Paul Johnson, A History of the Modern World.

Jens Zimmermann, Incarnational Humanism: a philosophy of culture for the church in the world: Humanism and Religion: a call for renewal of Western culture.

Walter Bruggemann, The Prophetic Imagination.

D. Stephen Long, The Goodness of God: theology, the church and the social order.

Dennis Hollinger, Choosing the Good: Christian Ethics in a Complex World.

Jimmy Carter, Talking Peace.

Peter J. Leithart, Between Babel and Beast: America and Empires in Biblical Perspective (Theopolitical Visions).

George Grant, Technology and Empire.

Angus, Dart & Peters (eds.) Athens and Jerusalem: George Grant’s Theology, Philosophy and Politics.

Oliver O’Donovan, The Desire of the Nations: Rediscovering the Roots of Political Theology. (part of a multi-volume series)

John Owen, Clash of Ideas.

CBC Canada Ideas Podcasts: “The Myth of the Secular” produced by David Cayley

Physical Political World Map

Physical Political World Map (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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