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Encounter in Humanization: Insights for Christian-Marxist Dialogue and Cooperation by Paulose Mar Paulose


Bishop Paulose Mar Paulsoe prefers to call himself a "secular theologian" because he communicates the Christian faith in secular language. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary for a dissertation on Bonhoeffer’s corrective of Karl Marx. He was a Bishop in the Chaldean Syrian Church in Kerala, India and served as President of the World Student Christian Federation. Published by Christava Sahitya Samithy (CSS), Tiruvalla-689 101, Kerala, S. India. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.


Preface, by Bishop Yuhanon Mor Meletius
Bishop Dr. Paulose found several areas where Christianity and Marxism could cooperate for the creation of a new world order. He was critical of Christianity for preferring to keep the status quo intact and making people slaves to outdated dogmas, customs and practices that never addressed and represented the aspirations and struggles.

Introduction, by Ninan Koshy
The possibility of undergirding the positive criticisms of Marx with a sound theology is explored by Bishop Paulose. This exploration is in the nature of an analytical study of Bonhoeffer’s theology.

Chapter 1: Marx and Bonhoeffer on Religion
This study seeks to elaborate a Bonhoefferian corrective of Marx’s critique of religion. Whereas Marx completely abandoned the concept of God by his critique of religion, Bonhoeffer tried to reinterpret the concept of God so that it would be understandable to the autonomous modern person living in a "world come of age".

Chapter 2: The Continuity of Marx’s Thought
The question of continuity and discontinuity of Marx’s thought has been a major issue of debate in the study of Marxism and must be resolved or any study of Marxism will not be fruitful. Paulose holds the view that, despite a few minor variations, the ‘young’ and the ‘old’ Marx are essentially one and the same, and that there is a continuity of thought in Marx’s writings.

Chapter 3: Influence of Hegel and Feuerbach on Marx
Marx’s criticism of religion can only be understood against the background of Hegelian philosophy and also of the anthropology of Feuerbach, which it extends and supersedes.

Chapter 4: Marx’s Critique of Religion
A review of the religious influences Marx had as a child at home and during his school days. Some of the essays he wrote for his Abitur, the German school leaving examination, permit us to watch his later ideas being formed at an earlier age.

Chapter 5: Transcendence According to Marx
Theoretically Marx does not see the destruction of religion as an important aim. The disappearance of religion will be the normal outcome of rational thinking and rational living. Man’s ultimate task is to create a world in which authentic humanity is guaranteed and gradually achieved in the material, moral, cultural and intellectual spheres.

Chapter 6: Marx’s Critique of Religion as Challenge to Christianity
Marx’s critique of religion should be considered as a symbol of our lack of prophetic spirit. Since Marx directs his attacks on religion in the name of man, against the alienation of man from his own potentialities and purposes, it constitutes, for that reason, the greatest challenge to Christianity in our time.

Chapter 7: Bonhoeffer’s Concept of "World Come of Age"
By the phrase, "world come of age," Bonhoeffer means two things: 1. The large measure of control given man over nature by the discovery of the scientific method. 2. The awareness that the modern man is no longer under either the tutelage or the control of ‘god’, but is called to freedom and responsibility.

Chapter 8: Non-Religious Interpretation
Bonhoeffer developed his thinking with a firm belief in the Incarnation and the Cross, and consequently, in the potential of a renewed humanity. This belief led him to a wholehearted recognition of the world come of age, to a criticism of religion, and to an attempt to interpret Biblical and theological concepts in a non-religious language.

Chapter 9: Religionless Christianity
To interpret the fundamental message of the Gospel – faith in the incarnate, crucified and risen God -- to the man come of age was the mission of Bonhoeffer.

Chapter 10: Transcendence According To Bonhoeffer
An evaluation of the deeper dimensions of Marx’s critique of religion as these might be applied in the fulfillment of Marxist programme, and a theological evaluation of Marx’s critique of religion and how much the church can appropriate from this critique.

Chapter 11: Bonhoefferian Theology as Challenge to Marxism
A summary and an examination of the implications of Bonhoeffer’s theology for the church’s life today. How Bonhoefferian theology functions as a challenge to Marxist philosophy. Bonhoeffer reminds us that it is Christ, and Christ alone, who validates the world of responsible secular people. The meaning of the life of Jesus of Nazareth is that God and the world can no longer be separated.

Chapter 12: A Call For Dialogue
By examining Marx’s critique of religion optimistically and without prejudice we find that Marxists and Christians can agree, in spite of several disagreements, that both are ultimately concerned for true humanity, especially for the rights of the poor and needy, the hungry and hopeless; both could agree that they strive to be "true to the earth".

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