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Christian Biopolitics: A Credo & Strategy for the Future by Kenneth Cauthen

Dr. Cauthen is the John Price Grazer Griffith professor of theology at Colgate Rochester Divinity School/Bexley Hall/Grazer Theological Seminary. Published by Abingdon Press, Nashville; New York, 1971. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.


This book is divided into two parts. The first begins with a cultural and historical analysis, asserting that mankind is moving toward the culmination of a process of human development thousands of years in the making. A planetary society is emerging under conditions that threaten to trespass the biological limits of the earth. Our problem is to move safely through the perils of this transition to realize the promises beyond. To do so, I maintain that we need a transformation of ideas, attitudes, and goals. This raises the question as to the possible contribution that theology and the church can make toward producing a creative minority of dreamers and doers who can provide us with the vision and the values that the future demands.

In the second part, I begin with the recognition that future-awareness has produced in the last decade a futurist movement in secular society and a variety of theologies of hope in the religious community. I call for an alliance of the two. There follows a philosophical and theological chapter in which I outline a framework of thought and action that I call Christian biopolitics. My concern here is to develop a religio-ethical perspective centered on life and the quest for enjoyment in a science-based technological age. This ecological model requires an organic understanding of reality. Such an understanding interprets man as a biospiritual unity whose life is set within cosmic nature, as well as within human history. Finally, I return again to the claim that the most significant contribution the church can make to the biopolitical task is to nourish a new consciousness, a utopian vision of a desirable human future arising from the inspiration of the Christian past. I have set forth what amounts to a theology of the Spirit, interpreted as Godís power for the future, to create among men a new reign of justice and joy in the emerging planetary society.

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