Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ivan Petrella, liberation, market

Bonhoeffer, Liberation Theology, and Neoliberalism

Here a central difference with liberation theology is revealed. Bonhoeffer is blind to the idolatry under which he is about to be executed because it falls within the realm of political ideology and so lies outside theology’s traditional areas of concern. Liberation theology, instead, takes Bonhoeffer’s critique of religion a step further to the critique of idolatry in the world; it thus does not speak of an irreligious world but of idolatries found in the world that are masked by an understanding of modernity as secular. A by now classic example of the unmasking of idolatry within a supposedly secular discourse is the liberationist critique of neoliberalism best articulated by Jung Mo Sung. Neoliberalism has its own vision of paradise; Francis Fukuyama stresses that technological developments make possible the unlimited accumulation of wealth and thus the satisfaction of ever more desires; neoliberalism demands faith; for Milton Friedman critics of the market lack faith in market liberty; neoliberalism has its own version of original sin; for Friederich Hayek the greatest of economic sins is the pretension of knowledge that lies behind market intervention, the belief that government knows how to allocate resources better than the free market; neoliberalism demands sacrifice; insofar as the market is the one and only path toward the development of human kind then the suffering of those excluded from the market are but the necessary sacrifices required for the progress of humanity as a whole. Neoliberalism is theology disguised as social science.

From Ivan Petrella’s Beyond Liberation Theology: A Polemic, 127. So far this book has proven rather interesting.

I also recommend another book of Petrella’s, The Future of Liberation Theology: An Argument and Manifesto.


5 thoughts on “Bonhoeffer, Liberation Theology, and Neoliberalism

  1. I’m curious to know where he is going with this reference to Bonhoeffer. I assume he’s referring to Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers, but I don’t understand the accusation of blindness to political idolatry here at all.

    • Theres a bit more than is quotable here, but he does rely on Franz Hinkelammert’s “The Critique of Religion in the Name of Christianity: Dietrich Bonhoeffer.” And yes, he is referring to Letters from Prison.

  2. Pingback: Novedades « Natanael Disla

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