Understanding Liberation Theology

Understanding Liberation Theology

Length: 971 words (2.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Understanding Liberation Theology

Daniel Levine's Popular Voices in Latin American Catholicism fills our minds with age old questions and yet provides us with the information needed to answer these questions. Throughout his writings, though obviously more concentrated in Chapter two, Levine unveils the history and worth of what is called liberation theology. Though Levine details the uses and importance of this lesser known religious outlook, I believe he does a better job of allowing us to very much understand the central ideas, beliefs, methods, and history of the liberation theology.
Levine states, "Liberation theology comes together as a theory and a set of guidelines for action around issues of poverty and the poor," (pg. 39). We must understand that this outlook has not evolved from nothing, but came from the Latin American response to Catholicism and their changes since the Second Vatican Council. Rarely in American society do we as citizens who are wealthy enough to support families, feel as if the view from the lower class is one of significance. This statement may be blunt; however we as a society of levels, stages, or classes show the poor as they did hundreds of years ago. Liberation theology, however, "values solidarity and shared experience identifies strongly with people whose loves are deformed by oppressive structures," (pg. 39). Theologians explain that they insist on the need to view religious issues through the eyes of the poor, to experience what they live through and to, "live with them in ways that undercut long-established social and cultural distances between the church and average believers," (pg. 40).
Obviously the concern for the poor is not new in the Christian community. What I expressed earlier is that our society does not view them as of same importance or value. Sure, we pity the poor, set up charities, promote programs to help the needy, and set up homeless shelters. However, what sets liberation theology apart is how the poor has a role, a promoted and distinguished role, in church, politics, and in society.
To sum up the understanding of liberation theology we must grasp the major themes. The four themes that are the basis for liberation theology are,
"…a concern with history and historical change, second the return to biblical sources, third a stress on the poor and a related emphasis on doing theology in a way that enhances the value of everyday experience and the insight of average people, and finally CLONE and complex relations with Marxism" (pg.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Understanding Liberation Theology." 123HelpMe.com. 16 Feb 2020

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Liberation Theology Essay

- Arising out recent class discussion topics touching on the ideas of James Cone’s ideas on Liberation Theology and the relationship between the Cross and the Lynching Tree, our group decided to focus the topic of our presentation around Liberation Theology. However, in order to create a counter argument to stimulate further discourse, we introduced the Theology of Prosperity, as an opposing theological concept, to our presentation. Hence, we came up with the topic of Liberation Theology vs. Theology of Prosperity....   [tags: Theology]

Research Papers
1064 words (3 pages)

Essay on The Emergence Of Liberation Theology

- The Emergence of Liberation Theology in Latin America and Africa Liberation theology originated in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s in South Africa. Liberation theology started because poor people of South Africa were being subjected to harsh treatments by those of higher authority, because the poor were oppressed they decided that it was finally time for them stand up for themselves and voice their opinion for themselves. The oppressed poor people were forced to deal with the lack of food supply, the lack of shelters, the lack of education and medical care....   [tags: Christianity, Theology, Oppression]

Research Papers
1559 words (4.5 pages)

The Theology Of The Liberation Theology Essay

- In every society, there is a social ladder, and at the bottom of every ladder or totem pole is the poor. As I interpret Liberation Theology, is a belief system constructed for and around the poor, including the poor who were suffering within the Roman Catholic religion. If we take a look at the word liberation, it literally means the act of gaining (or trying to gain) rights for the oppressed (or poor) and poverty stricken. So Liberation Theology refers to the poor and the relationship they share with trying to find religious freedoms, rights, and social justice from those who oppose of them....   [tags: Protestant Reformation, Catholic Church]

Research Papers
1908 words (5.5 pages)

Liberation Theology and Protestant Reformation Essay

- Christian theology has studied and used the Bible to explain the reason of life and the message of God. The way in which this has been done has varied from time to time and from region to region. In the first section of this essay Western Europe is regarded as the central point of one of the most challenging division of the Christian faith. The Protestant Reformation would open the way to new types of Christian Faith known as Protestantism. The causes which precipitated this movement will be addressed in order to understand the social motivations of the Reformation....   [tags: theology essay, informative essay]

Research Papers
2565 words (7.3 pages)

Essay on Liberation Theology

- Liberation theology is religious phenomenon which bursts on the scene in the 1960’s. A consciousness for injustice was always prevalent in the Church, but the “theologies of liberation, particularly the classical Latin American variety, evolved in protest against the inability in Western church and missionary circles, both Catholic and Protestant, to grapple with the problems of systemic injustice.” (Boch 443) To truly understand the critiques of missiology which have been articulated by Latin American liberation theologies and Asian theologies, one must first understand liberation....   [tags: Theology, Church]

Research Papers
1002 words (2.9 pages)

Liberation Theology in Latin America Essay

- The populist governments, seen in the 1950’s and 1960’s in South America, spurred industrial growth and a sense of “consciousness” amongst the inhabitants of the Latin American countries. The industrial growth greatly benefited the middle-class and the working-class; however, the poor were driven into shantytowns and rural areas. To illustrate the great poverty of this time in Latin America, people living in “shantytowns” resided in vast settlements built of cardboard and other available materials such as metal and sheets of plastic....   [tags: Populist Governments, South America]

Research Papers
1738 words (5 pages)

What´s Liberation Theology? Essay

- Liberation Theology “But the poor person does not exist as an inescapable fact of destiny. His or her existence is not politically neutral, and it is not ethically innocent. The poor are a by-product of the system in which we live and for which we are responsible. They are marginalized by our social and cultural world. They are the oppressed, exploited proletariat, robbed of the fruit of their labor and despoiled of their humanity. Hence the poverty of the poor is not a call to generous relief action, but a demand that we go and build a different social order.” ¹ ― Gustavo Gutiérrez During the 1950s and 60s nationalistic consciousness and significant industrial development in the areas of P...   [tags: marginalization, dictators, government]

Research Papers
2310 words (6.6 pages)

Liberation Theology: Saving People of Color from Oppression Essay

- Theology is widely accepted as the study of God and religious beliefs. Liberation theology applies the study of God and religious beliefs, to the study and experience of racial, gender and class oppression. As such, liberation theology is a theology of, by, and for those doing (as in praxis) the theology and those in solidarity with them. Such reasoning has led to formations of various liberation theologies (Yellow, Red, and Black) that speak to various oppressed groups. From this line comes, the philosophy of Black liberation theology, which seeks to liberate people of color from multiple forms of political, social, economic, and religious subjugation by interpreting Christian theology as a...   [tags: God, Religion, Blacks, America]

Research Papers
1913 words (5.5 pages)

The Centrality of the Cross in Liberation and Evangelical Theology: A Proposed Dialogue

- At first glance, evangelicals and liberation theologians seem rather different. On average, American evangelicals are middle-aged white Southerners, have conservative and republican ideologies, and historically originate from the tradition of fundamentalist Protestantism. Liberation theologians, on the other hand, come from a diverse array of backgrounds and historical contexts but in general are tied to the needs of a community and concerned with the transformation of social existence. Yet, when one considers what evangelicalism and liberation theology are at their core, where they come from, and what is central to them, similarities subsist....   [tags: christians, concervatives, god]

Research Papers
1307 words (3.7 pages)

To the Left: Liberation Theology and Politics in Guyana: A Focus on the 1968 and 1992 General Elections

- Liberation Theology and Guyanese Politics Liberation theology is the school of thought that explores the relationship between Christian theology and political activism usually of a Marxist orientation with using theology of salvation as liberation from injustice. Liberation theology focuses the unjust of political, economic and social conditions. For Guyanese politics, liberation theology was not used in that sense especially for the PNC it was used as a tactic to gain voters and control the government of Guyana....   [tags: christian, political activism, indigenous]

Research Papers
1421 words (4.1 pages)

Understanding the past few paragraphs will allow any and all readers to grasp what sets liberation theology a part form the likes of Catholicism. However, comprehending these four basic themes allow for an even better understanding of the ideas, beliefs, and concepts that are the foundation for liberation theology.
First, when Levine states, "a concern with history and historical change," he does not mean the Latin American community and/or all who follow the theology as defenders of certain beliefs or concepts claimed to be eternal. He does state that change itself is viewed as necessary, a good thing, and indeed inevitable. Basically, the theology expresses that the followers must new themselves as a church living in a world that is evolving. Levine expresses just that by stating, "This requires theologians to see the church in historical terms, as a community of believers living and changing over time and space," (pg. 41). The idea is to value and learn from this ever changing world and take "signs" and occurrences accordingly.
The return to biblical sources hinges on the actions of Vatican II and their reforms which put religious texts into local languages. This has allowed for massive popularity boost in traditional Bible study. Allowing the poor and illiterate to participate and comment on the Bible and its stories increases the value of popular insights and in turn enhances the value of the poor. This flows very well into the third theme of liberation theology. Bible study has allowed for a massive entanglement of ideas and values among the poor which has created an influx of involvement throughout the poor community. This increased involvement has been a solid foundation for a major theme of valuing the poor community of viewing the surrounding world through their eyes.
The importance of this increased activity throughout the poor community is very well summed up on page 41 of Levine's book. He states, "The social centrality and core religious value of poverty together undergrid a view that accords poor people a privileged insight into reality. This hermetical position drives liberation theologians to enhance the value of ordering experience as a guide to reflection and action."
The fourth and final theme is that much of liberation theology's basic makeup has close ties to Marxism. Levine states, "Concepts and categories like class, conflict, and exploitation are prominent and mix with general notions about dependence to forge a unified analysis of Latin American reality. The links to Marxism seems to be less important when attempting to understand the core principles of liberation theology, however vital when comparing it to other ideologies.
Impacts of liberation theology are present throughout the world but the clearest impact has been obvious unification throughout the communities which have brought social, political, and religious issues to the forefront. Issues such as human rights, popular participation, and authority are just a few topics discussed in years past. Liberation theology has been a tremendous crutch in the Latin American community. Through base communities, development of new structures and new key ideas with inspiring new style leaders at the front of this continuously charging philosophy. If history is to repeat itself liberation theology may just spread worldwide fast and with great success.
Return to 123HelpMe.com