Comparative Political Theology

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For a research project I engaged in from 2004-2007, I gathered and analysed statements made by representatives of Islamist terrorist movements on the Internet and compared key themes of their ideology (such as "democracy", "capitalism", "globalization", "colonialism" and "underdevelopment") to the writings and ideology of authors in various traditions of Christian "political theology". In this paper, it is being established that there are clear similarities in the socio-political analysis advanced by Christian political and liberation theologians and representatives of Islamist terrorist movements and radical Islam, respectively. The paper also offers a short history and extended discussion of the concept of "political theology" and elaborates on radical Islam's understanding of theology and politics. Primary and secondary literature on Christian and Islamic political and liberation theologies and radical Islam are being reviewed (including the most recent writings on "political theology" emanating from, mainly leftist, theory circles in Europe and the US). In an attempt to expand the term "political theology" to cover the socio-political analysis, arguments, and ideology of radical Islam, anti-liberalism is revealed as the single most important factor underlying all political theology. The argument is made that being anti-liberal means being (at least potentially) anti-democratic as well. A discussion of future lines of academic inquiry opens up the possibility of a common definition or framework covering all forms of political and liberation theologies and asks whether comparative political theology may be the ultimate political theory.
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Archival date: 2011-09-19
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