Encounters with marginalised spiritualties and religions can assist in the creation of a post-2030 agenda that recognises the limitations of existing ideas of ‘sustainable development’ and ‘progress’, the necessity of which is evidenced by our worsening climate and ecological crisis.
The acknowledgement that religion plays an important role in the lives of the majority of the world’s population has led to increased partnerships between religious communities, humanitarian and development practitioners, and policy makers. At best, this has resulted in fruitful partnerships with those whose world views fit into predefined understandings of religion and development. At worst, it has led to the instrumentalisation of religious and spiritual leaders to implement western, individualistic, capitalist, anthropocentric ideas of development. Knowledge flows have remained unidirectional with the aforementioned partnerships yet to see the transformative potential of engaging with a greater diversity of religious and spiritual communities when imagining a post-2030 agenda.
This paper draws on ethnographic engagement and interviews with the Iglesia Filipina Independiente and Lumad Indigenous people in the Philippines to highlight how learned ignorance, encounters and horizontal relationships can expand individual and collective imagination – deconstructing imperial imaginations and prioritising people and planetary flourishing above profit. It highlights the potential way in which diverse subaltern, abyssal and decolonial movements can be engaged to support a burgeoning of ecologies of knowledge capable of challenging hegemonic understandings of ‘progress’ and ‘development’, essential to the post-2030 debate.
Religious Studies, Theology, Philosophy, Christianity, History of Religion, Religion & Society, Missionary Studies
Christianity has been instrumental in fashioning the contemporary Western paradigm of humanitarian aid and development. However, as a secular agenda increasingly defines this space, the question of what difference a religious cosmology makes to Christian faith-based development organisations (FBDO s) becomes significant. While faith convictions initiated early humanitarian efforts, Christian FBDO s have arguably acquiesced to secular pragmatic rationales for their work, rather than allow theology to have explanatory and regulatory influence. In many ways, therefore, FBDO s are devoid of the influence of “faith”, or more specifically, the influence of a robust theological foundation. To address this deficit, a critique of the philosophical moorings of Western international development is mounted, with consideration given to nascent trajectories of an alternate Christian rationale and praxis. In particular, the paper argues that the ontological foundation for the dynamics of human well-being is divine well-being. Employing a Trinitarian relational ontology, the dynamic characteristic inherent to the actualisation of divine well-being is identified as a triune kenosis (self-giving). Such an ontology of divine well-being provides the context to articulate principles for actualising human well-being as a reiteration of the divine archetype. From such a perspective, the Trinitarian doctrine of God provides the pivotal foundation for a Christian cosmology necessary to articulate an alternative paradigm for sustainable development.
The South African Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities is one of the key institutions established by the Constitution of the country to strengthen its constitutional democracy. The Commission conducted investigations and released a report in 2017 related to suspicions that there are abuses of beliefs taking place in religious communities. The report was subjected to a number of challenges from academia, especially with regards to the constitutionality of some of the findings and recommendations of the Commission. In this article, it is argued that one of the contributing factors to the main shortcomings of the report emanates from a lack of nuance in the approach of the Commission. Considering the complex nature of religious beliefs, it is argued that the investigations by the CRL Rights Commission would have offered an opportunity for better conversation if the Commission had taken a human rights approach. In the main it is argued that a clear differentiation between the right to freedom of religion which vests on individuals, and the right of freedom of religious practice which vests on individuals in their capacity as members of religious communities, would have created a discourse that would better grapple with the complexity of ensuring maximum freedom of religion while creating safety for communal interests beyond specific beliefs.