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GREED AS VIOLENCE: Methodological Challenges in Interreligious Dialogue on the Ethics of the Global Financial Crisis

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Abstract:

ABSTRACT

The current financial crisis is one rooted not in recent deregulation but in the breaking of ancient (religious) laws, and this crisis is one of many ethical problems today that have religious roots. The tone of this essay is informed by a document from the World Council of Churches, which affirms “greed as violence” and that Christians do not have all the answers to the problem of greed; therefore, Christians need to seek solutions with other religious communities. Furthermore, religious leaders, theologians, and ethicists, by their very station in life, are not able to effectively listen to the voices of the poor and marginalized people of the world. Self-critically examining the mainstream traditions within Christianity for its allegiance to empires, the article calls for engaging the alternative, rather than the mainstream traditions within religions whose interpretations of Scripture have provided insights that are at variance with the mainstream. It calls those who engage in this work to be double-headed: to examine others' beliefs from the perspective of the other—while continuing to be rooted in one's own center—and to recognize that the voices of those in poor or marginalized communities are inaccessible, unless those who are poor themselves become the mediators of dialogue.

Keywords: Christian theology; Sabbath economics; Sabbath jubilee; World Council of Churches; ethic of redistribution; greed as violence; interreligious dialogue

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9795.2011.00474.x

Affiliations: Seminary Consortium for Urban

Publication date: June 1, 2011

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