Amor Mundi in a (Post)Liberal Era: The Relevance of an Arendtian Theme for Christian Self-Understanding Today

In: Crossroad Discourses between Christianity and Culture

Privatization, the liberal political strategy for handling religious differences, has been criticized for hegemonically privileging a secularist worldview and for refusing to provide full public scope to the plurality of religious traditions that exist in contemporary democratic societies. For these and other reasons, it is important to explore alternatives to privatization that do not thereby neglect the importance of maintaining citizen solidarity in these societies. This essay explores the potential that amor mundi, a fundamental theme of Hannah Arendt’s political philosophy, has for addressing this vexing issue. In doing so, it also asks whether Arendt’s thematization of the human position between past and future, amidst the demise of tradition, holds any lessons for contemporary Christians. What would it mean for today’s Christian to love a world that has, for both good and ill, become what it is, from out of a past that remains to be discovered, in its full plurality and natal potentiality? Can Christian faith, at the end of the day, do without amor mundi?

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