Being Theological in a Comparative Manner in Today’s Indonesia

In: International Journal of Asian Christianity
Albertus Bagus Laksana Sanata Dharma University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

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In today’s Indonesia, public theological discourse is messy, sectarian, superficial, and highly apologetic. While the state philosophy of Pancasila offers an inclusive theological vision of citizenship and nationhood, its inclusiveness and dialogical character suffer from the exclusive use of the combination of the modern world-religion paradigm, European Christian theology, and Islamic parameters. This essay argues that the new comparative theology can serve as a dialogical theological reasoning that is particularly helpful to foster theologically constructive encounters among different religions, and thus able to address public concern, especially identity politics. This essay presents some concrete examples of comparative theological works in the Indonesian context, drawn from the author’s experiments. These highlight the dialogical, confessional, spiritual, and constructive characters of this theological reasoning, and pay attention to the hybrid identity and local cultures that form the richness of the Indonesian reality.

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