At first glance, it would seem that politics and Christian faith have no common ground, and therefore produce conflict. Christianity and politics shouldn’t mix. Importantly, when the church is critical of the way the Prime Minister has failed to bring hope to the poor, the church then must develop an answer to solve the problem which ultimately, as can be seen in society, only succeeds to a small extent. From establishing this, faith can be taken forward in two ways. Firstly faith can be understood as non-political and only becoming political when it enters the public realm, involving itself in debate on societal issues. The other side of the coin involves faith being political necessarily, due to the fact that faith speaks from human experience therefore it logically follows that it is political.

In order to further investigate the relationship between politics and salvation theories one must firstly define what is meant by political. However, this isn’t always straightforward for, as Sheldon Wolin identifies, what is political varies throughout history as we, collectively, as a society, define what constitutes as political. According to Cavanaugh and Scott the term “political, is broadly understood as the use of structural power to organize a society or community of people…. Political theology is the analysis and criticism of political arrangements from the perspective of differing interpretations of God’s way with the world”. This ultimately therefore points to the idea that politics and faith are interlocked, thus challenging the before assertion that they are counter to each other. I shall now explore some salient propositions.

Firstly, faith expressed in doctrine implies a way of life, the church as society and polity. This can be identified through analysis of doctrinal narratives in relation to power and structure. All narratives doubtlessly uphold a human government and stress the concern of political virtue. Namely doctrines of creation, Christology, eschatology and soteriology provide guidelines into how one should live their life. For example in relation to the environment and the urge to adopt a humble lifestyle in this way there is a blurring between politics and Christianity.

The second proposition demonstrating how politics and salvation are bound together is the idea that Christian faith has often been perceived as challenging civic order. Most poignantly the case of Jesus Christ taking a stand against  an unjust regime under Pontius Pilate, but also more recently Rowan Williams and his words on Nazism. This proposition demonstrates how Christianity looks at the structure and deconstruction of power, defiantly involving itself in politics.

Furthermore there are movements through history and examples in society that produce evidence that they are naturally linked to each other. History of faith teachings in legal institutions is extremely prominent. For example in the European Convention on Human Rights notions of human dignity and equality are upheld, echoing Christian thought within the same temporal space. Further, faith-based organisations such as Christian Aid re-establish the idea of the faith working in society, rubbing alongside political issues. Conclusively therefore by exploring, briefly, these propositions it seems as though Christianity actually relativises the political.

Doctrine and politics at work together has been explored by many theorists and there is other evidence that makes this all too clear. Looking into history, St Augustine developed his notion of the City Of God. As Jesus lived through politically turbulent times, Christianity offered ideas for a just society and guidance in terms of politics. Firstly, the City of God emphasizes this utopia, kept with a love of God and contempt of self it is founded in peace and harmony. A point worth recognizing is that this does not necessarily correspond to the church, as this too involves corruption. Instead it refers to a more individual eudemonia (happiness) whereby the individual must strive to love God and act out his teachings. In Contrast the Earthly City is ridden with a love of self and contempt for God, glorifying in the self, founded in violence and greed. Saliently, both are present in every heart but it is important for one to focus on the different kinds of love, overcoming the struggle and succeeding in achieving the correct one through adopting the Christian way of life.

Further there is the idea of the Kingdom of God as Polity: Soteriology and Liberation. Pope Francis echoed the idea (albeit controversially) that what exists is a ‘poor church for the poor’. By this he meant that although God loves everyone equally he loves the poor preferentially (not exclusively) and it is therefore up to the church to equalize and compensate their treatment on earth. This form of liberation can be seen to be operating politically through the church’s effort to eradicate poverty. Anthropologically through the assertion we are all saved by Christ, and finally liberated from sin in spiritual positivity.

Overwhelmingly after deeper analysis, it would be naïve to uphold that there is no such thing as political salvation, for quite clearly, it is unavoidable for the paths of Christianity and politics not to cross when both proclaim such strong beliefs and both wield such strong influence on society.

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