Plowing through literature by Liberation Theologians, I am starting to separate the wheat from the chaff, as it were. And I have come to the realization that I am just bored with dogmatic expositions of theology! As supplementary reading, I’ve read some of the Roman encyclicals from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, as well as articles/books/essays that either suggest solutions to fix problems with LT or that praise LT or that merely try to argue how it’s dead. The latter works (as well as some of the later writings by LTers), while informative, just seem soooo repetitive. Don’t get me wrong, for the most part LT (especially in its early days) is vivifying to read. But from the mid-70s through the 80s their lack of focus on concrete historical projects (per Petrella’s spot on criticism in The Future of Liberation Theology) shows much of the the work to be politically decrepit and theologically tenuous. But today I read Miranda’s incendiary work, Communism in the Bible. This short work is a follow up of the longer Marx and the Bible. It is written as a manifesto, and it is loaded with polemics, which has made his politically charged assault on the church, the Pope, theologians, and even Bible translators more than enjoyable!! Here’s the blurb from the back cover:
This is a manifesto. But it is a biblical manifesto, which submits to all the rigor of scientific exegesis and accepts its challenge. If the thesis is not demonstrated by meticulous scholarship, consider the thesis unposited. Precisely what this book recriminates in official theology is the lucubration of a whole concept of Christianity independently of the Bible and even in contradiction to it. Accordingly this book claims no more validity than its demonstrations force upon it.
The Present work deepens the investigation undertaken in both of my previous exegetical works, Marx and the Bible and Being and the Messiah. But it does not logically presuppose them. I have taken care to place it on its own footing… This book is concise, but it is the fruit of many years of research.
My political conclusion has no need of words to belabor it. The title of the book puts it in relief. I repeat, this is a manifesto. And it seeks to make itself heard by all the poor of the earth.
Christianity is communism.
And here are a couple inflammatory passages that I enjoyed:
The majority cannot even assign a sense of realism to the Christian message of brotherhood and solidarity with neighbor, when the social structure imposes upon it, under pain of annihilation, the task of seeking its proper interest and letting the chips fall where they may, without preoccupying itself with other people. Structural change will be a mere means for personal change – but a means so obviously necessary, that those who fail to give it first priority demonstrate by that very fact that their vaunted desire to transform persons is just empty rhetoric.
To speak of a Kingdom of God in the other world [i.e. a spiritual sense] is not only to found a new religion without any relationship with the teaching of Christ… it is to assert exactly the contrary of what Christ teaches: “the kingdom has come to you,” and “Your kingdom come.” The fact that tradition has taught for centuries that the kingdom is in the other world only demonstrates that that tradition betrayed Jesus and founded another religion completely different.
Jesus had the character of a hardened revolutionary
[The] true message of the Bible… is a tightly packed condemnation of wealth.
José Miranda, Communism in the Bible (1982: 6, 17, 22, 48)