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Christofascism (the name being a portmanteau of Christianity and Fascism) is a concept in Christian theology first mentioned by Dorothee Sölle, a socially-engaged theologian and writer, in her book Beyond Mere Obedience: Reflections on a Christian Ethic for the Future in 1970.[1][2][3] To Dorothee Sölle, Christofascism was caused by the embracing of authoritarian theology by the Christian church. It is an arrogant, totalitarian, imperialistic attitude, characteristic of the church in Germany under Nazism, that she believed to be alive and well in the theological scene of the late 20th and turn of the 21st century.[4][5] Usage of the term became much more prominent in 2006-2008,[6] as a backlash against increasing usage of the word "Islamofascism" by conservative Christians in the USA such as George W. Bush and David Horowitz.[7]

Contents

Theological viewpoints

Tom Faw Driver, Paul Tillich Professor Emeritus at Union Theological Seminary in New York, expressed concern "that the worship of God in Christ not divide Christian from Jew, man from woman, clergy from laity, white from black, or rich from poor". To him, Christianity is in constant danger of Christofascism, stating that "[w]e fear christofascism, which we see as the political direction of all attempts to place Christ at the center of social life and history" and that "[m]uch of the churches' teaching about Christ has turned into something that is dictatorial in its heart and is preparing society for an American fascism". Christofascism allows Christians, or disposes them, to impose themselves upon other religions, upon other cultures, and upon political parties which do not march under the banner of the final, normative, victorious Christ.[5][8][9][10]

George Hunsinger, director of the Centre for Barth Studies at Princeton Theological Seminary, regards the conception of Christofascism as being an attack, at a very sophisticated level of theological discourse, on the biblical depiction of Jesus Christ. He equates what is viewed as Christofascism with "Jesus Christ as depicted in Scripture" and contrasts it with the "nonnormative Christology" that is offered as an alternative by some theologians, which he characterizes as extreme relativism that reduces Jesus Christ to "an object of mere personal preference and cultural location" and that he finds difficult to see as not contributing to the same problems encountered by the Christian church in Germany that were noted by theologian Karl Barth.[11]

Douglas John Hall, Professor of Christian Theology at McGill University, relates Sölle's concept of Christofascism to Christomonism, that inevitably ends in religious triumphalism and exclusivity, noting Sölle's observation of American fundamentalist Christianity that Christomonism easily leads to Christofascism, and that violence is never far away from militant Christomonism. (Christomonism, also known as Unitarianism of the Second Person, accepts only one divine person, Jesus Christ.) He states that the over-divinized ("high") Christology of Christendom is demonstrated to be wrong by its "almost unrelieved anti-Judaism". He suggests that the best way to guard against this is for Christians not to neglect the humanity of Jesus Christ in favour of his divinity, and to remind themselves that Jesus was a Jewish human being.[12][13][14]

Usage

  • "Some might say that Christofascism is a growing problem in our secular society. In fact, all the "revealed" religions seem downright dangerous to me. The primary goal of Judaism, Christianity and Islam is to silence their critics by any means, in order to bring their beliefs to the fore." (Concord Monitor, December 2007)[15]
  • "Bush's silence is curious given his tireless campaign against 'Islamofascists,' extremists who seek to force people to conform to their Islamic faith. In this age of hyphenated fascism, what do we call Jews or Christians who want to force non-believers to swear to the Bible? Judeo-Christofascists? " (USA Today, December 2007)[16]

See also

References

  1. ^ Dorothee Sölle (1970). Beyond Mere Obedience: Reflections on a Christian Ethic for the Future. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House. http://books.google.com/books?id=zbeCGwAACAAJ&dq.  
  2. ^ "Confessing Christ in a Post-Christendom Context.". The Ecumenical Review. July 1, 2000. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-66279081.html. Retrieved 2007-12-23. "... shall we say this, represent this, live this, without seeming to endorse the kind of christomonism (Dorothee Solle called it "Christofascism"! ..."  
  3. ^ Pinnock, Sarah K. (2003). The Theology of Dorothee Soelle. Trinity Press International. ISBN 1563384043. http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&id=56_VviorwEsC&dq. "... of establishing a dubious moral superiority to justify organized violence on a massive scale, a perversion of Christianity she called Christofascism. ..."  
  4. ^ Beverly Wildung Harrison (2004). Justice in the Making: Feminist Social Ethics. Westminster John Knox Press. pp. 136. ISBN 0664227740. http://books.google.com/books?id=28LeW0ym5g8C&dq.  
  5. ^ a b John Charles Hoffman (1986). Law, Freedom, and Story: The Role of Narrative in Therapy, Society, and Faith. Wilfrid Laurier University Press. pp. 127–128. ISBN 0889201854.  
  6. ^ Rabbi Arthur Waskow (2007-10-21). "Judeo-Christo-Fascism Awareness Week Comes to American Campuses!". The American Muslim. http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/judeo_christo_fascism_awareness_week_comes_to_american_campuses/0014850. Retrieved 2009-04-24.  
  7. ^ Nicole Belle (2007-10-21). "It's "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week"!". Crooks and Liars. http://crooksandliars.com/2007/10/22/its-islamo-fascism-awareness-week. Retrieved 2009-04-24.  
  8. ^ Tom Faw Driver (1981). Christ in a Changing World: Toward an Ethical Christology. Crossroad. pp. 19. ISBN 0824501055. http://books.google.com/books?id=K8oWAAAAIAAJ&q. "We fear Christofascism ..."  
  9. ^ Paul F. Knitter (July 1983). "Theocentric Christology". Theology Today 40 (2): 142. http://theologytoday.ptsem.edu./jul1983/v40-2-article2.htm. "Dorothee Soelle can even describe much of Christology as "Christofascism" in the way it has disposed or allowed Christians to impose themselves upon not only other religions but other cultures and political parties which do not march under the banner of the final, normative, victorious Christ".  
  10. ^ Wildman, Wesley J. (1998). Fidelity With Plausibility: Modest Christologies in the Twentieth Century. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. ISBN 0791435954. http://books.google.com/books?id=kZrqBkS-m_QC&pg. "Driver argues that traditional Christology fosters what he calls "Christofascism." He means by this, first, the absolutizing of the past in order to ..."  
  11. ^ George Hunsinger (2001). "Where the Battle Rages: Confessing Christ in America Today". Disruptive Grace: Studies in the Theology of Karl Barth. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. pp. 99. ISBN 0802849407.  
  12. ^ Douglas John Hall. "Confessing Christ in a Post-Christendom Context". 1999 Covenant Conference, Network of Presbyterians, November 6, 1999, in Atlanta, GA. Religion Online.. http://religion-online.org./showarticle.asp?title=528.  
  13. ^ Helen Rhee (2005). "Superiority of Christian Monotheism". Early Christian Literature: Christ and Culture in the Second and Third Centuries. Routledge. pp. 80. ISBN 0415354870.  
  14. ^ Douglas John Hall. "The Identity of Jesus in a Pluralistic World" (Microsoft Word). http://www.genevalutheran.ch/spaghetti/articles/THE%20IDENTITY%20OF%20JESUS%20IN%20A%20PLURALISTIC%20WORLD.doc.  
  15. ^ Bradley, Peter (December 7, 2007). "Dangerous.". Concord Monitor. http://www.cmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071207/OPINION/712070331/1029/OPINION03. Retrieved 2007-12-22.  
  16. ^ Turley, Jonathan (December 7, 2007). "The truth about oaths.". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20070104/opquranbible.art.htm. Retrieved 2007-12-22.  

Further reading


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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Contents

English

Noun

Singular
Christofascism

Plural
uncountable

Christofascism (uncountable)

  1. (pejorative) Christian fanaticism or fundamentalism.

Usage notes

  • This term is politically highly charged, sometimes considered propaganda.

Related terms








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