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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Christian God and human authority: a theological inquiry with reference to Africa's principal world-views
Author:Toren, Benno van denISNI
Periodical:Exchange: Journal of Contemporary Christianities in Context
Geographic term:Africa
African religions
Abstract:Starting from their knowledge of God, Christians have a unique contribution to make to the African crisis of authority. The Christian understanding of God is compared with concepts of God and authority in African traditional religion, Islam and (post)modernism, for it is these three world views, together with Christianity, that are competing for the African mind, soul and society. A reading of the Scriptures shows how the biblical conception and practice of authority differed from its environment and specifically so because of its particular understanding of God. The radical distinction between the Creator and his creation proper to the Judeo-Christian Scriptures results in the desacralization of all human authority. By contrast, traditional African conceptions of authority tend to consider human authorities as sacred and therefore absolute and incontestable, while according to modern and postmodern conceptions, authorities are completely separated from any idea of a divine justice and order. Finally, a comparison of Christian and Islamic theology shows that these two religions have radically different conceptions of God and that it is exactly from their different doctrines of God that the differences in their ideals and actual practices of authority can be understood. Notes, ref.