Justice between fairness and love? : developing a Christian notion of justice in critical dialogue with John Rawls and Reinhold Niebuhr

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dc.contributor.advisor Smit, Dirk en_ZA
dc.contributor.author Wright, Jenny Anne en_ZA
dc.contributor.other Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology. Dept. of Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology. en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned 2011-02-17T10:26:34Z en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned 2011-03-14T08:22:05Z
dc.date.available 2011-02-17T10:26:34Z en_ZA
dc.date.available 2011-03-14T08:22:05Z
dc.date.issued 2011-03 en_ZA
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/6589
dc.description Thesis (DTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2011. en_ZA
dc.description.abstract ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis is a critical study of the work of John Rawls, political philosopher, and Reinhold Niebuhr, theologian. The work of these two scholars is brought into dialogue with theological thought to work towards a Christian notion of justice which seeks more than justice as fairness but realises the impossibility of perfect love in this world. Rawls’s two principles of justice form the basis of the discussion, with liberty placed prior to equality, and permissible inequalities only allowed when the weakest benefit. He excludes religion and moral reasoning from justice, essentially any thick theory of the good, in favour of the right; any conception of the good must be in agreement with the right and a thin theory of the good is necessary to guide people in the right direction. In his later works he accepts that people will mostly be guided by some moral or religious thought. Niebuhr believed that a prophetic religion combines an utmost seriousness about history with a transcendent norm. Hope, faith and love form the foundation of a call to a continual struggle for justice and equality. The boundaries in which justice is sought are being continually extended as global cooperation and dependence increase. Perfect justice would be a state of solidarity with no conflict of interests. Because people are a combination of vitality and reason, the social coherence of life can never be based on pure rationality. Our truth is never the truth; we are always subjective and prejudiced. There can be no universal rational standards of justice or neutrality in social struggle. Love is the primary law of nature and a fundamental requirement of social existence. We are called to involvement in society by the very nature of our justification by faith. Equality as the pinnacle of the ideal of justice points towards love as the final norm of justice; for equal justice is the realization of community under the conditions of sin. Justice as imperfect love aims for an equality which is increasingly inclusive and continuously creates space for people to live in harmony. In the final chapter, Rawls and Niebuhr are brought into critical discussion with other theologians. The Christian preference for the poor, an inherent part of theological justice begins the discussion. The importance of moral reasoning for justice comes into conflict with Rawls’s idea that there should be no thick theory of the good influencing justice. Human dignity is an important facet of justice. The inalienable dignity owed to every human being, created in the image of God, is an essential part of theology and can enrich secular theories of justice. Justice necessitates community. People learn how to behave in a way which is just, moral and ethical from their associations in communities. The church community can provide an important place where dialogue and learning can take place. The boundaries of justice are ever-increasing. Globalisation presents challenges to where and how justice is implemented and we become increasingly aware of how our actions affect other people. The responsibility of the struggle for justice is everincreasing. The eschatological hope and the specific way of life which can be offered by the church complete the Christian notion of justice. en_ZA
dc.description.abstract AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis is ’n kritiese studie van die werk van die politieke filosoof John Rawls en die teoloog Reinhold Niebuhr. Hierdie denkers se werk word met teologiese nadenke in gesprek gebring om sodoende ’n Christelike idee van geregtigheid te vorm wat meer as billikheid wil wees, en wat terselfdertyd die onmoontlikheid van perfekte liefde in dié wêreld erken. Rawls se twee beginsels van geregtigheid vorm die basis van die argument, deurdat vryheid voor gelykheid geplaas word en met die enigste toelaatbare ongelykhede dié wat tot die swakstes se voordeel is. Hy maak nie gebruik van godsdienstige of morele arugmente om geregtigheid te begrond of vul nie – enige begrip van die goeie moet in ooreenstemming met die regte wees en slegs ’n dun teorie van die goeie is nodig om mense in die regte rigting te lei. Hy aanvaar in sy latere werk dat die meeste mense tog deur morele denke of godsdiens gelei sal word. Niebuhr glo dat ’n profetiese godsdiens ’n diepe erns met die geskiedenis met ’n transendente norm kombineer. Hoop, geloof en liefde vorm die grondslag van ’n oproep tot ’n voortdurende stryd om geregtigheid en gelykheid. Die beperkinge waarbinne geregtigheid gesoek word, word voortdurend uitgebrei soos globale samewerking en afhanklikheid verhoog. Volmaakte geregtigheid sou ’n toestand van solidariteit met geen konflik van belange wees. Omdat mense 'n kombinasie van vitaliteit en rede is, kan die sosiale kohesie van die lewe nooit op suiwer rasionaliteit gebaseer word nie. Óns waarheid is nooit dié waarheid nie en ons is altyd subjektief en bevooroordeeld. Daar kan geen universele rasionele standaarde van geregtigheid of neutraliteit in die sosiale stryd wees nie. Liefde is die primêre wet van die natuur en ’n fundamentele vereiste vir sosiale bestaan. Ons word geroep tot betrokkenheid in die samelewing op grond van die regverdigmaking deur geloof. Gelykheid as die toppunt van geregtigheid verwys na liefde as die finale norm van geregtigheid, want gelyke geregtigheid is die verwesenliking van die gemeenskap onder die voorwaardes van die sonde. Geregtigheid as onvolmaakte liefde het gelykheid wat toenemend inklusief is en voortdurend ruimte skep waar mense in harmonie kan lewe ten doel. In die laaste hoofstuk van hierdie studie word Rawls en Niebuhr in kritiese gesprek met ander teoloë gebring. Die bespreking begin met die Christelike voorrang vir die armes, ’n basiese element van teologiese geregtigheid. Die belang van morele redenering vir geregtigheid kom in konflik met Rawls se idee dat enige dik teorie van die goeie geregtigheid nie behoort te beïnvloed nie. Menswaardigheid is 'n belangrike faset van geregtigheid. Elke mens – as beeld van God – se onvervreembare waardigheid, vorm ’n noodsaaklike deel van die teologie en kan sekulêre teorieë van geregtigheid verryk. Geregtigheid vereis gemeenskap. Mense kan in gemeenskappe leer hoe om op te tree op 'n manier wat regverdig, moreel en eties is. Die kerk as gemeenskap kan 'n belangrike plek wees waar dialoog en opvoeding kan plaasvind. Die omvang van geregtigheid neem steeds toe. Globalisering bied uitdagings oor waar en hoe geregtigheid geïmplementeer behoort te word en ons raak meer bewus van hoe ons aksies ander mense beïnvloed. Die verantwoordelikheid vir die stryd om geregtigheid neem ook steeds toe. Die eskatologiese hoop en die manier van lewe wat die kerk kan aanbied voltooi die Christelike idee van geregtigheid. en_ZA
dc.format.extent 268 p.
dc.language.iso en_ZA en_ZA
dc.publisher Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University en_ZA
dc.subject Justice en_ZA
dc.subject Fairness en_ZA
dc.subject Dissertations -- Systematic Theology en_ZA
dc.subject Theses -- Systematic Theology en_ZA
dc.title Justice between fairness and love? : developing a Christian notion of justice in critical dialogue with John Rawls and Reinhold Niebuhr en_ZA
dc.type Thesis en_ZA
dc.rights.holder Stellenbosch University en_ZA
dc.subject.name Rawls, John, 1921-2002 en_ZA
dc.subject.name Niebuhr, Reinhold, 1892-1971 en_ZA


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