It was great talking to a former student who is working on finding an academic teaching position at an independent school; I have no doubt that she will be in high demand as she seeks a history post; she shared with me her teaching philosophy as it relates to historical analysis; it was great talking to a former student that has a similar academic philosophy as I do. Her philosophy relates to mine in that it espouses the notion of social justice vis-a-vis liberation theology. My views reflect the importance of liberation theology as it too, though to a greater extent, promulgates both Christ and Marx. As I have stated here on my web page:
My teaching philosophy is shaped by the tenets of Pragmatism and Reconstructionism. It was my reading of Cornel West’s and W.E.B. Du Bois’s works as a high school, undergraduate, and graduate student that shaped my sense of intellectual and practical purpose. West’s synthesis of Christianity and pragmatism promulgated my construction of theodicy that finds its premise in the writings and thought processes of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and John Dewey. My courses look to inculcate the point of view of the oppressed and alienated class, as it is this class that has traditionally been neglected among the privileged and in the literature of study. I find the teachings of Christ and Marx to be synonymous in that both look to eradicate social vice and poverty, racism and hate, as well as greed and materialism.
The writings of Karl Marx, who focused on human oppression and alienation via the effects of capitalism, attracted the attention of academic theologians that shared similar concerns. Thus, both groups saw a combined relationship between Marxism and Christianity. Liberation theology can be outlined as such:
Liberation theologians base their social action upon the Bible scriptures describing the mission of Jesus Christ, as but bringing a sword (social unrest), e.g. Isaiah 61:1, Matthew 10:34, Luke 22:35-38 Matthew 26:51-52 — and not as bringing peace (social order). This Biblical interpretation is a call to action against poverty, and the sin engendering it, and as a call to arms, to effect Jesus Christ’s mission of justice in this world. In practice, the Theology includes the Marxist concept of perpetual class struggle, thus emphasizing the person’s individual self-actualization as part of God’s divine purpose for mankind.
- The church should be concerned with poverty.
- The church should be concerned with political repression.
- The church should be concerned with economic repression.
- Priests should become actively involved in trying to solve these problems.
- Priests should move beyond general activity to: a.) Direct political action b.) and direct involvement in attempts to change political and economic systems, even by actual participation in revolutionary activity.
- The establishment of a religious community to help guide such political and economic units. (Contemporary Political Ideologies by Lyman Tower Sargent, pg. 212, 7th edition)
My former student and I concluded that if academics and religious “folk” came to term on reaching a conclusion on how to help the poor and the oppressed, there might not be a need for true liberalism, hence, a large government. However, the reality is that in order to achieve social justice, one must depend on the federal government — as seen in the American south circa 1960 during the reign of Jim Crow.