Comments on "Religion, Politics, and the Earth-The New Materialism" by Clayton Crockett and Jeffrey Robbins.
By Radical Theologies, many of the fundamentals of orthodox Christian and other mono-theistic theologies are rejected, tacitly if not overtly. A "post-theistic" theology is presumed.
Wikipedia does not yet have an entry for "radical theology" or "radical theologies" but related wikipedia posts include:
Fundamentals of a Christian worldview/meta-narrative include the following:
1) There is a God who is separate from what he created,
2) This God is personal - self-aware and capable of agency
3) God created physical universe.
4) God also created a moral universe or his character reflects the moral universe.
5) God created mankind with unique responsibilities-to be his "creation-caring-for creature" on planet earth and a unique capability to enjoy a personal and positive relationship with God, with other
humans and, in a more limited sense, other parts of creation.
6) it is important for humans to consciously try to ascertain and advance God's will on earth, in and through their lives.
7) special revelation - the Bible - is essential to mankind realizing his place in universe, but mankind has other sources of information and wisdom too.
But in rejecting/ignoring such fundamental aspects of the Christian worldview, the book fails to claim its point of view - its meta-narrative for answering basic worldview questions such as (see James Sire books about "worldview"):
1) what is the prime reality - i.e. "The really real"?
2) what is the nature of external reality, that is, the world around us?
3) what is a human being?
4) what happens to a person to death?
5) why is it possible to know anything at all?
6) how do we know what is right and wrong?
7) what is meaning of human history?
Radical theologies seem to lack the foundation of an explicit, coherent, metanarrative that addresses such questions, so let me play devil's advocate to some of the values espoused in the book:
So what's wrong with concentration of wealth in the hands of the few? With attaining arbitrary power being the chief purpose of man, in order to maximize reproductive advantage? With mankind, the most successful species in the 4.4 billion year history of planet Earth, despoiling the planet Earth and experiencing a mass die off, if not complete extinction, in next hundred years or so?
The authors seem to be opposed to all these things, but don't present much argument why their preferences are not as arbitrary as any other choice in the apparently pitilessly indifferent universe mankind finds itself accidentally in.
Neither does the book make much argument for the truth of its claims to allow the reader, the "shopper in the marketplace of ideas" to make an informed decision. Such guidelines include:
1) nonselective empirical grounding of knowledge based on experience. Beliefs and ideas must be traceable back to observable physical events. All facts, including inconvenient, must be included.
2) consistency - worldviews are to be consistent, both internally and externally. They must be free from logical contradiction and they must not disagree with well-established facts.
3) Sobriety - credence given a proposition must accord with the evidence. One must recognize the tendency to inflate the validity of one's cause.
4) Converging Evidence - extent to which varied and independent evidence jointly validates some explanation.
5) Cognitive consonance - a person not only lives with his beliefs, he lives them out too.
The book is silent to how theory of evolution explains - or fails to explain - why mankind is as it is, individually and collectively and whether the traits of evolved human nature fit with the changed circumstances of modern man.
After reading it, I question the intellectual courage of "radical theologians" - because a post-theistic theology - if it is to be based in empirical fact - and not just derivative arguments of long-dead philosophers, theologians, etc - who were basically clueless about the "big history" of the universe, earth, life on earth and history of human society - their reasoning should lead them to something like a place, at least I suggest, now held by E.O. Wilson or David Wilson. But that would lead to their basically renouncing their years of professional training for being their chasing down rabbit-holes of meta-narratives based on myths and derivatives of myths, and not reality based.
Radicial theologies are openly about "subverting the norm," the "norm" is the more broadly held meta-narrative of evangelical Christianity (what about Catholic, Orthodox, Celtic, Coptic, Oriental, etc strands of Christianity and their norms?). "Norms" provided generally accepted answers to questions as "what is real?" and "what is important?" so that rank and file human beings can navigate their lives and explain themselves to themselves, at least to some degree.
So what is the "norm" of radical theology?