Religion and Socialism - Liberation Theology

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Tuesday, 16th January 18:30 – 20:00

"When I feed the poor they call me a saint. When I ask why so many people are poor they call me a communist." - Hélder Câmara

This week we look at liberation theology: a combination of Christian social teaching and Marxist socio-political analysis.

Many proponents of liberation theology were involved in Latin American revolutions and activism but the focus on the oppressed worldwide has led to the approach being applied to black and queer liberation, amongst other strands of social justice. Does it mean anything to say that 'Jesus was a communist?' Is organised religion always inherently oppressive? What can socialists learn from the way that the Church still manages to reach and influence the world's poor an oppressed worldwide?

Suggested (but optional!) reading/listening:
- these two episodes of The Magnificast: https://open.spotify.com/episode/7wQfpOIgmdc6U816VNl1lp?si=88fc1eed7ecb42c0 / https://open.spotify.com/episode/3MCXdIkUP0vTnqdzTIng61?si=47cb52c51de74218
- this episode of Bread & Rosaries: https://open.spotify.com/episode/6HeNsBe2QLsB3uOxj8Ge4o?si=321cef4b75c54354
- Chapter 20 of The Gospel in Solentiname: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-l9SRHimd_QvULVF7mQZlQftrb8Wdkwt/view?usp=drive_link

Doors open from 6pm for a 6:30pm start.
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What is the relationship between religion and socialism? Should there even be one? What can a largely secular movement take and learn from faith traditions? How can leftwing and faith communities work together to improve society today?

Following on from the successful/insightful/interesting panel session at this year’s Bristol Transformed, BT is starting a reading and discussion group along similar themes. Each month we will pursue a different set theme with the discussion based loosely around a choice of reading – Introductory, further and podcast options will be available to suit your expertise, interests and time constraints.

Over the course of the year we intend to cover the Marxist approach to religion, the history of how religious and leftwing political movements have influenced each other and start to consider what the modern left could learn from religious practices.

We welcome participation from all people: those of all faiths, all political beliefs and none are invited to join the discussion.

The sessions will mostly be run in a P4C (Philosophy for Communities) format which means that they are interactive and participatory with the content and direction of the session decided democratically.

Don’t worry if you’re worrying about managing to complete the reading. Do your best. Turning up and taking part is more important.

The sessions will take place at 6:30pm on the following Tuesdays: Jan 16th, Feb 13th, Mar 12th, and Apr 9th.