Contesting the Dynamics of Secular Development: An Ontology of Trinitarian Well-Being as Christian Rationale for Human Well-Being

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Abstract

Christianity has been instrumental in fashioning the contemporary Western paradigm of humanitarian aid and development. However, as a secular agenda increasingly defines this space, the question of what difference a religious cosmology makes to Christian faith-based development organisations (FBDO’s) becomes significant. While faith convictions initiated early humanitarian efforts, Christian FBDO’s have arguably acquiesced to secular pragmatic rationales for their work, rather than allow theology to have explanatory and regulatory influence. In many ways, therefore, FBDOs are devoid of the influence of ‘faith’, or more specifically, the influence of a robust theological foundation. To address this deficit, a critique of the philosophical moorings of Western international development is mounted, with consideration given to nascent trajectories of an alternate Christian rationale and praxis. In particular, the paper argues that the ontological foundation for the dynamics of human well-being is divine well-being. Employing a Triune relational ontology, the dynamic characteristic inherent to the actualisation of divine well-being is identified as a Triune kenosis (self-giving). Such an ontology of divine well-being provides the context to articulate principles for actualizing human well-being as a reiteration of the divine archetype. From such a perspective, the Trinitarian doctrine of God provides the pivotal foundation for a Christian cosmology necessary to articulate an alternative paradigm for sustainable development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-58
JournalReligion and Development
Volume1
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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