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Applying Eric Fromm's concept of the differences between Humanistic and Authoritarian religions, The Two Faces of Christianity proposes that Christianity consists of two distinctly different religions which co-exist under the same verbal label. The ethical teachings of that inspired Jewish religious genius, Jesus of Nazareth which has traditionally been believed to be the core around which the religion of Christianity has been built, constitute a Humanistic Religion. In many parts of the Christian Church the tenets of that religion have all but disappeared under the spreading influence of the salvation theology of St Paul and his fellow-travellers. Examination of the guilt-ridden mind of St Paul, to whom the authorship of nearly half of the 27 books of the New Testament has been attributed, throws revealing light on how this process has taken place. Paul s notoriously neurotic anxieties about sex are just one of the more striking manifestations of the psychopathology of his split personality which has been a major influence in the process by which the Humanistic religion of Jesus has been transformed into an oppressive Authoritarian one."
In this book, using Eric Fromm's distinction between Humanistic and Authoritarian Religions whose implications for Christianity the author explored at some length in his recently published /The Two Faces of Christianity/, he identifies what he believes to be the fundamental psychopathology which has prevented Christianity becoming an unambiguous good for humanity, namely an authoritarian mind-set. Central to this mindset is the idea of God as a controlling force acting on the universe, but separate from it, rather than as a property of 'all that is'. Dr Oxtoby argues that it is this ubiquitous authoritarian thinking, with its emphasis on the need for obedience to imposed authority which lies at the root of the sado-masochistic obsession with pain, suffering and death of the Doctrine of the Atonement.
For nearly ten years - indeed more if we include his period of influence under Mandela's presidency - Thabo Mbeki bestrode South Africa's political stage. Despite attempts by some in the new ANC leadership to airbrush out his role, there can be little doubt that Mbeki was a seminal figure in South Africa's new democracy, one who left a huge mark in many fields, perhaps most controversially in state and party management, economic policy, public health intervention, foreign affairs and race relations. If we wish to understand the character and fate of post-1994 South Africa, we must therefore ask: What kind of political system, economy and society has the former President bequeathed to the government of Jacob Zuma and to the citizens of South Africa generally? This question is addressed head-on here by a diverse range of analysts, commentators and participants in the political process. Amongst the specific questions they seek to answer: What is Mbeki's legacy for patterns of inclusion and exclusion based on race, class and gender? How, if at all, did his presidency reshape relations within the state, between the state and the ruling party and between the state and society? How did he reposition South Africa on the continent and in the world? This book will be of interest to anyone wishing to understand the current political landscape in South Africa, and Mbeki's role in shaping it.
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