Theology and the building of civilizing democracy in South Africa

Nico Koopman


This paper discusses the contribution of theology to the building of a
civilizing democracy, i.e. a democratic society where a life of justice to all is advanced. A
society is only “civilized” where justice to especially the most vulnerable is advanced. Justice
rests in dignity and co-exists with equality and equity, as well as with freedom. Theology makes
a threefold contribution towards a society of justice. Theology reveals the deeper
meaning-giving framework, and forces of social cohesion and moral living without which a liberal
democracy cannot flourish. Theology offers richer descriptions of notions like justice, which
advance the implementation and fulfilment of these features. Theology makes a contribution
towards the mobilization of an activist civil society and citizenship in search of a civilizing
society of justice.


Dignity; Justice; Equality; Freedom; Civil society; Civilising

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ISSN 2226-2385 (online); ISSN 0028-2006 (print)

© 2014 Pieter de Waal Neethling Trust, Stellenbosch.

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