Theology and the building of civilizing democracy in South Africa


  • Nico Koopman



Dignity, Justice, Equality, Freedom, Civil society, Civilising


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.