Inclusive: Special Article: Vol. 1, Issue 14 - January, 2019

Cosmopolitical Theology: For a ChristianEthical Analysis and of Globalization?

Enrico L. Joseph



This article promotes a new theological orientation for the 21st century; because of the realities of the current world, there is still a need for a sociopolitical theology. This relatively new concept is known as a ‘cosmopolitical theology’. The State’s foreign policies or the actions of the different nation-states are often not clear. Christians need meanings to face the world without suffering of desperation; they cannot avoid the realities of international and domestic policies. Consequently, they need to understand what the problems of this world are. Moreover, people are now aware of the fact that State’s foreign politics are another chapter of domestic politics! There is no separation between international and national politics; both are entwined. Furthermore, we could also say that European colonization has got the five continents of the Earth in constant communication. We are now “living together”! This reality that we are facing, forces us to engage in the development of a theology that addresses the challenges of our contemporary world. In order to live peacefully we will need a common moral norm. The basis of this norm shall be international law. The cosmopolitical theology shall be instrumental in the promotion of international law and the love of the neighbor. This Christian theology is interested in promoting social and economic justice for all. Justice, in other words, signifies peace in every sphere of human activities, especially in the fields of economics and politics. In sum, a cosmopolitical theology is a theology of peace and a theology of international relations that struggles for the well-being of all the citizens of the Earth.



Today, in 2018, we can state that social misery, in all its shapes or forms, has not disappeared. In effect, men and women of all ages, all social classes and of all ethnic origins are confronted to political and social misery. The politologists, economists, sociologists, historians, philosophers, theologians, the healthcare specialists, ecologists are questioning themselves on ameliorating the living conditions of people. Since immemorial time, we know that we have to struggle to improve our existential conditions. But before we act upon this, we must reflect on the multiple dimensions of that same problem. We must grasp the essence of the disorders that we are facing so we can hinder them. Assuredly, today, we are conscious that the main cultural, economic and political power of the entire humanity is still the Western powers. Attesting this does not mean that Westerners do not notice other emerging nation-states in the world.Nevertheless, it does not stop them from keeping and maintaining imperialistic views and activities. For instance, the events of the 11 th September 2001, did not alter the hegemonic views of the Western world. According to Sophie Bessis, author of “Western Supremacy: The Triumph of an Idea”,the events have motivated the Westerners in keeping their pretensions to a political and cultural monopoly. Bessis, in reality, is questioning herself on the motivations of the Westerners in trying to be the “the executive officer” of the world1. This historian and journalist is conscious that the Occident still have the means to prolong its hegemony. She states that the Occident has for himself powerfulness, technology and a “directorship conviction” that managing the world is its “manifest destiny”! Moreover, several nations-states are working and building themselves through a more or less Western design. Western civilization remains a model for many nations of the world. After analysis, Sophie Bessis is affirming that the accomplishments of the Westerners are seriously contested, but, since there is no viable, credible and successful other socioeconomic and political model, then the Western civilization remains the most seductive2. This social and political reality does not prevent Bessis from affirming that the Westerners should not think of themselves as the sole and truthful possible civilization on our planet! She firmly thinks the Occident is the greatest ideological manipulator of history. It is an inveterate liar!

The paradox of the West lies in his ability to produce universals, to raise them to the level of absolutes, and to violate in an extraordinarily systematic way the principles that it derives from them, while still feeling the need to develop theoretical justifications for those violations. The planetary reach of its hegemony, together with the dogged attempt to justify itself over the centuries by means of a sophisticated cultural apparatus in which universality is constantly evoked, constitute a twofold specificity that clearly deserves to be examined at length.3


1. Lying as Political Violence

According to the theologian and philosophers Paul Valadier, what characterizes politics since Hellenic Antiquity is the vital importance of speechfulness. The ancient Greeks conceived politics as the activity where speechfulness was taking place. The speech, in other words the faculty or the action of speaking, is an essential aspect of human identity since it is through that ability that people express their thoughts, desires and feelings. And, in matters of politics, we also say that human beings are by essence political because they are fundamentally speechful beings. Through their daily political activities, the human beings are constantly using the main common communication skill which is the language. Somehow we can conceptualize the capacity to talk as a tool that allows us to pass on information and our convictions. Language is indeed the foundation of the relationship between human beings. Like many facets of politics, language is another theme for the analysis on the essence and conduct of politics; in addition to this, we shall also have in mind that language in the field of politics has several ethical implications. The recourse to language in the public sphere must be based on civism, which means that those who ought to communicate publically with the citizens must transmit a clear, honest and morally sound message, because the language in the political sphere concerns the fundamental common sense of life in society. To this effect, Paul Valadier believes that the recourse to an awful, dishonest, unrespectable public speech, especially within the political scenery, is definitively a socio-political violence. Lies do destroy and kill! The political space, which is at the same time the language space, must be a place for authenticity, genuineness, and truthfulness since men and women who love to support their socio-political leaders, absolutely need to know the truth about the nature and details about their problems in society; it is the only way for them to decide soundly, clearly, morally and collectively the appropriate measures to take to correct the bad situations. Lying destroys the trustworthiness between and among the people, since the objective is to offer a misrepresentation of the reality of a situation. Consequently, the societal relations will be corrupted if we take into account that the entire society will be established on dishonesty. In the same order of ideas, considering that language is power, on the grounds that it is a mean to transmit knowledge and all kinds of vital information, therefore a mean that could allow the people to solve the socio-political problems of the “polis”, Paul Valadier affirms that lying is a maximal act of violence from a person to an another. This explains why democratic societies have founded public and compulsory educational systems: education allows the constituents to understand the multiple challenges facing by the “polis”. They have access to knowledge and information. By educating themselves, in other words, by mastering the diverse field of knowledge, the citizens are allowing themselves to take control of their society and institutions, which means that they are exercising their right to political leadership. For Valadier, totalitarian regimes constantly recourse to language by mainly trying to control the means of communication, and by then, they impose their power over language to subvert the meanings and the concepts of the words, so at the end they could offer to the members of a dominated society, the sole acceptable meaning of several words. The totalitarian must corrupt the language so it could be useful to his own political interests4. Historically, the dictators have often taken power by being electorally fraudulent or else; but one thing they constantly do is to take control over the language of a given society because it allows them to control the mind of their citizens5.Valadier even asks an imperative question on the political corruption of language by those on power: why signing international conventions or denouncing human rights abuses, if the meaning of the word “right” or “freedom” are distorted6? The nationals of all the nation-states must take into account that the phenomena of lying in society and on the political scene by such means as propaganda, fake political reporting and false ideas could be lethal. How could we judge of a more or less perilous situation if we are provided with wrongful information? Moreover, about trustworthiness of those who lead our societies; if we do not trust their information that they are providing us, how could we improve the livelihood of everyone on Earth? It is imperious that we have to trust those who lead us politically and intellectually, because if we want to build a better world for everyone, we necessitate authentic, truthful collection of factual knowledge about any subject that pertains to the “polis”. For Valadier, the distortion of knowledge or information is essentially an act of violence because such a political act has for objective to impair the social and the political life of a society, and, by extension, we can also say of the international community7.


2. Towards the End of Occidentalism…?

Even though the Occident recourse to subterfuge to hide his will, it remains, nevertheless, that the nationals of every Western nations are conscious of their objectives and diplomatic methods. Nowadays, the Western nation-states know that they cannot manipulate the non-Western people as they used to. Furthermore, they also know that they must consider their own specific needs and politico-economic goals8. Although the ideological lies of the Westerners endure, they know that they have to deal with new world realities. Sophie Bessis is even assured that the Westerners do not feel that the political and economic future belong to them. The Euro-Americans and the Europeans thought that they could have managed the indefinitely the universe. Well, demographically, the birthing dynamism is a phenomenon that is occurring outside of the borders of the Western nation-states. Westerners with a European phenotype are presently about 20% of the world population9. Facing this figure, Bessis affirms that it is understandable that the Westerners feel that they must “confirm” their political, economical and cultural superiority, since they see their range of influence diminishing. Why do we need to talk so much about the Western world? Clearly, the political and especially the economic stakes concern seven billions of human beings. Consequently, how are-we going to share the terrestrial resources peacefully and justly among us? This is a central question in view of the fact that the world wealth is mainly consumed by the Occident.

Without being an economist, Bessis has written that by the end of the 20 th century, the nation-states of the Occident were consuming 60% of the world energy, 75% of metals, 85% of woods and 60% of the foodstuffs produced by the globe. The bulk of the riding cars are in the Western world as well; 75% of the vehicles are riding in this part of the world; it consequently produces ¾ of solid wastes on Earth. Furthermore, 54% of the carbon dioxide being emitted on our planet comes from the Western vehicles. In 1995, a citizen of the USA was ejecting 20 metric tons of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, ten times more than a Chinese and twenty times than an Indian. The average water consumption by an American individual was 600 liters a day, whereas in Chad, it was no more than ten liters10. The sharing of the planet resources among the inhabitants of the Earth is fundamentally a “partial” and a moral issue. Bessis, in addition to this, affirms that it would be impossible for the entire human communities to consume the same way and at the same level as the Westerners. Either now or later, the nation-states and their citizens will have no choice but to make new choices for their collective well-being. The Occident will be forced to change his ways if it wants China and India to diminish the intensity and the measures of their political and economic ambitions. Europeans and North Americans cannot be the only one to have access indefinitely to the wealth being extracted and produced by men and women, or by nature. Without a doubt, the main subject on the relationships between the several nation-states is the ecological-economic question.Additionally, to this, there is the ethical aspect of this problematic. The future of the world is based on this ethical dilemma: can the Westerners keep on consuming the wealth of the Earth, whereas the rest of humanity should struggle ecologically and financially to survive? The North cannot enjoy incessantly the prerogatives of eternal economic enjoyment and the south to remain in eternal miseryfor the wretches of the Earth. Ethically, it is a political non-sense for the Occident to obtain all the resources to consume them forever and ever without being stricken by some kind of economic or political backlash11.

Intellectually, the West is very fertile. There is a multitude of fields of knowledge that may question the vitality and the perennity of the Western civilization and the humanity. One field of knowledge that observes, investigates and questions constantly is theology. Here, we are referring to a French Catholic theologian, Rene Coste. His Christian faith has taken him to undertake a theological reflection on the stakes and objectives of humanity. Coste is an internationalist theologian concerned with the rationality of questioning theologically, ethically and philosophically the dynamics of interstates and intrastate relations. On the other hand,according to thepolitologistMarvyn Frost, the internationalists are skeptical towards a moral reflection on the dynamics of international relations12. For the French politologist Pierre Hassner, the moral reflections on the conducts of international affairs is a possibility, although it is ambiguous. Hassner wrote that the dynamics of international relations are by essence a constant violation of the Sermon of the Mount and of the Decalogue. The political dynamic cannot avoid violence, ruse, envy and avarices13. Besides, for instances, the other central problem derives from the moral legitimacy of the state. This one, can-he impose constantly his “own” rights and force the respect of his own sociopolitical obligations without causing a prejudice to rights and laws, collective and personal morality of the individual or humanity. Still, according to Hassner, the growing role of transnational and non-state actors and networks, and all the same for the states in the national or the international arena –notice that both are solidly related- incite an ethical reflection on the moral imperative of the public policies management. For the French politologist, if we really careabout improving the ethical analysis or the moral attitude of the social and political actors in their interstates relations, we ought to elaborate a “political conceptualization” that will be based on four fundamental aspects: (1) collective subject, (2) the goals, (3) the means, (4) and the environment structure14. He believes firmly that the reality of the conduct of public policy, make us understand that the state is constantly entangled in political compromises that are ambiguous and unstable15. The disbelief of Hassner on any intellectual undertaking on ethics of international relations is based on the gap between theory and praxis. In effect, he thinks that there is a serious deficiency between theological-philosophical intellection on political “morality ” and the practicability of these concepts and theories in the daily political activities of a state! Since power is not within the hands of individuals or the “international community”, but rather within those of states and non-states agencies, Hassner is doubtful on the capacity of a moral discourse to influence efficiently the dynamics of political events. Well, Hassner is partially right on this!

Although the thought of Hassner on politics and morality is certainly right, it happens, nevertheless, that sometimes it is not the case. As an example, the Security Council of the United Nations has refused to recognize the national independence of the White Rhodesian minority (nowadays Zimbabwe) since it did not acknowledge the rights to vote of the African majority. On the 29 th May 1968, the Security Council had authorized economic sanctions against the racist regime of Rhodesia. Even though USA was in favor of these sanctions, the American Congress adopted the Byrd Amendment of 1971 which allowed the importation of Rhodesian chrome. This American amendment of 1971, which allowed the importation of Rhodesian chrome, was a clear violation of United Nations sanctions.There was a general outcry among the UN members. Despite the general UN reprobation, the USA kept on trading with Rhodesia because the UN did not have the means to impede the American policy choice. This is a clear example of the weakness of a moral violation without the means of enforcing your political will. Therefore, it can be asserted that somewhere and somehow, coercive means are sadly necessary!

By contrast, in April 1984, the Nicaraguans called upon the “International Justice Court” to denounce the mining of the Nicaraguan seaways and its seaports. The American action was illegal and it was technically a war declaration. The government of the USA knowingly that Nicaraguan government would complain officially to the International Justice Court against the political violation of the American government, the Reagan administration decided that they would not acknowledge the jurisdiction, therefore the legality of the International Justice Court. Nonetheless, this court kept on proceeding accordingly. In 1986, the International Justice Court pronounced a verdict on this litigation: the Nicaraguanauthority was right and the court denounced publicly the pernicious political deeds of the USA. Although they rejected publicly the International Justice Court, the US government complied by taking away their maritime mines. The court ordered the US to stop mining the seaways and the seaports of this small Central American nation. While accepting this verdict and judgement, the USA decided to reduce their military help to the Contras. Moreover, the Congress decided to stop funding the Central Intelligence Agency after it was publicly revealed that they had mined the seaways of this small nations. Undeniably, the US government acted upon the whole juridical process undertaken by the Nicaraguan government; the verdict had two consequences: (1) it was the end of mining the seaways of Nicaragua and, (2) it was the beginning of the diminishing American influence on the Nicaraguan political dynamics. Ethically, it can be said that the American public authority had defied the international community and its norms and values. Well, the reaction of the world was enacted through the legal process of the International Justice Court. The international community refused to tolerate the bellicist attitude of the USA; it not only was an illegal act but, also, an immoral act! The international community retorted by the international law tribunal’s verdict in favor of the Nicaraguans. Evidently, this attitude was negative and unacceptable because it was not respecting the perfect ideal of peaceful interstate relations. The American internationalist Lynn Miller affirms that the representatives of the US government could not admit that the international community and the Nicaraguan government had a clear effect on US public policy16. This is an example of a success by legal public institutions and an ethical attitude; there was no coercive recourse to the unlawful American act. To this effect, we can now claim that the intellections of the political scientists, ethicists, the theologians and any specialist of the human sciences are not in vain. It is vital that the specialists of the human sciences could reflect and write on the moral aspects of the public policies of any society. The moral reflection is a necessity for the improvement of the livelihood of everyone, especially when it comes to the conducts of public policies.

Obviously, this last story has shown us that it is important to have good legal and democratic institutions to manage our political problems, althoughthe international institutions do not have any coercive mean to force out people and nations into respecting the legal or political decisions of the international institutions such as UN and its different courts. It is the only way to enforce the respect of our rights, laws, need of justice and to maintain our democratic existence! Indeed, these international institutions are there to represent men and women and they are able to judge the righteousness and the evilness of several political situations. The states and non-states agencies carry a cultural-moral weight and strength that we cannot allow ourselves to neglect without suffering the inopportune consequences.

Few international institutions today have the power to command […], but it does not follow that they are without any ability to persuade international actors, that they have no impact on the articulation and advancement of particular social values relevant to ordered international behavior. The extent of their ability to shape the international order varies with the situation. It is tested by the extent to which nation-states and other international actors act upon the directives expressed through the international institutions, directives to which the states themselves have contributed, of course.17

3. International Law and Morality

According to William P. George, an internationalist jurist, global problems are also moral18. For him, the works of theologians and lawyers of international law are fundamental because both promote a global ethic19. International law formalizes a kind of morality. International law would be the embodiment of an ethic of the international community. And as the philosopher Agnès Lejbowicz wrote, by having a right of the international community, that is to say a right of peace, development and the environment, Humanity sees itself as a legal subject20. And before being a legal subject, Humanity is a moral subject. For George, the origins of international law are theological. He quotes the names of Francisco de Vitoria (1485-1546), Francisco Suarez (1548-1617) and Hugo Grotius (1583-1645). These men were theologians who questioned the moral dimensions of humanity and its implications in social and political life. That is why George affirms that religion and law are distant cousins. Given that religion and international law evolve within societies, he strongly hopes that both areas will improve their mutual understanding while critiquing each other. Moreover, he believes that international law has always been closely linkedtoreligion through social discourses and ethics. It refers specifically to two themes that are dear to theologians, that is, human rights and the problems of war and peace. He also claims that the theological dimension of international law is not a subject to which legal actors or religiologistsare preoccupied with. For George, religions and theology are transmitters of values ​​that can influence the behavior of believers thus helping moral action and the development of an ethically intense discourse, be it descriptive or prescriptive21. According to him, there are six reasons for religion and international law to evolve together. (1) The first would be that theology and international law are both concerned with common themes and objectives. The central point is the recognition that the person must be treated humanely at all times. For George this implies irrevocable guidelines such as respect for life and the promotion of a culture of non-violence, solidarity and promotion of a fairer economic order for humans, as well as the promotion of an attitude of tolerance for others and a life based on truth, as well as the promotion of equal rights for all, and especially for men and women. According to George, lack of respect for these themes does not preclude the defense of these principles. He also attaches importance to ecology. We must respect life, even that which is not human. In fact, he believes in promoting the common heritage of humanity. He is aware that concretizing and institutionalizing these values ​​is not easy given the multicultural and potential aspect of the various societies on the planet. It is clear to him that the application of these principles in economic and political dynamics is not always self-evident. In order to concretize the application of these moral principles, George claims that we must resort to international law since the latter can be an effective tool for the promotion of a global ethic22. (2) The second reason is that international law is a transmitter of ideals. This type of right can help people transform their society by directly or indirectly conveying positive values ​​to members. Even though these values ​​are secularized, they can serve the common social goals of believers and unbelievers. George wants moralist theologians to be open to this aspect of international law even though they have the impression that legal professionals accord little importance to the moralistic discourses of religious people and theologians23. (3) The third reason claims that international law is a theme that can motivate theological research and the realization of moral ideals. For example, international humanitarian law is, in a way, the embodiment of the Judeo-Christian theological conception which affirms that the human being is in the image of God. Moreover, international law implicitly defends the notion of the common good24. (4) The fourth reason is that international law can become a meeting place for religion and science. International law concerns all aspects of civilization. Biology, physics, chemistry, medicine, famine, knowledge, technology, politics, religion and economics are all subjects of international law. These different themes are certainly addressed by theologians and philosophers since they are everyday realities of life in humanity. And all that is within the purview of human existence necessarily involves moral reflection and ethically acceptable action25. (5) The fifth reason is none other than the interest for the human being and his ontology. The fundamental contribution of the believer to Humanity and international law is his awareness of himself and others. The right to evolve needs the intelligence and judgment of the human being. He also needs his conviction to want to improve the lot of his neighbor. Let us not forget that international law involves the jurists, lawyers, judges, the military, diplomats, businessmen and heads of state. For George, it is clear that international law unquestionably concerns "all" Humanity. The central core of this right is not justice or the common good. Radically, the main subject of this right is the well-being of the person26. (6) George's sixth reason is his finding that international law requires religion to promote social values ​​across the planet. Religion is a vehicle of human values. Think of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa or the socio-economic injustice in South America. For George, religion inspires values ​​that can help develop new and more just laws. In addition, religion would be a pedagogy since it would make it possible to transmit to people in a simplified language the values ​​proposed by international law. Let us think about human rights, economic justice, and laws relating to war or ideas that lead to a peaceful social existence. Religion can help people in a multitude of ways to respect the rights and the common well-being of everyone in all societies. Finally, religion can be the mediator of respect for international law. The Holy See is very much involved in international diplomatic processes to defend human values ​​and respect for international law among all heads of state. In addition to them, there are political actors such as Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968) and statesmen such as Dag Hammarskjöld (1905-1961)27. For us, this vision from the jurist William George is not foolish for two reasons. First, René Coste is a moral theologian and a specialist in international law. He has always seen that religion is a vector of values ​​that can be used for the moral evolution of economic, political and legal dynamics. Secondly, Coste's theological thought is based on two major themes: ethics and Christian spirituality. However, Coste has developed a theological thought that allows believers to maintain their firm faith and to remain hopeful of the political and economic adversity they may face. Moreover, Coste challenges those who have lost faith or simply do not have it. Through his theological discourse, he transmits a great deal of ethical analysis that can be used to formulate a sound judgment on contemporary political and economic realities. Coste writes for all who want to hear what he has to say about socio-political problems.


4. Theology and contemporary geopolitical issues

To fully understand the reasons that lead us to write about contemporary political issues, we must remember that our thesis concerns the ethics of politics and economics. The theological thought of Father Coste concerns contemporary problems. This is not a thought about the political past of the West. It tackles the themes of the Cold War and the beginning of the 21st century. It is vital for us to expose the contemporary political reality since it is in this way that we can prove the positive contribution of René Coste's sociopolitical theology. For Christians, and especially for those who have suffered the pangs of European colonialism, this period of history is a somber one for their faith. Indeed, being a Catholic Christian is not an easy identity to assume. And it is also true for Orthodox or Protestant Christians. Being a Christian means being concerned about our immediate environment. This awareness leads us to see that we are sometimes dominated by social or occult forces. Social phenomena are often conditioned by political and economic power. Faced with the feeling of revolt that afflicts us, we no longer know how to fight or react to social or political injustices. How to respond to the violence of an economy that threatens the well-being of the middle class as well as the poor in the West or elsewhere? The awareness of the social reality of various societies sometimes leads us to despair. It is perhaps at this moment that Christian theology can challenge us. However, she has to tell us about the real problems. It must not be an ersatz to misery or serve as a narcotic for a sedation of the pain of the soul. Theology serves to sensitize believers to a reflection allowing them to better see the possibilities facilitating the transformation of their environment in order to have a healthier and more just society. Theology must challenge us to transcendence so that we are not limited only to the horizontal sight. However, even if theology promotes a certain metaphysics, it must be constantly interested in the problems of existence in Humanity; otherwise, it risks losing credibility in the eyes of believers and intellectuals. In our case, we want theology to be interested in physical and psychological violence. Because we must end violence, theology must continue to be concerned about politics and the economy. To be a Christian is not to flee the reality of Humanity to an afterworld that no one has ever seen. To have faith in Christ is to live this faith among men and women of all kinds and from all walks of life. If Coste's theology is of interest to us, it is because it speaks of subjects whose problematic for humanity we see. And for Coste, one of the great problems of Humanity is the dynamics of politics in the West and elsewhere.   Speaking of the political problems of humanity today requires that one does not stop only with one's own society. In fact, our society is influenced by external forces, which in turn are relaunched by social forces from our society. Micro-politics and macro-politics go together right now because the planet has become a gigantic village. For this reason, we see that politics, especially since the colonial era, has become more globalized. States and nations without states are intertwined and involved in the interstate political movement. None of the states are now isolated from each other, so no state is left out. No micro-political dynamic can isolate itself completely from macro-politics, and vice versa. The time has now come to talk about cosmopolitanism, since it implies the global nature of the phenomenon of internationalization of the entire known world; it shall be done without omitting the analysis of the internal politics of states or supra-state organizations, just as it won’t hide the impact and the role of the political dynamics of States on the international scene. Even Coste resorts to it when he speaks of "cosmopolitan" democracy28. We are not talking about cosmopolitanism by pure chance. Cosmopolitanism would now be a philosophical and political conception expressing the irrevocable phenomenological link between micro and macro-politics. Without a doubt, with the phenomenon of globalization this theme becomes important again in addition to having its etymology reworked and amplified. Moreover, for the German sociologist Ulrich Beck, cosmopolitanism is no longer just an ancient or modern philosophical conception. Already, cosmopolitanism is a reality. In fact, there is now an interdependence between societies, peoples and nation-states. Which implies de facto that the national vision cannot prevail unilaterally.The economic, political, cultural facts demonstrate this daily. Beck's cosmopolitics express an indisputable and irrevocable truth: many transnational elements such as citizens of the planet and a state, economy, culture, religions, as well as intra-state and supra-state institutions are now intertwined within planetary networks, and undoubtedly one day, they will be interplanetary! To this end, Ulrich Beck writes: "The globalization of politics, economic relations, law, culture, and communication and interaction networks spurs controversy; indeed, the shock generated by global risks. In this way, cosmopolitanism has ceased to be a controversial rational idea; in however distorted form, it has left the real of philosophical castles in the air and has entered reality”29. In the same vein, the Belgian-French sociologist Armand Mattelart reminds us that currently, citing Martinican Édouard Glissant (1928-2011), the world is one of general creolization.

This essayist [Glissant], poet and novelist forges his major concept of "creolization" of the contemporary world, the "All-World", starting from the matrix of the Baroque will, born in colonial America, cultural melting pot of culture. "The world is creolizing," he writes in his “Introduction to a Poetics of the Diverse (1996)”, that is to say that the cultures of the world put in contact, in a lightning way and absolutely conscious, today the ones with the others change themselves by exchangingthemselves through irreparable clashes, ruthless wars, but also advances of conscience and hope that allow one to say - without being utopian or, rather, accepting it - than today's humanities have a hard time abandoning something they have long been obsessed with, namely that the identity of a being is only valid and recognizable if it is exclusive of the identity of all other beings possible." In relation to the biomorphic expression of "hybridization" that is about to become a trunk-word, the concept of "creolization" has the great merit of showing its link to history. The long history of the social construction of multiple modernities.30

The other theme that is linked and which for us is very valuable is the notion of "geopolitics". Geopolitics, according to Gérard Dussouy, can enable us to better visualize international relations on a global scale and then facilitate the interpretation and understanding of current political events31. As a geographer concerned by politics, Dussouy reminds us of the geographical dimension of our political activity. We live on poor or rich soils, in land-based countries on continental land between waters on planet Earth. Here we are, Terrans who need to agree mutually with each other to survive because all the riches of nature are everywhere on Earth, hence the reasons for the development of imperialism. For Dussouy, it is henceforth legitimate to approach the study of the contemporary political (cosmopolitical) world by the notion of geopolitics32. Geopolitics is useful for political science and for other human sciences. It raises epistemological questions about disciplines dealing with topics related to globalization. It places importance on political analysis and geographical science. In other words, it deals with the relationship between space and politics. Dussouy makes us understand that the international actors and the thinkers of the evolution of the world socio-political relations must take into account the correlations between the societal, the economic and the geographical one. The policy encompasses these aspects. Adding geographic analysis is not the whim of a political chauvinist. Geography is vital to the understanding of the political phenomenon since the geographer helps political and other actors to understand the most dynamogenic planetary spaces. These spaces are those that make the international system evolve in one way or another, while promoting either stabilization (order) or disruption (chaos)33. What is interesting about geopolitics is that it encompasses all aspects of understanding the political phenomenon. It does not tend to compartmentalize the internal politics or the external policy of the States. Geopolitics connects all aspects of political dynamics. All dimensions of the micro and macro policy are now one34. Even the economy is treated as a phenomenon of social interaction but with clearly political ramifications. Dussouy, for example, argues that geoeconomics consists of a geopolitical analysis of economic forces, which would be crucial for contemporary reflection of the cosmopolitan dynamics of societal members and for all political, social, cultural or economic organizations.

Lynn H. Miller's book on geopolitical issues allows us to understand that current political issues are primarily moral debates. Moreover, the subtitle of his book speaks of values ​​and power. For him, humanity faces two great dangers. The first is the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the second is nothing more than repeated assaults against our biosphere. These dangers threaten the survival of the human species. Protecting the human being against itself means for Miller that we must promote tangible and serious values ​​to the four corners of the planet35. Miller's intellection commands action36. And spheres that we must act immediately is that of national and international security. Miller reminds us that the first security against the nuclear hecatomb was the mutual threat of mass death between the two superpowers of the Cold War. What is paradoxical in this story according to Miller, is that the two powerful became, in their interstate relations, politically impotent, because both of them see their leaders and their respective members become hostages to their nuclear weapons and their defense policies37. The fight against the sale of conventional weapons and nuclear proliferation must be promoted by the recognized public authorities. Clearly, the war is to be proscribed as much as possible. In his book, "War in European History," thepolemologist Michael E. Howard quotes the aphorism Reginald Allen Brown (1924-1989) which states that "the origins of Europe were hammered on the anvil of war"38. It is not wrong to say that History is a succession of violent events that have marked civilizations and the psyche of human beings. The Marxian aphorism that states that the engine of history is violence is not wrong either; it has a certain intellectual value since it is historical. As a matter of fact, the process is perpetuated. The current violence is made for nationalistic, economic, ethnic, imperialist and criminal reasons. Indeed, we cannot overshadow the role of mafia and terrorism in geopolitical violence39. Justice and human dignity are also on the agenda. We must work tirelessly to promote and respect human rights. The other major political problem is ecology. We must work to protect the environment. The other themes are the integration of all human communities into political life, while proposing and defending the ideal of peaceful change on both the international and national levels. It will be necessary to think of improving the real and political capacities of the United Nations to play its role of sociopolitical and peaceful structuring on the planet. International law must be an instrument for this honorable effort.


5. Contemporary Economic Issues

The current economic debate concerns the capitalist economy. When you read Michel Beaud's book on the history of capitalism, you will see that this economy has always provoked enthusiasm and disenchantment. It is true that Westerners have enriched themselves enormously through this economy. But what was the price? The massacre of the natives of the Americas, the slavery of Africans and many Europeans, as well as the enslavement of the farmers and the poor of Europe to the structures set up by the bourgeoisie. In other words, this economy has forced men and women to reflect on the moral consequences of societal development of people living within this economic regime. When one thinks of "capitalism", the ideas that come to mind are creation of the bourgeoisie, intense dynamism released by men and women of business, labor struggles, racism, sexism, pauperism and its correlation the wealth, the industry, technology, world wars, communist revolution, development of social and economic thought, economic and political imperialism, and finally democracy. Capitalism has forged our history and continues to do so. Hence, the need to reflect philosophically and theologically on the anthroposociological dimension of this economic phenomenon. The ethics of the economy can only be an ever changing intellection since the capitalist economy is not only good: it generates evils that can be characterized by the word violence. Many people are feeling the pinch of this economy right now. It is for this reason that we must elaborate on the reality and the stakes of this economy at the beginning of the 21st century.

For the economist and historian Michel Beaud, capitalism is at the heart of a crucial change. Beyond the ups and downs of US hegemony, are we not witnessing the beginning of the end of Western pre-eminence, with, in particular, after the advances of most Asian countries, the decisive ones in India? and China40? He calls this new capitalism "technoscientific41". It is understandable that there is talk of technology and science and that those who will be the elite will be somehow technocratic capitalists. It is clear to Beaud that capitalism imposes itself on a world scale. According to him, money relations and market relations become dominant in almost all societies on the planet. Monetary and financial globalization is insidiously creating a profound change in societies, radicalizing inequalities and contributing to the rise of "acrasy". This last term would mean the incapacity of the rulers to carry out an action to the height of the problems which we are confronted42. Beaud makes the observation that today the capitalist world sees various societies becoming more fragmented. Some disappear others appear in addition to seeing salaries fragment positively and negatively. There is an increasing economic precariousness that results in the long-term exclusion of human communities43. Despite the threat of economic danger, the 1990s saw the promotion of liberalism by political leaders, who were influenced by international financial institutions, academic teachers and the media. Beaud states that broad sectors of public opinion accept without resistance the idea that liberalism ensures growth and prosperity44. Westerners are increasingly facing the reality of unemployment. Economic inequality is increasing because of high and sustainable unemployment. Unemployment is generating exclusion of growing fragments of society. The flexibility and precariousness of employment has increased, first for the young and the unskilled, but also for many older workers45. Undoubtedly, Westerners are confronted with the globalization of the capitalist economy. "Globalization", according to Beaud, may be an interchangeable term to that of imperialism, world capitalism, or dependence, or to all the formulas expressing the march forward towards a united and happy humanity. This term is not neutral since it is used by technocratic capitalists to justify choices or to cover renunciations. In short, the term "globalization" has three meanings. First, it means that the capitalist phenomenon is evolving on a global scale. Secondly, it expresses the fact that this economy is in constant interaction and that the interdependencies of societies are multiplying all over the planet. And finally, new socio-economic and political realities are forming and unfolding in an organic way around the world46. Globalization is the result of constant evolution from the fifteenth century to the present day47. Globalization does not necessarily mean the end of social misery.

Beyond these dizzying differences in resources, the globalizing processes and the accentuation of interdependencies place regions, whole countries in difficult, sometimes unbearable situations. They also lead to affirmations of identity - national, regional, ethnic, religious - to fall back, to the multiplication of disparities. As capitalism is creative and destructive, globalization, while unifying, brings out the differences and creates new ones.48

For Beaud, policy makers are also economic decision-makers. He calls the US, Europe and Japan Triad and capitalist oligopoly. It is they who decide on the consumption for the next decade, directions of research and its applications, the structuring and dissemination of international exchanges, and therefore the consideration (or non-taking) of planetary environmental problems49. In competition with the West there is China and India. These two nation-states are billionaires in human beings. Both have a rich history and several social achievements. Both have been dominated, humiliated and aspire to get rid of the bitter taste that has remained. They know how to marry market and administration, centralization and capacities under strong state leadership and have been able to evolve, in appropriate forms decentralization, manufacturing skill and scientific knowledge, and, state and society. They have developed strong productive, capitalist entities whose importance is growing50. These two countries have not solved all the economic problems of their respective populations. Nevertheless, they control nuclear and space. Their students and researchers are present in all areas of the future. In India, information technology (IT) is making a lot of progress. Demographically, it can be said that one tenth of their population weighs more than a large country in Europe. Their growth rates are phenomenal enough to say that they will have a certain influence on the dynamism of the global economy. They have a huge domestic market that is likely to interest foreign business people or to allow a national withdrawal for a few decades. For all these reasons, except collapse or blockage always possible, these two countries will certainly be among the all world powers in the second third of this century51. It is now certain that the West will be in intense political and economic competition with these two states. The economic success of Asia could change the balance of power52. For Philippe Delmas, a French civil servant and an intellectual, the economic prosperity of Asia does not mean that there will be a greater political rapprochement53. China would be militarily a source of concern for its neighbors. Since 1988, it has increased its military spending. In December 1994, Australia described China in its "White Book on Defense" as the main risk to its security54. Without a doubt, China is the regional powerhouse of Southeast Asia. Besides all the countries of the zone want to trade with it. According to Delmas, the threat of violence is real especially that China does not participate in external interventions for peace. He writes that his only military interventions were warlike. It refers to the military conflict with India and Vietnam, or armed tensions with Taiwan and the Soviet Union. He calls China an extreme case of strategic egoism55. International economic competitiveness will not be easy. And will the West accept losing its first position peacefully? Like Delmas, we believe that interstate or intrastate violence remains a possibility.

The era of the world dominated by Europe is a thing of the past. Already Western leadership has become increasingly difficult to practice, except for small, weak countries. A new page is turning: with demographic and economic dynamics of Asia, with the demographic growth of Africa and Latin America, with the outbreaks of nationalism, particularism and fundamentalism, with also the collapse of nation-States and the multiplication of torn zones of endless clashes, with finally the migrations caused by these rifts and these excesses, Europe, the West must not be prepared to harvest the storm that they have sown conquering the world to bring him Christian faith, progress, civilization? Storm of which we have, until now, only felt the first squalls.56

Unfortunately, political and economic power, as well as the quest for natural resources, will remain a fundamental challenge for the future of humanity. If politics is to be analyzed geopolitically, one can just as easily claim that the economy will be scrutinized geoeconomically. Faced with all these problems, it is not surprising that René Coste speaks of geogovernance. This last term means that all Humanity has the duty to responsibly manage the planet Earth. In other words, it is about an ethic of responsibility and solidarity towards all human beings. Let's have no illusions, socio-economic underdevelopment is the result of "inhumane" management of global resources. Economic growth generates the resources necessary for progress57. Economic growth for all is part of the dynamic for justice and national and international peace58. Faithful to the Catholic encyclicals, R. Coste does not propose a system but rather enunciates moral criteria for an "economy of peace59". For the French theologian, we need to establish an economic system that promotes the positive development of peoples. Our collective well-being must surely be based on a healthy and positive economy. And as the Trinity, Humanity - despite its cultural and / or other differences - must end up as one. There is only one God for all and he is the "Great Witness" of our individual and collective existence. To admit that we are all children of God, it means from the outset that we must act for the global common good. Coste writes that "trust in God is the rock of the spirituality of peace60". The love of neighbor requires that we question ourselves about the socio-economic and socio-political realities of our humanity. It is in the name of divine peace that we must not despair. Not to submit our psychology to despair is a prohibition that every Christian must maintain, support and promote because those who believe in Christ will be confronted with a system of immeasurable power. Indeed, the problem of capitalism is not the system as such; it is rather the human and his psychology of immoderate desire that are at the source of the problem. Our anthropology shows that we have desires related to our survival and for this reason we value individual and collective enrichment. Often, the economic practices of different peoples, social classes or individuals do not meet moral criteria favoring the well-being of everyone. The problem of capitalism is that it is based on an ideology that can be summarized by the following aphorism: "everything for them, nothing for others!" Moreover to this effect, the French historian and economist Michel Beaud strongly argues that it is the capitalist economy that dominates societies. Instead of being the society that manages the economy, it is this last one that manages society. Social relations are embedded in the economic system. As this economy is the source and matrix of the social system, capitalism reduces human and social relations to money relations. Economic arguments take precedence over ethical or political discourses. Our ways of thinking, our judgments and our decisions are molded or strongly influenced by capitalism. The hold of capitalism is such that the improvement of our living conditions, the raising of standards of living, our existence and our happiness now seem to depend on economic growth alone. And this growth categorically threatens our environment and this up to the reproduction process of our biosphere61. Currently, the Earth is in danger. The effects of human activity are deeply degrading, and threatening to destroy the fragile physicochemical balance that has allowed the evolution of life on our planet62. In summary, Beaud warns us against the totalitarianism of a market dominated by a few large firms as well as against the gradual worldwide introduction of an "apartheid" of money63.


 6. Conclusion

All theology is a geopolitism because this theology exists and evolves in the ambient reality of life on Earth. The historical fabric of human beings is daily and for the most part, the size of the blue planet. Although we go into space, it remains that our evolution takes place in the terrestrial environment. However, we recognize that Humanity extends its geographical boundary to the outer reaches of space. Undeniably, our intelligence and our economic needs push us towards new horizons. 

Until now, political questions have always their place in the reflection on the future of humanity. The management of our individual and collective existence requires this type of reflection. As for theological understanding, it includes politics. Note that Christians are not completely secularized. Many Christians believe that theological discourse on the themes of socio-political and scientific ethics must take place. What is proposed to them is a "cosmopolitical" theology, that is to say a Christian theology that takes into account national and international realities, in addition to being dedicated to the well-being of humanity. This planetary theology must assume a multicultural and scientific identity. Its scientificity is based on political, sociological and other studies since peace requires analysis, as well as a rich and profound understanding. The first reason for resorting to science, philosophy and theology stems from the need to act socially and / or internationally. For the French philosopher Julien Freund (1921-1993), the goal of politics is not to theorize about itself; politics is above all "action64".

"Cosmopolitical" theology is vital because it allows Christians in the 21st century to think Christianly about the problems and possible projects for this century. And like all theology, it is also based on theological values, that is to say, to believe, to love, to hope. To tell the truth, the ultimate goal of the latter is the divine salvation as well as the real improvement of the conditions of existence of all societies. This involves theological reflection on geography, politics, economics, anthropology, sociology, technology, religion, education and law (whether national or international). Given the global challenges, we need to develop a theology that fits into the various human sciences, thus enabling Christians to better understand their social, economic and political environment. It is because it relies on geogovernance that cosmopolitan theology becomes vital to Christian reflection on the world. There are at least 2.1 billion Christians in the world. This number justifies the need for theological reflection and more specifically cosmopolitan theology. According to the British religiologist Philip Jenkins, Christianity is growing. However, this growth is mainly in Asia, Africa and Latin America. What Jenkins clearly anticipates is that there is already another form of Christianity in the world, and that this new form will have a definite influence on the social and political evolution of many societies around the world. Jenkins believes that the most dramatic social phenomenon of recent decades is that of religion. Secularization has not yet succeeded in completely imposing itself on the religious attitude of human beings65. Jenkins reminds us that there is nothing more wrong than to say that Christianity is primarily a Western religion. This thought is erased historically since Christianity has evolved also and enormously outside of ancient Palestine and Europe. We forget that many Christian communities in the East were annihilated by the fight with Muslims. In fact, survivors often had to convert to Islam66. In fact, Jenkins claims that the West has never had a monopoly on the Christian faith67. It would be historically and scientifically illegitimate to say that Christianity is a Western phenomenon. As in the first millennium of the Christian era, the Christian religion will remain a transcontinental and dynamic phenomenon68. For Jenkins, what characterizes Christianity at the beginning of the 21st century is the fact that it is a very dynamic and southern phenomenon. Already today, the most numerous Christian communities are those of Africa and Latin America. Whatever Europeans and North Americans may think, Christianity is evolving very well in the South of the planet. There are two billion Christians in the world, which means 1/3 of the total population of the planet. Europe would have 560 million, Latin America 480 million, Africa 360 million, Asia 313 million and North America 260 million. Due to a high birth rate, Jenkins predicts that by 2025 there will be nearly 2.6 billion Christians on the planet. Which means that Africa will have "633" millions of Christians, Latin America "640" millions and Asia "460" millions. Given its low birth rate, Europe will move to a third position with its 560 million Christians. If for a long time Christians were conceived of as Europeans, this false conception will become even more obsolete in the future. Precisely, the era of Western Christianity and preponderant seems to be over. From now on, it is southern Christianity which asserts itself a little more69

Christians have to understand and explain the world in which they live, and this must be done theologically in order to strengthen the faith inclined to the prevarications of the Evil One. The problem of politico-economic violence persists and many people are helpless. Instant death watches for them. Being a Christian does not mean that they must rest on their laurels. Being a Christian implies that they are peacemakers and therefore they have to act for the establishment of permanent peace as much as possible. This is the Christian diakonia!

It is because the essence of the Kingdom of God is peace that the faithful to Christ must promote it. Let us not forget that peace implies two fundamental Christian moral values: love of neighbor and justice. Primarily, but not only, they have to worry about the poor70. Cosmopolitan theology deals with the harsh realities of earthly existence. Newspapers daily discuss nuclear proliferation, ecological crises, famine, social and political violence. Moreover, this cosmopolitan theology cannot exist without promoting a universal ethic since it is a planetary theology that involves all human beings, regardless of their sociological characteristics. Also, international law has a great place in the promotion of a common international morality. No one will be surprised by the reiteration of many citizens of the Earth to International Humanitarian Law and the Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. Today, we know that to attack the life of a citizen of Earth is now seen as a crime against humanity, even if it is a state that does it. The Earth is currently a village and it needs legalism to preserve the common peace. Social, economic and political violence is still a threat to the collective well-being of people. Theology and international law are certainly intellectual, conceptual, religious, moral and legal instruments facilitating respect for life by promoting a common standard for all. And all are called to reflect on their collective future as well as to emit positive and optimistic ideas about the collective future and the "art of living together".

In short, planetary theology has a new nomenclature, that is to say that of cosmopolitan theology. It is a religious intellection based on all the human sciences and all the natural sciences. Christian theology is meant to be scientific because it seeks to have the confidence of the scientific, that is to say that it considers that there is a rich and serious discourse in contemporary theology, in others words, it is based on rationality. Cosmopolitan theology consists in offering a reflection to all Christians and especially to those who have or will have to govern in governments or business enterprises. The culture of retaliation cannot be the foundation of collective security. The love of neighbor and sharing, as well as diplomacy are the elements for a healthy change in international politics. Sincere peacemakers (Mt. 5: 9) can rely on a strong and critical understanding of human behavior in society to better see individual or common peaceful projects, with the goal of improving the conciliating conditions ofexistence of everyone. It is in the name of love, justice, equality and non-violence among peoples that Christians are called to establish other lasting processes of peace or to improve existing ones. In the end, cosmopolitan theology is one of communication because it tries to communicate views, ideas and values ​​to all those who will enjoy listening, understanding and interacting with it!


Notes and References

  1. Sophie Bessis, L’Occident et les autres: histoire d’une suprématie. Paris, La Découverte, 2001, 3.
  2. Ibid., 335.
  3. Sophie Bessis, Western Supremacy : Triumph of an Idea, London & New York, Zed Books, 2003, 5.
  4. Paul Valadier, Agir en Politique, Paris, Cerf, 1980, 90-92.
  5. Ibid.,95.
  6. Ibid.,93.
  7. Ibid., 91
  8. Bessis, op.cit., 335-336
  9. Ibid., 108.
  10. Ibid., 170-171.
  11. Ibid., 199-200.
  12. Marvyn Frost, Ethics in International Relations, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1996, ix.
  13. Pierre Hassner, “Y-a-t-il une Éthique des Relations Internationales”, La Terreur et l’Empire, Paris , Seuil, 2003, 363.
  14. Ibid., 369
  15. Ibid., 374.
  16. Lynn H. Miller, Global Order, Boulder, Westview Press, 1994, 85-86.
  17. Ibid., 84.
  18. William P.George, “Looking For A Global Ethic? Try International Law”, Religion and International Law, The Hague, MartinusNijhoff Publisher/Kluwer Law International, 1999, p. 483.
  19. Ibid., 484.
  20. AgnesLejbowicz, Philosophie du Droit International, Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 1999, p.159.
  21. George, Loc.cit., 484-485.
  22. Ibid., 486-488.
  23. Ibid., 488-491.
  24. Ibid., 491-492
  25. Ibid., 492-494.
  26. Ibid., 494-495.
  27. Ibid., 495-496.
  28. Rene Coste, Les Dimensions Sociales de la Foi, Paris, Cerf, 2000, p.331.
  29. Ulrich Beck, Cosmopolitan Vision, Malden Polity, 2006, p.2.
  30. Édouard Glissant, Introduction à une poétique du Divers, Paris, Gallimard, 1996, p.15; by, André Mattelart, in, Histoire de l’Utopie Planétaire: de la Société Prophétique à la Société Globale, Paris La Découverte, 1999, p.377.
  31. Gerard Dussouy, Quelle Géopolitique pour le XXIe Siècle, Paris, Ed. Complexe, 2001, p.29.
  32. J.-L. Vullierme, Le Concept de Système Politique, Paris, Presses universitaires de France, 1989, p.442; by, G. Dussouy, in, op.cit., 35.
  33. Ibid., 27.
  34. Ibid., 35.
  35. Miller, op.cit., 230-231
  36. Ibidem.
  37. Ibidem.
  38. “It is worth reflecting that the origins of Europe were hammered out on the anvil of war, […], “ R.A. Brown, The Origins of Modern Europe, London, 1972, p.93; by, Michael Howard, in, La Guerre dans l’Histoire de l’Occident, Paris, Fayard, 1998, p.7.
  39. Jean-Louis Dufour et Maurice Vaïsse, La Guerre au XXe Siècle, Paris, Hachette, 1993, p.224.
  40. Michel Beaud, Histoire du Capitalisme, Paris, Seuil, 2001, p.348
  41. Ibid., 349.
  42. Ibidem.
  43. Ibid., 353.
  44. Ibid., 363.
  45. Ibid., 364.
  46. Ibid., 368.
  47. Ibid., 369.
  48. Ibid,. 373.
  49. Ibid., 379.
  50. Ibid., 380.
  51. Ibid., 380-381.
  52. Philippe Delmas, Le Bel Avenir de la Guerre, Paris, Gallimard, 1995, 93.
  53. Ibid., 100.
  54. Ibid., 193-194.
  55. Ibid., 260.
  56. Beaud, op.cit., 382.
  57. Rene Coste, Théologie de la Paix, Paris, Cerf, 1998, p.326.
  58. Ibid., 322.
  59. Ibid., 329-331
  60. Ibid., 408.
  61. Beaud, op.cit., 385-387
  62. Ibid., 389.
  63. Ibid., 408.
  64. Julien Freund, Qu’est-ce que la Politique?, Paris, 1965, p.5.
  65. Philip Jenkins, The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2002, p.1.
  66. Ibid., 18-27.
  67. Ibid., 16.
  68. Ibid., 38.
  69. Ibid., 2-3.
  70. Rene Coste, Les Fondements de la Théologie Sociale, Paris, Cerf, 2002, p.232.



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Enrico L. Joseph
Specialist on contextual theologies and on ethics of economics and politics