Journal of Theology for Southern Africa 123 (November 2005) 61-73

ETSI DEUS NON DARETUR?
META-CHRISTIAN VALUES IN A POSTDEMOCRATIC WORLD
Cornel du Toit
ABSTRACT
This article, in honour of John de Gruchy, takes up two prominent themes in his work namely the Bonhoeffer legacy and the challenge it poses to civil society in a South African context. Bonhoeffer's imperative to take up your responsibility and act as if God is not a given, is related to the challenges posed to a post-democratic and global society. In the past democratic values coincided with those of a relatively homogenous civil society. This has changed in a post-democratic world where smaller interest groups and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's) have to fight for values promoting a common good. A major cause of the post-democratic era is the demise of the welfare state in the West and the concurrent rise of multinational societies taking over many of the roles previously played by the state. Since they are not democratically elected to govern as in the case of political leaders and have in a sense become untouchable, the burden on civil society increases to address the challenges posed by this new state of affairs. Civil society and NGO's in South Africa are discussed. New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) offers the promise of leading African societies into taking up their responsibility to change their fate. Attention is given to the options open to act on a global scale in order to change local needs.

Introduction: What it means Today to Live "as if God does not exist"
Today, more than ever before, we can claim that humans have come of age. We can speak on our own behalf about our past and take responsibility for our future. More than ever before we have come to understand the history of the formation of our universe,1 how our delicate planet evolved and how human beings with their diversity of languages, cultures and religions emerged. This understanding has made us realise how important it is to care for this planet and preserve its
1

We can now substantiate Bonhoeffer's belief that "an infinite universe, however it may be conceived, is self-subsisting, etsi Deus non daretur". Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Letters and Papers from Prison. (London: SCM, 1967) 360.

Prof C W du Toit is head of the Research Institute for Theology and Religion at the University of South Africa. <dtoitcw@unisa.ac.za>

Yet even with all these developments humans have not become less religious. altering the nature and dynamics of national political systems themselves'. evidenced by the will of so many people to believe. All this casts doubt on the notion that humankind has come of age. illness and local wars have never assumed such vast dimensions. Many have come to celebrate spiritual diversity. despite the 'closed' view of physics and the virtual impossibility of devising a theory of everything. agricultural and other technologies to deal with poverty and disease. Secular. Human responsibility can no longer be limited to the individual or restricted to the societal. and religious fundamentalism and the threat of religious wars have never loomed so large as they do today.2 In future. Bonhoeffer envisaged responsible. Global markets determine local circumstances. but not atheistic. "Theological reflections on the task of the church in the démocratisation of Africa" in P. de Gruchy. acknowledging that there is truth and power in different religions and various ethical systems. Gifford (ed. quoting Held. At the same time we have to acknowledge that the integrity of our planet has never been in such jeopardy. . We have become societies at risk. poverty. autonomous handling of life's problems as if God does not exist. especially in the economic realm. We have outgrown the urge to make different cultures and religions conform to our own and we appreciate the importance and power of diversity for the continued cultural evolution of the human race. (Leiden: Brill. Civil society can no longer be viewed as distinct from global society. yes. Even the most hard-core biologists and physicists participate in a vibrant science-religion debate and concede that. are the order of the day. The fate of national governments is increasingly determined by global forces.). 1995) 59. the focus of démocratisation will be ecumenical . We have acquired conflict resolution skills and have access to information and communication technology which goes a long way in helping to obviate war and ethnic and other conflict. This presupposes a sphere of human interaction in which Christian altruistic values like selfless love 2 In the words of de Gruchy. Never before have we accumulated so much wealth and so many medical. In spite of our understanding of the physical and cultural evolution of religion we still see a lot of purpose in it.which is not primarily about the church but about a just world order. therefore. the possibility of God's existence cannot and should not be ruled out. The Christian Churches and the Démocratisation ofAfrica. We are living in a world where grave injustices. But how do we perform this duty and shoulder our responsibility as world citizens? In insisting on religions' this-worldliness. threatened by faceless minorities who are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for their cause in September 11 style catastrophes.62 du Toit environmental and ecological integrity intact. "The globalisation of democracy has now become essential because 'global interconnectedness' has created 'chains of interlocking political decisions and outcomes between states and their citizens." John W.

Governments are in charge of international relations. He says: "Karl Barth and the Confessing Church have encouraged us to entrench ourselves persistently behind the 'faith of the church'. We know from the South African liberation experience how most white mainline churches toed the line of the political powers of the day. 4 5 . "It is easy to be against. John W. Desmond Tutu. is totally different from that for Europe's secularist programme. while it may include the church. But we do not have the leverage. is easier said than done. the experience or the will to try and save the world or to deal with global problems. Africans are still very religious and make no separation between religion and politics. That is why the air is not quite fresh. The Christian Churches." It seems easier to mobilise civil society against a common threat than to unite it for the common good. It means that the fate of other civil societies. and evade the honest question as to what we ourselves really believe. 1995b) 221. however. as it comes of age. since we share the same fate. The Western secularist model does not fit the African context. like the Roman Catholics.Etsi Deus Non Daretur? Meta-Christian Values in a Post-Democratic World 63 and sacrifice function as guidelines for conduct. There are no established channels through which ordinary citizens can voice their opinions or act on this scale. Christianity and Democracy: a Theology for a Just World Order. The agenda for Africa. Shouldering our responsibility as if God is not a given today means that local civil and national interests. we have to look much further than the church. nor the allegedly untouchable nature of the market should be an excuse for shirking that responsibility. 95-97. too." Bonhoeffer. But when foreign or local governments are coerced to accept trade regulations to the detriment of some of their citizens. "Identity Crisis" in Gifford. When it comes to global issues. de Gruchy. Bonhoeffer's remark that "we cannot. Taking responsibility in an increasingly complex world.. must be safeguarded on an international level. nations and states is our concern because our fortunes are interconnected.3 Civil society. nor the sinful human condition. (Cape Town: David Philip.5 3 Bonhoeffer was keenly aware of the temptation to hide behind church declarations without expressing our real beliefs. We also know that since 1994 most mainline churches have played a minimal role in rebuilding democracy and reconstructing civil society. To help us deal with the global problems of civil society today. Responsibility has become universal responsibility. 382. is not limited to it. even in the Confessing Church. churches usually work through their representatives in the designated forums. leaving their members inactive. Neither the existence of God. Letters and Papers. simply identify ourselves with the church" is still very relevant. What does it mean for formerly oppressed black citizens to come of age and shoulder their responsibility? As Desmond Tutu4 puts it. It is not nearly so easy to be clear about what we are for. then those citizens should act as ifgovernment is not a given. In this regard.

like human rights. Democracy has become the cardinal manifestation of the universalisation of human values. with its associated economic and social policies. These changes have assumed global dimensions. De Gruchy mentions that the churches of those countries which opposed Nazism regarded World War II as a struggle for democracy.9 But democracy does not automatically bring employment and wealth. This was apparent in the recent war in Iraq. 7 8 9 . democracy is a relatively recent form of governance. are ensconced and protected. Religion as Social Transformation in Southern Africa. It must be remembered that civil society is composed of many diverse elements. In spite of its ancient Greek roots. "The quest for African identity and the concept of nation-building as motives in the reconstruction of South African society" in TG Walsh & F Kaufmann (eds). Democracy and wealth may be synonymous in established andrichdemocracies in the West. so the establishment of a true democracy justified the war in Iraq. Christianity and Democracy.6 Questions about what it means to be responsible in Africa today. and is divided between supporters of different and opposing social and political programmes. 6 Cornel W. It was only after World War Π that most European political systems conformed to the generalised democratic model. In a constitutional democracy the basic values guiding civil society. influencing the values of every one of us. 1999) 9-11. It is not inherently egalitarian but rather a reflection of divisions that exist in society itself. about African values and African civil society cannot be answered without due regard to Africa's past of exploitation. Just as the importance of conveying the true gospel to "heathen" justified colonialist wars.7 Today democracy is considered the only political model that ensures economic growth. If democracy is the ultimate value determining all other values.8 guarantees human rights and represents the people.64 du Toit The main question facing post-colonial Africa as it comes of age is one of identity (Du Toit 1999:9-11). and expertise accumulated over many years in the West.especially in Africa. its present poverty and constraints on competing at a global level. It is seen as the cornerstone of all values of importance to society. That is why we speak of universal human rights. wealth. What makes these "missionary" enterprises suspect is the incidental and circumstantial targeting of offenders. minority rights and religious rights. and environmental rights and the like. which was justified by the mission to establish a true Iraqi "democracy". Du Toit. but emerging democracies lack the resources. then it must be critically considered . 126 The establishment of a 'new' democracy does not automatically provide economic growth. Minnesota : Paragon House. Ultimate Values Encapsulated in Democracy Cultural and technological changes inevitably bring new values that change human interaction. To understand our global connectedness we need to trace the evolution of democracy and changes in democratic values that have led to our present situation. (St Paul.

Etsi Deus Non Daretur? Meta-Chrìstian Values in a Post-Democratic World 65 Present-day democracy. Because of the link between economic growth and democracy. poverty and economic injustices.seldom the owners of big capital. democratic politics is a drag on economic efficiency. Tycoons are far more untouchable than political leaders. trade regulations. ownership and free enterprise) and a productive economic environment keeps democracy alive (by generating income for the state). 1992) 205 11 De Gruchy.12 The Evolving Nature of Democracy De Gruchy13 distinguishes between democracy as a system and the democratic vision. the state is held responsible . and are not accountable for their deeds or the values they hold. a society in which all people are truly free. In this regard John Dewey pointed out that democracy does not amount to much if it does not mean a "democracy of wealth". If anything. secure economic growth and pay large taxes to government. Christianity and Democracy. Christianity and Democracy. with its economie substructure (see Marx). according to him. 7. entails a whole gamut of market principles. hence the vast gulf between rich and poor has been bridged. a society which is truly just. The End of History and the Last Man (London: Penguin. Christianity and Democracy. countries were forced to institute multiparty systems to qualify for Western development aid. 24. in the belief that multiparty democracies would create wealth. It is difficult for civil society to criticise them. we all live according to the same principles of profit making and free enterprise that vouchsafe them their money. Yet few values ensuring economic justice and equality have been formulated and multinational corporations cannot be forced to embrace them. They have no fear of not being re-elected. It could only be realised through a 10 There are those that elevate the market to an ultimate principle rendering democracy superfluous.10 Democracy safeguards the economic environment (security and peace. 179. The market justifies its hegemony because in the past alternatives to it proved to be economically devastating. Besides. 12 De Gruchy. property values and employment principles. are not answerable to public opinion. Even if this vision could be realised. it may change little in many countries around the world because of poor economic conditions. The democratic vision entails a society in which all people are truly equal. democracy came to be accepted as a precondition for economic viability. When there is unemployment.11 In the long run democratic societies won't survive unless they eliminate extreme inequality and poverty. In Africa. since they are the ones who provide employment. The challenge is to rethink the system that has made these vast economic inequalities possible. 13 De Gruchy. . as in Eastern Europe. Francis Fukuyama finds no economic rationale for democracy. yet difference is respected. yet social responsibility rather than individual self-interest prevails.

and trade reform. Diversification of values inevitably means that more and more minority groups will find that their specific moral preferences are not respected by the state. To quote de Gruchy:14 "Democracy is rather an ongoing quest for justice. A vital democracy must be dynamic to try and improve on proven past failures. These changes are so influential that one could speak of a transition from democracy to what may be called postdemocracy. 38. be precisely the same as democracy today or in the past. and therefore one whose success is contingent upon development of moral people who are able to participate fully in the body politic. the best of imperfect systems of governance. 15 De Gruchy. even volatile. rather than simply a means to protect self-interest. For many of these minority groups the democratic system has lost its legitimacy.. the autonomy of the state. A major cause of the post-democratic era is the demise of the welfare state in the West.. it is an open and evolving system. at most. non-negotiable Western value. Christianity and Democracy. Traditional democratic values include national sovereignty. In the past democratic values coincided with those of a relatively homogeneous civil society. cultural and religious backgrounds. global economic restructuring which deals with issues like debt relief. Democracy is. Theyfindthemselves in a post-democratic world. Although democracy may be considered the ultimate. Because of the close link between democracy and the economy this means that economic models and conditions are open. Changes in democracy globally can be attributed to changes in economic relations. Changes in democratic forms of rule will impact on the economic system and vice versa.66 du Toit fundamental. regardless of differing historical. . It is not some timeless value that can simply be applied in all contexts. Liberal democracies in highly industrialised countries are themselves 14 De Gruchy. critically complementary and essential to representative government and the state. On a moral level some religious interest groups who oppose abortion (pro-life) or support the death penalty (anti-life) experience that their values are not endorsed by their democratic dispensation. 21. Christianity and Democracy." Accordingly de Gruchy15 reminds us that democracy tomorrow will not. and representative democracy. Thus participatory democracy becomes a way of life. even distribution of technology and wealth. The Post-democratic Era By post-democracy we mean that the terms on which democracies are operating in an increasingly globalised world are changing so rapidly that the values usually identified with democracy are threatened. and cannot.

The nation-state is not dead. NK Mugambi. one which enforces decisions and outcomes generated by world markets. "Trading as an aspect of toxic waste dumping" in Bulletinfor Contextual Theology in Africa.) 122-123. sanitation. social services) to the promotion of enterprise. but through investment by private companies.D. The state was assumed to be responsible for its citizens access to basic social services such as health.Etsi Deus Non Daretur? Meta-Christian Values in a Post-Democratic World 61 undergoing a process of transformation. public education and affordable public transport. 86 18 R. 2002. water supply. 133 17 Jesse. The USA's new African foreign policy. Germain (ed). "Globalization in perspective" in Germain. Technological developments and rapid advances in communication technology have transformed the economic world. housing.J.17 State welfare as the social dimension of capitalist states became less of an issue.16 The USA's African foreign policy has changed in keeping with the new approach in the West. innovation and profitability in the private and public sectors is likely to have devastating effects for poorer countries. and to highlight patterns that underlie (and explain) them. Privatisation and the commodification of public services spell the end of welfare as we know it. 245 . A somewhat undemocratic state is emerging. Globalizations. manifested in the diminishing role of the welfare state. Economic globalism now involves long-distance flows of goods.18 Basically the term "globalism" simply describes and explains a world characterised by vast networks of intercontinental connections. The positive and negative ramifications of globalism affect all 16 RG Cerny. 8(2&3). because they have only a limited capacity to insulate their national economies against the global economy. The industrial welfare states are in crisis. Globalization and its Critics (Sheffield: Palgrave. As a result donor aid to Africa (which can be seen as another dimension of the welfare state) made way for free market principles. Economic globalisation can be singled out as one of the main vehicles in the transition to a post-democratic form of government. but its role has changed. is marked by a switch from donor funds to investment funds. This is why the end of the cold war coincided with the end of the welfare state. The four decades between 1950 and 1990 were the era of the welfare state in the North Atlantic countries. The shift away from general maximisation of welfare in a nation (employment. formulated in the Clinton era. Foreign aid will no longer come to Africa in the form of donations. Barry Jones. The "welfare" state did not evolve from altruism: it was a response to socialism. It is meant to encapsulate all the interconnections of the modern world. "Restructuring the political arena: globalization and the paradoxes of the competition state. given the proven failure of socialism in the Soviet Union. Increasingly citizens will have to live without the kind of public services and redistributive arrangements typical of the industrial welfare state. in R. 2000. services and capital and the information and perceptions that accompany market exchange. Globalism is a relatively recent phenomenon and is not yet fully developed.

20 The entire social realm is mobilised as a competitive unit. undifferentiated and shared space. The state is no longer seen as the political voice of the people but as a provider of means of accumulation. "The challenge of pluralism and globalization to ethical reflection" in K. become much more complex. as a twofold process of particularisation of the universal and universalisation of the particular. The division between private and public becomes blurred in the new territorial space. it should not be limited to this. 158 21 Reinhold Niebuhr. Although the debate focuses sharply on the impact of globalisation on markets and states. however. Competitive goals define the division of labour. see C. Humanity's coming of age means that no authoritative system . since it involves action in the local as well as in the global sphere. it should not be seen as an irreversible or unalterable deterministic process. Acting responsibly has. & J. in Germain. where the principles of the internal market are decisive. religious. "Rethinking globalisation after September 11 : paradoxes in the evolution of globalisation" in Cornel W. States compete with each other for corporate citizens by offering favourable legislation packages. Moral Man and Immoral Society (New York: Charles Scribners 1960) 31 . Globalization. Here Niebuhr's21 admonition is still applicable: "An irrational society accepts injustice because it does not analyse the pretensions made by the powerful and privileged groups of society. Α. A. War and Peace (Pretoria: University of South Africa. Schüssler Fiorenza.19 The rhetoric of globalism ranges from conspiracy theories to optimism about the globalisation process. Mieth (eds). In Search of Universal Values (London: SCM 2001) 72. ideological or some form of government . From a negative perspective economic globalism is seen as neo-colonialism and economic imperialism. in reverence. Conversely. states search aggressively for those corporate personalities whose presence will be to their advantage. Since all countries are the same. While globalism is the product of economic evolution. Lubbe (eds). as opposed to a deus ex machina attitude of waiting for the miraculous to save us. "Recasting political authority: globalization and the state". individuals and companies simply choose their territory of residence and business. artificially divided into national spaces. Palan. Du Toit. Kuschel & D.68 du Toit countries. After September 11: Globalisation. 2002) 69-71 20 R.W. 19 Globalisation is seen by Robertson (quoted in E.be it economic.should be accepted uncritically." But how could global economic injustices be dealt with responsibly? Democracy and a Global Civil Society The etsi Deus non-daretur metaphor protests against a "God of the gaps" theology. Du Toit.J. Geographic location thus becomes immaterial and the globe is seen as a common. Genie J. Even that portion of society which suffers most from injustice may hold the power [read: market mechanisms] responsible for it. For paradoxes pertaining to globalisation.

apartheid. In South Africa civil society is so preoccupied with its identity. In Search of Universal Values. While the sectors of civil society that were active during the apartheid struggle were predominantly white. lack of empowerment. These values may overlap those propagated by Christian institutions like the World Council of Churches or ecumenical bodies like the Parliament of the World's Religions.26 With the end of apartheid and 22 Examples of powerful global movements already in place include the World Social Forum. (Duchrow. designed for political action. 25 De Gruchy. 23 It must be noted that there is no secular moral consensus.Etsi Deus Non Daretur? Meta-Christian Values in a Post-Democratic World 69 By joining forces a massive.25 de Gruchy mentions four cornerstones of South African civil society: the tradition of ubuntu. (Kairos Europa: Utrecht. D. including colonialism. non-profit or global civil society has acquired greater leverage to deal with global issues. 26 Franklin Sonn. the picture changed after 1994 when a growing number of non-racial NGO's.24 Although Africa. South African ambassador in the US. in the course of the Enlightenment and secularisation. and in particular South Africa. became detached from the authoritative precepts of a morality grounded in church and religion. a non-profit sector and a voluntary sector were formed to assist civil society in dealing with societal issues. . but are not necessarily the same. Alternatives to global capitalism: drawn from biblical history. 219-220.23 It is meta-Christian values that co-determine and influence global decision making. including the church. or co-opted into structures of homeland rule. sounds a pessimistic note in this regard when he says: "The biggest concern that intellectuals in South Africa have at the moment is the survival of democracy. traditional hierarchical structures. A new culture of civil society is now emerging. Under apartheid African indigenous social structures were marginalised and destroyed. It articulated the basic moral values of Western bourgeois culture which. is influenced by economic globalisation. 24 It is noteworthy that a group like Kairoseuropa judges the injustices caused by economic globalisation with its detrimental effects on Africa so harshly that it constitutes a status confessionis. it lacks the means to participate meaningfully on a global scale. In this regard Konrad Raiser ("Global order and global ethic" in Kuschel & Mieth. Christianity and Democracy. U. 20 says that the Universal Declaration on Human Rights was presumably understood by its authors to express such a basic moral consensus. CIVICUS and the CivWorld Campaign. Transparency International.22 Although a global civil society may share some common values. 1995). If we turn our attention to the South African context. superstition and fear. these values are secular and can no longer be said to express the concerns of any specific religious tradition. and the democratic tradition and practice in religious communities. In spite of this African churches produced many leaders who spearheaded the liberation struggle. Shouldering responsibility in Africa has been hampered by many factors. UNO with its various institutions. place and function that involvement in global citizenship is limited. 203-210. the liberal democratic tradition. the democratic experience in the liberation struggle. Meanwhile progressive individualisation of living conditions and the overwhelming power of utilitarian thinking have eroded this moral consensus as well.

2001)16. rather than as (potentially) contradicting. The result was a deteriorating funding environment for NGO's. 27 Recent debates about the role of state among the ANC and its alliance partners . human capacity building. youth groups. Alliance partners sometime make concessions to the reality of the state's limited capacity to transform society and control the economy under conditions of globalisation. and to intensify pluralistic exchange of ideas.reveal that an emphasis on the state as the guiding force in the economy and society remains central to their thinking. Its main tasks are to broaden the scope of civic participation. Mandela's remarks must be seen against the background of the transition period.. or forcing it to rethink its policies. .70 du Toit the institution of a democratic government. Popular participation is always seen." The background to Sonn's statement is most probably the political report delivered by President Mandela at the December 1997 African National Congress (ANC) conference in Mafikeng. anticorruption initiatives. North-West province. The Theory and Practice of Civic Globalism. and so on. independently of or even in opposition to the ruling party. With the demise of the RDP. job creation and the establishment of small black businesses.C. In view of this the focus on participation does not reflect recognition that civil society forces may play a progressive role. International roundtable report. To facilitate the development partnership between government and NGO's. In fact.the S ACP and COS ATU . D. many donors shifted their funding to the new government. one can expect a much more accommodating attitude towards NGOs. The basic tenor of this speech was a hostile attitude on the part of government towards all forces independent of its control. some of it found its way into the state coffers and never left them. government urged NGOs to form an umbrella body that would allow an effective flow of communication and interaction between them and government. These were seen as responding to the urgent developmental tasks facing the new democracy. labour unions. They frequently mention the need to involve the populace in the process of governance.27 A number Because ofthat concern. service groups. however. especially Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) projects. Frequently qualified as "the developmental state". State-directed development is still seen as the best way forward. While much of the donor support was distributed further by government and reached civil society organisations. (Washington. to mediate between the community and the state. "the new democratic state" or "the national democratic state". We have less access to resources for NGOs than under apartheid. Franklin Sonn. security and crime prevention drives. forming coalitions to deal with crucial issues like health (the HIV/AIDS pandemic). challenging. there is increased control over civil society. this conception of the state is not essentially different from the one commonly propounded in those circles in the 1980s. Thus SANGOCO was established in August 1995. NGOs favoured an umbrella organisation that would strengthen and unify their voice in the political arena. civil society is lessfreetoday than under the apartheid regime. See in this regard the work done by the Community Agency for Social Enquiry (CASE) and the South African National NGO Coalition (SANGOCO). cultural alliances. as a way of bolstering the role of the state under ANC leadership. and government as the effective agency to execute them. civil society organisations began to take the initiative more vigorously. With the ANC power base now well established.

NEPAD is firmly committed to the democratic model.29 recognises the need for African countries to pool their resources in order to promote regional development and economic integration on the continent.nepad.org/ . ready and sufficiently informed to take on the subtly manipulative and immensely resilient powers and principalities of a global capitalism that was still sofirmlyentrenched in an industrialised and severely polarised South Africa?" Fortunately. It is also aware of the constraints put on Africa by economic globalisation. NEPAD (art 94). focus on the problem of economic globalisation. Africa taking responsibility in order to meet the legitimate aspirations of its people. This limits investment in essential infrastructure that depends on economies of scale for viability. Walshe. the churches are not alone in taking on the resilient powers of capitalism. It represents the African spirit and focusses on the plight of Africa. 69. 84.Etsi Deus Non Daretur? Meta-Christian Values in a Post-Democratic World 71 of interest groups. At the core of the NEPAD process is its African ownership. "Christianity and démocratisation in South Africa: the prophetic voice of the phlegmatic churches" in Gifford. 95). The Christian Churches. Walshe writes:28 "Confronting apartheid had been difficult enough for the churches. 74-94. NEPAD as a Symbol of Africa's Coming of Age Against this background it is understandable that African civil societies are not able to confront global systems effectively. This is expressed in article 93: "Most African countries are small. like the South African Council of Churches (SACC) and the Southern African Poverty Network (SAPN). both of which enterprises will definitely improve Africa's international competitiveness. while progress in diversifying production and exports is retarded. To some extent Africa's limited economy makes it less vulnerable to exploitation by multinational corporations. they do not offer attractive returns to potential investors. The basic tenet of the NEPAD document is the realisation of the ideal of African unity and regionalism (see articles 45. NEPAD can be considered a symbol of Africa's coming of age. both in terms of population and per capita incomes. rhttp://www. Would they now be able to produce more than a small prophetic minority. Government initiatives aimed at promoting African unity will eventually help Africa to become a meaningful global actor. African identity and African culture. As a consequence of limited markets. 29 New Partnership for Africa's development (NEPAD)." 28 P. Policy document 2002. This would give Africa greater economic leverage in the global marketplace.

Hasselmann.72 du Toit The NEPAD plan has evoked some criticism. not only for Africa but also for the continent's increased contribution to a better world. The churches in the ecumenical movement have become aware of their status as a minority group in a pluralistic religious world. of initiating a top-down process. Mbeki's recent initiative to salvage the 13th century literary documents of Timbuktu in Mali. "Global order and global ethic" in Kuschel and Mieth. It is accused of selling Africa out to multinational corporations. no peace among nations without dialogue between religions. however. Here the issue is clearly not just one of basic values but of developing a new way of life. This inhibits any universal claims to a Christian ethic. of dialogue and solidarity. there are hopeful signs that it is serious about establishing these common values in Africa. Universal Values. This was expanded at the 1999 meeting in Cape Town. 26. not only the world's religions but also world politics. While Africa may contribute only modestly to the formation of global values. Raiser. That African challenges are taken seriously offers hope. Hence ecumenical efforts have been rechannelled towards reconstructing and safeguarding criteria and values which are decisive for preserving the life of human beings and nature. 21. a "culture" of nonviolence and reverence for life.24 31 C. Thus they are calling for a "new global system" which is oriented to the demands of justice and the spiritual multiplicity of human societies. This responsibility will face different challenges in different contexts and times.31 Examples of the global interaction of religions with the corporate 30 K. the peace initiatives in the DRC. . not owned by the African people. the world economy and science need to have a basic ethical orientation. and the new constitutive act of the AU are all examples of the implementation of the values expressed in the NEPAD document.35. no world peace without religious peace. as exemplified by the Earth Charter that was presented in The Hague in 2000. They have also taken the lead in dealing with ethical issues on a global scale. of being conceptualised by a few individuals without consulting the African people. Living responsibly etsi Deus non daretur will have a different meaning for every individual. and which takes account of the realities of life. "The Chicago global ethic declaration" in Kuschel and Mieth. However.30 Hans Küng drafted a "declaration toward a global ethics" which was presented to the Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago in 1993. Universal Values. Universalisation of Values in an Ecumenical Context Churches and religious groups have always been among the most prolific sectors of civil society. There are.31. It stressed that there could be no survival without a global ethic. promising signs that NEPAD is gaining support. society and nation.

not by dominating but by helping and serving.82. cultures. a universal ethic would affect non-economic sectors as well. human nature and human needs differently. Universal Values. In the words of Hans Küng. They are: responsibility for a culture of nonviolence. 33 F. and the responsibility of equal rights and the partnership of men and women. In this sense they would reflect meta-Christian values. There is more at stake than just religious idiosyncrasies.Etsi Deus Non Daretur? Meta-Christian Values in a Post-Democratic World 73 world are the efforts of Hans Küng and the Global Ethic Foundation. most civil societies are influenced by the ramifications of economic globalisation. In this regard Schüssler Fiorenza33 suggests that we should accept a plurality of moral judgments without abandoning transcendent moral judgment to individual choice or ethnic values.35 but can simply revisit values formed in many traditions in various cultures and religions. This requires universal guidelines which must be co-determined by all religions. Present global economic values and practice critically affect civil societies and their ability to take responsibility for their own circumstances. 35 Küng. Kuschel and Mieth. tolerance and a life of truthfulness." Since one cannot separate the economy from other spheres of life. "Global business". 85. "Global business and the global ethic" in Kuschel and Mieth. Universal Values. Schüssler Fiorenza. One should not. "The challenge of pluralism and globalization to ethical reflection" in Kuschel and Meith. 382-383. solidarity and a just economic order. . This echoes Bonhoeffer's axiom36 the church is the church only when it exists for others. Küng rightly points out that we need not start from scratch.32 The threat posed by economic globalisation ushers in a new phase of religious interaction. As we have seen. Schüssler Fiorenza's remarks do not lessen the need for imminent action in this regard. which interacts with the World Bank and transnational businesses in order to find guidelines to deal with global ethical issues. in which reflective judgment and diverse conceptions crisscross in moral reasoning and argumentation. This would result not so much in a world ethic as in dialogue. Letters and Papers. 36 Bonhoeffer. nationalities and ethnic enclaves. These values include people's responsibilities towards each other. "From Chicago to the 1999 Cape Town call". a global market framework which the market itself cannot provide and which in turn calls for a global ethic.34 "The global market calls for a solid framework within the political order. however. The church must share in the secular problems of ordinary human life. Universal Values. as well as the World Faiths Development dialogue. 53. 32 G Gebhardt. 79. 100-102. He identifies four directives to be found in all the religious and ethical traditions of humankind. 34 Hans Küng. lose sight of religious diversity and the fact that different cultures and different societies interpret nature.

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