Original Research

Postsecular democracy and the reign of God: Reading Habermas and Moltmann in South Africa

Wessel Bentley
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 49, No 1 | a2000 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v49i1.2000 | © 2015 Wessel Bentley | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 June 2015 | Published: 20 November 2015

About the author(s)

Wessel Bentley, Research Institute for Theology and Religion, University of South Africa, South Africa


Governed by a liberal constitution, the South African democratic project is progressively finding its own identity. Being a democracy in Africa has unique challenges, as this system of governance needs to be contextualised by integrating African culture, history and memory into a political model which will promote sustainable participatory citizenship. This article engages, from a South African perspective, Habermas’ model of a postsecular democracy and Moltmann’s understanding of ‘Reich Gottes’ in Ethics of Hope. This article proposes an integrated relationship between responsible citizenship (Habermas’ postsecular democracy) and a Christian social conscience (Moltmann’s ‘Reign of God’)1for the South African context.

Postsekulêre demokrasie en die koninkryk van God: in gesprek met Habermas en Moltmann vanuit ’n Suid-Afrikaanse perspektief. Die Suid-Afrikaanse demokrasie wat gegrond is op ’n liberale grondwet, is geleidelik besig om ’n eie identiteit te vind. Demokrasie in Afrika ervaar unieke uitdagings en moet derhalwe gekontekstualiseer word deur die Afrikakultuur, geskiedenis en geheue in ’n politieke model te inkorporeer wat beoog om houdbare en deelnemende burgerskap te bevorder. Hierdie artikel tree vanuit ’n Suid Afrikaanse perspektief in gesprek met Habermas se model oor postsekulêre demokrasie sowel as met Moltmann se verstaan van ‘Reich Gottes’ in Ethics of Hope. ’n Geïntegreerde verhouding tussen verantwoordelike burgerskap (Habermas se postsekulêre demokrasie) en ’n Christelike sosiale gewete (Moltmann se ‘Koninkryk van God‘) binne die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks word derhalwe deur hierdie artikel ondersteun.


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