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Bringing the Sacred Down to EarthAdventures in Comparative Religion$
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Corinne G. Dempsey

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199860333

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199860333.001.0001

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Arguing Equal Access to an Earthly Sacred

Arguing Equal Access to an Earthly Sacred

Christian and Hindu Theologies of Liberation

(p.49) Chapter 2 Arguing Equal Access to an Earthly Sacred
Bringing the Sacred Down to Earth

Corinne G. Dempsey

Oxford University Press

This chapter emerges from conversations between the author and Aiya, the head priest/guru at an upstate New York temple, in what amounts to a comparison of liberation theologies set against the backdrop of religious orthodoxies. Informed by his largely nondualistic Tantric goddess tradition, Aiya shares with Christian feminist and Latin American liberation theologians a concern for those marginalized by traditional religious authority structures. He also shares with them a rejection of the earth- and body-negating theologies that sequester the sacred to exclusive or transcendent realms and that lay the foundation for social marginalization. While the varieties of discrimination practiced within Hindu and Christian contexts are far from identical, the strategies Aiya and liberation theologians prescribe to combat them, fueled by shared understandings of divine immanence, hold some compelling similarities. In the end, a conundrum faced by all parties is that of an earthly Utopia—a logical aim for idealistic earthbound theologies, the achievement of which is not only impossible but ultimately undesirable.

Keywords:   liberation theology, earthbound theology, Utopia, Hindu-Christian comparison, religious discrimination, divine immanence, Tantrism

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