A religion of relatedness: transformation through the appreciation of difference
Thesis DisciplineReligious Studies
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
In spite of many indications to the contrary, not least the tenor of the times which includes both the remnant left after the "death of God" as well as the rise of New Age religiosity, this thesis proposes, using feminist and feminine archetypal thinking, that the theory of culture that Christianity, and specifically Catholicism, formulates, is more relevant than ever for the culture it had a part in creating.
Within the frame of Christian value reality, a "religion of relatedness" is centred on the Great Commandment which orders loving relatedness to God, then to oneself, and finally to others. What this has to mean in practice is that our relatedness to others depends on our relatedness with ourselves which depends on our relatedness to a beneficent God.
Our relatedness to ourselves and to God can be appreciated and evaluated through the lens of Jungian thought - in particular Jung's theory of individuation. Our relatedness to others and the success of that as expressed in the health of our cultural milieu can be appreciated and evaluated through the lens of Lacanian discourse theory. Both individual and cultural growth are part of a developmental and maturation process leading to the "paradox, depth and intergenerational responsibility" that Fowler (1981) describes as characteristic of a Stage 5 level of faith in his Stages of Faith model. That complexity in Stage 5 understanding is seen as essential for growing out of the social and environmental problems that beset human life at this point in its history.