Theology and sociology facing the future: a relational approach


  • Pierpaolo Donati Università di Bologna



The author examines the forms of relationship between theology and sociology in recent decades. Such forms exhibit mutual lack of understanding, despite the fact that both disciplines speak of the same reality: man and his society. A conceptual framework is therefore proposed which allows for significant interaction between the two disciplines, while safeguarding their respective autonomy. Such a framework is called relational. By means of it, a meta-theory can be developed which makes it possible to manage the mutual relationships and boundaries. In the past, the separation and hostility between theology and sociology have impoverished both. The secularization of secularization (instead of “secularity”), nihilism (instead of the “revelation of being”), pathologies of modernity (instead of authentic “emancipation”) are today strong tendencies, in the face of which the two disciplines risk remaining mute or in sterile disagreement. Sociologists and theologians can find a common meeting ground on the basis of the idea that society is a field of social relations which are necessarily marked by the dilemma immanence/transcendence. Change is urgent, also to avoid remaining prey to regressions and to a possible barbarism, which appears not improbable on the horizion of the 21st century, in a western society which seems unable to give itself a significant symbolic representation of itself and its own future — a society which, bereft of religious reference-points in social relations, lacks generative capacity and revolves around itself, without a past and without a future.



How to Cite

Donati, Pierpaolo. “Theology and Sociology Facing the Future: A Relational Approach”. Acta Philosophica 4, no. 1 (March 1, 1995): 27–49. Accessed July 23, 2024.