prophetic christianity

“Prophetic Christianity has a distinctive, though not exclusive, capacity to highlight critical, historical and universal consciousness that yields a vigilant disposition toward prevailing forms of individual and institutional evil, an unceasing, suspicion of ossified and petrified forms of dogmatism and a strong propensity to resist various types of cynicism and nihilism.

Prophetic Christian conceptions of what it is to be human, how we should act and what we should hope for are neither rationally demonstrable nor empirically verifiable in a necessary and universal manner. Rather, they are embedded and enacted in a form of life – a dynamic set of communities that constitute a diverse tradition – that mediates how I interpret my experiences, sufferings, joys and undertakings. There are indeed good reasons to accept prophetic Christian claims, yet they are good not because they result from logical necessity or conform to transcendental criteria. Rather, these reasons are good (persuasive to some, non-sense to others) because they are rationally acceptable and existentially enabling for many self-critical finite and fallible creatures who are condemned to choose traditions under circumstances not of their own choosing. To choose a tradition (a version of it) is more than to be convinced by a set of arguments; it is also to decide to live alongside the slippery edge of life’s abyss with the support of the dynamic stories, symbols, interpretations and insights bequeathed by communities that came before.”

– Cornel West, The Making of an American Radical Democrat of African Descent


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