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Document Type

Article

Abstract

How should a Christian political scientist think about power, liberalism, and political science? In answering this question, this article first defines power. Considered primarily in relation to the state, power is exercised in conflicts of interests: by officials, parties, or groups or elites getting others to do something the others would not otherwise do, or keeping one or more alternative from even being discussed, and perhaps obscuring what the real interests of others are. Then the argument turns to establishing that how one thinks about power is closely related to one’s larger political theory, e.g., what counts as the “real interests” of a group, what is freedom, what are the necessary conditions for human beings to flourish, what is liberalism, what is modernity, etc. Finally, what then would a Christian approach to political science look like? It would be an exercise of practical reason which would take into account the teaching of scripture and develop an understanding of shalom (human flourishing) in relation to the scope, capability, and abuse of political power and also investigate the role of the Church in the political order.

About the Author

Dr. Daniel Young is a political theorist with research interests in modern political thought, the political theory of international relations, and the intersection of theology and political theory. He has presented papers at several academic conferences in the United States and has authored articles, book chapters, and book reviews. His current research is on the relationship of political liberalism and natural law.

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