2. There is silence about eschatology today for other reasons, of which we single out one: that is, the rebirth of the tendency to establish an innerworldly eschatology. This tendency is well known in the history of theology, and beginning with the Middle Ages it constituted what came to be called “the spiritual heritage of Joachim de Fiore”.
This tendency is found in some theologians of liberation, who so insist on the importance of establishing the kingdom of God as something within our own history on earth that the salvation which transcends history seems to become of rather secondary interest. Certainly, these theologians do not deny in any way the truth of realities beyond human life and history. But since the kingdom of God is located in a society without divisions, “the third age” in which “the eternal Gospel” (Rev 14:6-7) and the kingdom of the Spirit are to flourish is introduced in a new and secularized form.
In this way a certain kind of “eschaton” is brought within historical time. This “eschaton” is not presented as the ultimate absolute, but as a relative absolute. Nonetheless, Christian praxis is directed so exclusively to the establishment of this eschaton that the Gospel is read reductively, so that whatever pertains to the eschatological realities absolutely considered is in great part passed over in silence. In this way, in a theological system of this sort, “one places oneself within the perspective of a temporal messianism, which is one of the most radical of the expressions of secularisation of the Kingdom of God and of its absorption into the immanence of human history."
Theological hope loses its full strength when it is replaced by a political dynamism. This happens when a political dimension becomes the “principal and exclusive dimension, leading to a reductionist reading of Scripture”.12 It must be noted that a way of proposing eschatology that introduces a reductionist reading of the Gospel cannot be admitted, even if there are taken from the Marxist system none of those elements which could hardly be reconciled with Christianity.
It is well known that classical Marxism considered religion as the “opium” of the people: for religion, “by arousing mans hope for a deceptive future life, thereby [diverted] him from the constructing of the earthly city.”13 This accusation is entirely without objective basis. It is rather materialism that deprives people of true motives for building up the world. For why would one struggle, if there is nothing for us to await after this earthly life? “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (Is 22:13). On the contrary, it is certain that “a hope related to the end of time does not diminish the importance of intervening duties but rather undergirds the acquittal of them with fresh incentives.”