return to religion-onlineEcology/Environment
Garrett Hardin and the "lifeboat moralists" fail to see the connection between affluence in the U.S. and starvation in Third World countries. Hardin incorrectly holds Third World nations themselves largely responsible for their desperate plight.
A sacramental approach to material reality, such as found in the sacraments, can give us a deep respect for the environment and its fulfillment of the divine purpose.
The author shows the intimate relationship between wilderness and spirituality.
It seems doubtful that faith mandates a system of life that appears to require inhumane slaughter of creatures, uneconomical and exploitative uses of land, disregard of personal health, and ignorance of the probability that the key to world peace lies in the conscious cultivation of a practical philosophy of reverence for all that lives.
In Genesis 1:1-2:4, God first creates the heavens and the earth, then the plants, fishes, birds and all the other animals. To repress our sympathy for animals leads to an all the more destructive disrespect for them and for all of creation.
This is primarily a religio-historical essay, not "biblical theology." Both the New Testament and the Old speak the same message, that the whole created order is Godís work and thus is good. Godís care extends to the most insignificant of animals, and to all living things.
Nations have surrendered much of their power to transnational corporations. These TNCs have opposed the growth of the developing nations in favor of growth of a world-wide market. . They are constituted for the purpose of making a profit for their stockholders. Leaving the consequences for the environment entirely in their hands appears dangerous, and thus far the effects have in fact been very bad . The author believes that power instead should be in the hands of those who have othergoals than economic gain in view as part of their primary job description. Governments, including both legislators and administrators, are supposed to aim at the common good. Cobb advocates a massive effort to return power to the people and their elected representatives.
The author argues for what he calls "the agrarian point of view" as regards the creation: It means taking seriously the Biblical mandate to care for the creation.
Christians must offer practical, workable guidelines for the value of some lives over others. The interests of different organisms are often in conflict.
The author takes an absolute stand on the unethical treatment of non-human animals. For him it is categorically wrong to use animals in such areas as science, sport, recreational hunting, trapping and certain uses in agriculture.
The author makes the argument that in the struggle to save and preserve the environment, the church's leadership is absolutely mandatory.
The mechanistic world view, imported to Africa, has been largely responsible for many eco-crises faced by Africa and has led us to the global crises we face today. Community must be based in a consciousness that all creatures are part of all others, that humans share a common destiny with nature.
Godís covenant as depicted in the Bible consists of promises not only to humans but to all of creation. By showing the relevance of the concept of covenant to the crises now faced by life on earth, Granberg-Michaelson calls for preserving the integrity of creation.
Our inability to conserve energy is likely to destroy the earthís ecosystem. As the future of food, energy supplies, capital goods and mineral ores grow increasingly scarce, the idea of taking resources by military force will be on the minds of many nations. What kind of world do we want to leave to our childrenís children?
If you drive an SUV for one year, itís equivalent to leaving the door to the frige open for six years, or you bathroom light on for three decades. Thereís no symbol much clearer in our time than SUVs. Stop driving global warming. If we canít do even that, weíre unlikely ever to do much.
Pinches reviews a book by Larry Rasmussen in which Rasmussen proposes "sustainability" as the correct goal for human interaction with the earth. But he also notes that this description is prone to abuse, for it has been too easily twined with expansionism.
French approaches the ecological issues facing the world from the theological position that the ecological destruction occurring is evidence of God's judgment on our misuse of creation. Citing books by Al Gore and Bill McKibben to support his critique of our consumer-oriented culture, French emphasizes the crucial role churches can and should play in sensitizing us to the need for sacrifice if we are to reverse the destruction.
The economists believe a prosperous future awaits all our descendants, if only we will be patient and stay the course. The ecologists believe that continuing on our present course is a sure recipe for disaster. Perhaps China can help us find a way through this dilemma.
The religious impulse of the ecological movement explains both its popularity -- it satisfies a basic human need -- and the uncertainty of its future. Since we canít even guarantee that enlightened egotism will save the world from a nuclear doomsday, what will prevent the earth from turning into a gigantic feedlot for 40 or more billion people?
Ecological theologians have, as a rule, taken seriously the predictions of crisis advanced by responsible scientists. Political theologians, on the other hand, have tended either to ignore ecological problems altogether or to regard them as expressions of unresolved political or economic problems.
Seldom are the complexities of energy issues seen in moral terms, and seldom does energy appear high on the churchís ethical agenda, especially within the local congregation. The Energy Study Process of the National Council of Churches has been a fortunate exception to this lack of attention.
The massive problem of global warming will be helped only by massive action. We need to make it clear that any politician whose plan doesnít call for cutting carbon by halfí or more simply hasnít understood the situation -- or has understood it and sold out.
Human dominion over the natural world must not be taken as an unqualified license to kill or inflict suffering on animals.
The struggle for an ecological theology that is both biblical and fully in keeping with our cultural and ecological crisis is outlined by the author and the books reviewed.
The rise of corporate farming and the disappearance of the family farm are destroying local communities and economies. These developments also cause soil erosion, and reduce the quality of the food we eat.
McFague identifies four images that ecologically attuned Christians might find helpful: God as mother, as lover, as friend, and finally, God as embodied by the universe itself.
What is needed in theological reflection about environmental issues is neither reconstructionist nor apologist, but rather is a "revisionist" approach in the tradition of orthodox theology.
The greatest strain on the environment and, hence, one of the major factors in the growth of world poverty, is the still-increasing rate of consumption and environmental degradation taking place in the rich countries of the north.
The value of non-Christian perspectives of the created order of nature. An Indian Orthodox point of view.
Dr. Williams writes about the violence accompanying the production of electricity -- past and present -- and insists that ways apart from that violence must be found.
Much theology rejects the earth as our hospitable habitat, our home, but the environmental needs of our times require us to accept this very earth and universe as hospitable habitats and our home.
The relevance of a dialogue with other religions -- in this instance a dialogue with Zen Buddhism -- to a deepening of Christian ecological consciousness. Buddhism can stimulate us to imagine that the world is our body and that, even more directly, it is Godís.
Dr. Cobb reviews a book about global warming: Christians are called to worship God, not wealth. Surely we should put the long-term wellbeing of the earth and all its inhabitants above the enrichment of the rich.
Any ecological ethic which takes into account both God and humanity must begin with the rejection of unbridled human sovereignty over the earth. Here are a few ethical considerations: the obligation not to exhaust nonrenewable resources, the imperative to provide accessible replacements, the necessity to improve our heritage modestly and carefully, the greater responsibility of the advantaged to improve that which exists and to share, and the obligation to refrain from excessive consumption and waste.
The biblical understanding of nature inheres in a human ethical vision, a vision of ecojustice, in which the enmity or harmony of nature with humanity is part of the human historical drama of good and evil.
No mere dreamer, Soleri has planned -- and has begun to build -- cities that do not sacrifice our relation to nature for the sake of urban values. He calls his elements of architecture and ecology Arcology.
Where will nuclear waste go? It will have to be buried in somebody’s backyard.† The bigger question is whether we should allow contemporary affluence to become dependent on fission power. If we fail to come up with a satisfactory disposal program, the answer has to be no.
It is the author's thesis that God created a world of great abundance. If we share, there is enough for all.
The earth, in a very real sense, is our mother. We are born from this mother, from Gaia; we are extensions of the earth and the cosmos of which it is a part. This means that our conceptualizing and our spirituality also extend from the spiritual dimension of the cosmos and the earth.
(BOOK EXCERPTS) The introduction and three excerpts from The Splendor of Creation, A Biblical Ecology by Ellen Bernstein. The book is comprised of 31 ecologically oriented essays inspired by the 31 verses of Genesis 1:1- Genesis 2:3, the first Creation story. The excerpts are on the Mystery of Creation, The Gift of Time, and Genesis 1:28: Dominion.
In perverse imitations of God the creator of life, we have become potential uncreators. We have the knowledge and the power to destroy ourselves and much of the rest of life.
The seriousness of the ecological crisis creates major new theological challenges. Dr. Cobb summarizes the features of the inherited theology that block attention to what is going on in the natural environment, then suggests how these obstacles can be removed.† Finally he inquires into whether Christianity not only can cease to be an obstacle to the needed response but also can become a positive contributor.
The vision of lions lying down with lambs represents a gross misunderstanding of harmony in nature. Nature provides self-limiting factors which we must take into account.
Is the human species viable, or are we careening toward self-destruction, carrying with us our fellow earthlings? Can we move from an anthropocentric to a biocentric vision? How can we help activate the intercommunion of all living and nonliving members of the earth community in the emerging ecological period?
Redeeming the land and redeeming humanity are not separate tasks; they are interdependent. When people are brought back together with the land, there is a possibility of a careful, loving, productive and saving relationship between them. So long as the land is held by corporations and machines, this possibility does not exist.
Several theological models in response to the ecocrisis are worthy of our attention. This article was written in anticipation of an "Earth Summit" that took place in June of 1992.
The church has often seen nature as a window to God. But with few exceptions it has been tamed nature -- the pastoral and bucolic that humans have fenced and framed. The wilder corners of creation, bearing no imprint of humankind, have been allowed to slip into disrepair.