Christian theological response_to_the_ecological_crisis
A Christian Theological Responses to the Ecological CrisisAn overview of the overview of the theologicalresponses to Lynn White‟s claim on the Christianity. Compendious summarization. very shortly summarized by CHOI WOOCHUL Stefano
Stephen Bede Scharper – Author of the Art.• Ph. D.• Assistant professor of the Study of Religion at St. Michael‟s college• Publications. - Redeeming the Time: A Political Theology of the Environment. - The Green Bible(with Hilary Cunningham)• Many articles on the He is lecturing at St. Jerome’s ecological issues. university on the ecological issues on Nov. 2007.
The beginning of the debate• Lynn White asserted that, in his article, Christianity was one of the main factors those which effected seriously on the ecological crisis to which now we are facing.• This assert gave an occasion for many Theologians to discuss whether Christianity is really a historical root of our ecological Crisis or not.• After the Article by Lynn White Jr., there were three kind of approaches to it.• (In this presentation, the specific attestation of Lynn White Jr. will be skipped for it is what we already learned.)• I would like to skip also specific instances which were included to introduce the scholar’s thesis because it is impossible to scrutinize all of them in this class hours.
Apologetic approach• Apologetic Approach criticized on the hypothesis of Lynn White.• They tried to defend Judeo-Christian Tradition from the theoretical claim by Lynn White and his followers.• The embolismic scholars of this approach like below:• (1) Robin Attfield• (2) Thomas Sieger Derr• (3) H. Paul Santmire
Apologetic approach Robin Attfield• He sifts through biblical, patristic, medieval evidence.• showing the centrality of stewardship and cooperation with nature in the Christian theological tradition.• Hebrew Scriptures do not suggest that all the created world exists solely to serve humanity. It includes restrictions on the use of forests and animals. Hebrew concept of dominion involves accountability and responsibility, not mere exploitation.• The Christian attitudes were much more varied than White attests. (Calvin expressed a notion of stewardship)• Real cause of our crisis is Western‟ society‟s sacred belief in the inevitability of progress.
Apologetic approach Thomas Sieger Derr• The genesis of Western technology and science is multiple, complex, and obscure. Thus it is a false simplification to isolate one particular religious strand when a myriad of nonreligious elements also were factors. He wonders how White explains ecological disaster in non-Christian parts.• He indicates that there is impressive evidence of an early and enduring Christian concern for environmental preservation.• The “orthodox” Christian stance toward nature is respectful stewardship of an earth which belongs only to God.• Instead of minimalism, he takes a position of responsible antrhopocentrism.
Apologetic approach H. Paul Santmire• His goal is to understand the “travail” of nature in Western Christian thought.• After the White‟ critique, there are many voices. What these voices lack is historical framework, an careful exploration of the theology of nature in the “biblical- classical Christian tradition”• Western theological tradition is not ecologically bankrupt, nor is it lined with pearls of ecological riches. It is marked by two overarching motifs: spiritual – ecological• He articulates 3 major metaphors: ascent, fecundity, migration to good land to categorize the biblical tradition. He says that this 3 metaphors are co-existent in the Bible. It shows the possibility of a fresh ecological reading or biblical faith, he believes.
Constructive approach• Constructive Approach adopts a self-critical perspective in dealing with the accusations leveled at the Judeo- Christian tradition by Lynn White Jr.• They rarely concern the exact of the assessment by White but rather the ecological crisis and also try to find new Christian way to solve the matters.• (1) Douglas John Hall• (2) Jürgen Motlmann• (3) Walter Bruegemann
Constructive approach Douglas John Hall.• He starts with the claim that something is fundamentally wrong with our civilization. It has to do with “the distorted relationship between human and nonhuman nature”.• He examined the “image of God” in the tradition of Jerusalem. He contends that in the history of Christianity, the symbol was only rationally taken even though it has more wider meaning.• In this symbol, the relational aspect should be focused. (being with-God, being with-humankind, being-with nature. They are in a single relationship) The essence of human is to be in relationship of love. : Biblical ontology
Constructive approach Jürgen Moltmann• His work is primarily pneumatological. He explicitly identifies “God in creation” as the Holy Spirit, and his initial point is “the indwelling divine Spirit of creation.” The Spirit is the “holistic” principle of creativity and cooperation in creation.• He applies his messianic orientation to an ecological doctrine of creation.• The role of human is to respond to the ecological crisis as responsible agents of history, attuned to the Holy Spirit‟s presence in creation and guided and girded by God‟s hope-yielding eschatological promise.
Constructive approachWalter Bruegemann• He focuses on a crisis that has more to do with human feelings of rootlessness and anomie than with ecological destruction.• His principal project is to provide a novel „prism‟ through which the Bible can be scrutinized, that prism being the narrative-of-the-land motif in the Bible.• Land is perhaps the core theme of biblical faith.• Promise of entry into the land – story of land management and exile – the renewed story of promise commencing in exile and resulting in a kingdom.• This story-telling approach rather can be instructive to the eco-theologians. It can be a ancient understandable model to be adopted in modern society.
Listening approach• This approach does not directly deal with the charges laid by Lynn White and others.• Their concern is listen to “nature” itself.• Not by debate but in radical openness to the earth‟s system, we can fashion a truly workable and non-harmful response to the human world.• Human role is responsive and attentive to nature.• John Carmody (a former Jesuit)• Albert Fritsch (a current Jesuit)• Thomas Berry (a Passionist priest.) - Berry is not main concern in this presentation.
Listening approach John Carmody• Part 1 – listening parts. He outlined the facts and figures on the environmental crisis. His background is Eastern religious thought for it is more attentive to nature and is able to assist Western Christians‟ attempt to fashion a responsible theology of nature.• Part 2 – a new Christian naturalism. - anthoropocentrism seems to be the main-steream of the Christian tradition.• God has given nature many title to reverence.• Need for the human agent to listen to nature.• The focus seems to be on responding to the ecological challenge.
Listening approach Albert Fritsch• Jesuit engineer and theologian. Minister of Appalachia.• He is influenced by Teilhard de Chardin. (within a liturgical context he explores the notion of cosmic evolution by Chardin.)• Earth as teacher.• One‟s own bioregion as a source of theological reflection.• Critique of consumerism.• Listening to nature is acquired skill• Unlike Berry, his analysis was built into option for the poor. There is a clear nexus between oppression of the poor and of the earth. It is from same companies.• Humans enrich themselves when benefiting other earth members.
My conclusion :Necessity of partnership• All of us whoever live in the Earth are facing to the Ecological crisis.• Even the heavenly church is perfect but in the earth it is able to make mistakes for it is within the imperfect human.• We can know that the original author of bibles and theological workers did not want to harm the Earth.• However it does not mean that it had been not misguided and misinterpreted by descendants of them.• So, we must renovate our attitude toward nature so that it will be properly In God‟s plan to the Earth, our land.• This should be in the inter-disciplinary, inter-religious, inter-race, and inter-national work, I think.