2007 Research Fair - Philosophy Abstracts
Rethinking Christianity: Environmental Ethics in Light of the Apocalypse
After Lynn White called the Judeo-Christian tradition the root of our ecological crisis, attention was focused on Christianity's proclaimed stewardship towards the Earth and the religion's compatibility with environmental ethics. This paper will illustrate the difficulty of reconciling Christianity with the environment due to the biblical construction of nature specifically that of the Apocalypse. This ending of the Earth or Apocalypse doctrine that the Book of Revelation describes as a violent destruction, and God's use of nature as a tool to punish humanity's sin, results in a radical division between Christians and the Earth. These two features, and the temporary status that God imposes upon the Earth creates indifference about sustainability and diminishes any perceived responsibilities towards nature. This paper argues that the biblical conception of nature prevents Christianity from being compatible with the ethical treatment of the environment.