Faith in Conservation: New Approaches to Religions and the Environment

By Martin Palmer; Victoria Finlay | Go to book overview

9
Christianity

This statement was compiled and endorsed by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the World Council of Churches, and the Vatican Franciscan Center of Environmental Studies.

Christianity teaches that all of creation is the loving action of God, who not only willed the creation but also continues to care for all aspects of existence. As Jesus says in the Gospel of Luke (12: 6–7):

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Yet sadly, many Christians have been more interested in the last part of what Jesus said:

Don’t be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows.

There exists within Christianity a tension between God’s creative, loving powers and humanity’s capacity and tendency to rebel against God. Christianity, drawing upon the biblical imagery of Genesis 1 and 2 and Genesis 9, is unambiguous about the special role of humanity within creation. But this special role has sometimes been interpreted as giving free rein to mastership. As the World Council of Churches said in a document from a meeting in Granvollen, Norway, in 1988:

The drive to have “mastery” over creation has resulted in the senseless
exploitation of natural resources, the alienation of the land from people
and the destruction of indigenous cultures…. Creation came into being
by the will and love of the Triune God, and as such it possesses an inner
cohesion and goodness. Though human eyes may not always discern it,

-83-

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Faith in Conservation: New Approaches to Religions and the Environment
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Part 1 - Worlds of Difference 1
  • 1 - Changing Worlds 3
  • 2 - How Did We Get Here? 15
  • 3 - Changing Minds 23
  • 4 - Investing in the Future 37
  • 5 - Celebrating the Environment 49
  • Part 2 - The Faith Statements on Ecology 65
  • 6 - Introduction 67
  • 7 - Baha'i Faith 71
  • 8 - Buddhism 77
  • 9 - Christianity 83
  • 10 - Daoism 87
  • 11 - Hinduism 91
  • 12 - Islam 97
  • 13 - Jainism 107
  • 14 - Judaism 111
  • 15 - Shintoism 127
  • 16 - Sikhism 131
  • 17 - Zoroastrianism 145
  • Glossary 149
  • Selected Bibliography 153
  • About the Authors 157
  • Index 159
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