All the Christian Birds Chanted

Daniel Capper

in Learning Love from a Tiger

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2016 | ISBN: 9780520290419
Published online January 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780520964600 | DOI:
All the Christian Birds Chanted

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This chapter looks at a Christian pet blessing ceremony in order to go beyond the marginal heterodoxy of John Muir and more fully explore religious experiences with nature in the Christian tradition. Christians have long loved animals, as the church portrays some animals as friends of saints, frowns upon the practice of animal sacrifice, and documents sporadic occasions when animals practice religion. But it is also generally true that in Christianity, animals stand inferior to humans, who alone have salvific souls and exercise dominion over the natural world. In the end, Christianity, while embodying many different outlooks, provides a model in which animals have been worthy of sometimes-lavish love but not worthy of salvation or an authentic place at the communion table.

Keywords: Christianity; Christian animals; pet bessing ceremony; animal sacrifice; salvific souls; John Muir

Chapter.  13011 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology of Religion

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