The Sacred and the Commodified

Larry L. Rasmussen

in Earth-honoring Faith

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199917006
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980314 | DOI:
The Sacred and the Commodified

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Most religious traditions assume that all material reality (“creation”) is sacred and carries a value humans share but do not bestow. In this chapter Earth is viewed as a “sacramental commons” that the habits of modern living treat in unrelentingly utilitarian ways. When this happens, nature is viewed above all as real or potential commodities for market exchange and exclusive human use. The full community of life is not consulted and its value, other than economic value, is not entertained. By way of contrast, what constructive ethic emerges when sacrament ethics confront commodity ethics? If Earth, as land, sea, sky and the community of all life, is a shared sacramental commons, what moral and ethics insight follow? Examples are offered, using moral treatment of a second primal element—water—to illustrate.

Keywords: drilling in the cathedral; dominion ethics; web-of-life ethics; sacramental commons; commodity thinking; Aunt Jemima; Planet Water

Chapter.  13337 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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