Religion, Environmentalism, and the Meaning of Ecology

Lisa H. Sideris

in The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Ecology

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780195178722
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

 Religion, Environmentalism, and the Meaning of Ecology

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In recent decades, the rise of religious environmental ethics and ecological theology has engendered a number of positive and fruitful connections between the study of religion and other disciplines. Probably no tradition has worked harder than the Christian tradition in the quest to locate—or create—positive environmental teachings. In part, the Christian response was generated in the aftermath of Lynn White's now famous critique of the tradition (or, more broadly, the Judeo-Christian tradition) decades ago. White conferred to Christianity the dubious distinction of being the world's most anthropocentric religion, arguing that “it is God's will that man exploit nature for his proper ends.” Within ecotheological circles, there is also a general sense—often promoted by Christian ecotheology as much as by its critics—that the Eastern religions have always been more or less on the right environmental track. This article deals with religion, environmentalism, and the meaning of ecology. It also describes the ecological model and the mechanical model of ecotheology.

Keywords: Christianity; religion; environmentalism; ecology; ecotheology; ecological model; mechanical model; nature; Eastern religions; Lynn White

Article.  8275 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies ; Religion and Science

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