Has Christianity hindered our mindset to help the environment?
This was a question that came up, in relation to Islam, when I was at the Islam conference. I considered it from a Christian perspective. Are there parts of our Christian teachings that we need to reconsider? Yes. Does the bible support positive teachings about the environment? Yes.
So, when it comes to Christianity I see only 1 teaching, which funnily enough appears in all Abrahamic traditions, that Christians have taken well out of proportion and have misused it in the past. That is of course the whole 'made in the image of God' and the 'toil and keep' and 'have dominion' idea. The idea permeates the whole of the Bible, e.g. giving of the Promise Land to the Israelites. This idea has as far as I can see
- Allowed people over the centuries have used it as justification for Christian peoples to take over vast amounts of land and invade countries
- To think that we are above everyone, above every living thing
- Ultimately leading to anthropocentrism
As a result we mistake the fact that God values every creature and living thing just as they are. Humans are no more important than ants.
However, if you look in the bible for places where Christian teachings are in support of the environment, there are a plethora of teachings that are about reducing pollution, corruption and being wary of spending money. When I went on a quick search this is what I found:
Bearing this in mind, I feel that it is the priests responsibility to be aware of these discourses within the Bible that can be interpreted in a range of ways, including, through an anthropocentric lens. Within homily's this should be considered.