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The Bible And The Environment?

Discussion in 'Biblical Debates' started by Sunstone, May 6, 2006.

  1. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
    Premium Member

    Jul 2, 2004
    Non-Theistic Mysticism
    Former Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas once said:

    "The Bible contains no reference to earth in terms of the conservation ethic. Wild life and wilderness are apart from man and inferior. The Christian, and Jew, had no relation to the earth, the air, the waters, or the wild life. He could without fear poison the waters, pollute the air, level the forests, and despoil the land. The Bible and Christianity conditioned men to be vandals, converting everything from alligator skins to mountain ranges to blue waters into dollars. Men took the wealth and left only the ashes."

    In what way might Justice Douglas have a point? In what way might he be off the mark?

    What should Christianity, Judaism, and Islam do about the environment? On what basis should they do it?

    Can a religion without a sound environmental ethic be truly relevant in today's world? Can a religion without a sound environmental ethic promote behavior that is best for humanity, including human happiness?

    Does the Bible provide a basis for a sound environmental ethic?
  2. Karl R

    Karl R Active Member

    Feb 14, 2006
    In Genesis man was given dominion over the world. But I've sometimes wondered whether it was intended that humanity dominate the world like a conquering ruler ... or whether we were given stewardship instead.

    The concept of stewardship always reminds me of the parable of the good steward (Matthew 25:14-30), where the servants are expected to take what they have been given and make it flourish and multiply.

    Unfortunately, Genesis doesn't seem to say that, and people certainly haven't done that.

    About the best arguement for conservation would be "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Then apply that saying to the future generations who will have to deal with whatever mess we leave behind.

    An acquaintance of mine once said, "Christianity does a good job of addressing the relationship between man and god, and the relationship between man and other men. It does a poor job of addressing the relationship between man and nature, and the relationship between man and himself. The eastern religions are much better for that."

    I think it's time that christians start looking outside christianity to answer the questions that the bible doesn't address. My bible only has 1182 pages. I don't think it's supposed to hold the solution to every problem.
  3. Booko

    Booko Deviled Hen

    Mar 22, 2006
    <ahem> You make a reference to Islam and then you stick this in Biblical Debates, where I can't reply?

    Careful, bubba, or I might just take a hatpin to that lovely little latex lady of yours. :fork:

    I don't suppose you'd like to move this to Comparative Religions?