Chapter 3 of For the Beauty of the Earth by Steven Bouma-Prediger is called “Is Christianity to Blame? The Ecological Complaint Against Christianity.”
Among many environmentalists, the strong emotions felt against Christianity is as strong as that which many conservative Christians have against “tree-hugging enviro-wackos.” Consider these statements from the Sierra Club’s magazine Sierra:
To the extent that man fulfills the command to be fruitful and multiply, his assault on this planet will continue. Religions assume that whatever sacrifices may be necessary to accommodate more of humanity should be made by species other than us.
Having created God in man’s own image, Western religion has adopted an anthropocentric mythology that separates God from Creation, soul from body, and man from Earth. It is this dualism that prevents us from relating not only to the natural world, but to ourselves.
The sky-god religions–Judaism, Christianity, and Islam–are the most corrosive forces on the planet. Monuments to irrationality under the guise of faith and spirituality, they focus people’s hatred and distrust of one another as time runs out on the possibility that mutual respect and cooperation can save the Earth from suicide.
I see all kinds of problems with these statements, but that is how Christianity is perceived by many in the environmental movement.
The author’s perspective is that a proper Biblical theology of creation and the environment would not be open to these types of criticisms, but that in practice Christianity is at times guilty of contributing to environmental degradation.
Christian organizations, to this day, remain largely indifferent to the rape and plunder of the world and its traditional cultures. It is hardly too much to say that most Christian organizations are as happily indifferent to the ecological, cultural, and religious implications of industrial economies as are most industrial organizations. –Wendell Berry
Bouma-Prediger gives four common complaints that environmentalists have against Christianity, and I’ll give those in upcoming posts.
Grace and Peace