Research Publication Title

Protestantism and Biblical Foundations for Ecological Care

Presenter Information

Peyton A. SandersFollow

Major

Philosophy/Liberal Studies Double Major

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Juli Gittinger Dr. Mark Causey

Keywords

protestantism, ecology, climate, christianity, catholicism, ethics, theology

Abstract

Ecological scholars and academic theologians have attempted to critique those who choose to remain ignorant on the current environmental crisis. But relying on the ignorance of scriptural myth and searching for antiquated hypocrisies in religion is not particularly challenging. The challenge comes when science is no longer welcome within a subset of the population relying on holy texts to give insight to real world issues with approaching consequences. The appropriate response to this reality coupled with the reality of an environment in a state of ecological emergency is to learn what makes a religiously inclined public receptive of the worldview of a secular society and what avenues within the many Protestant denominations are best-equipped to espouse progressive ecology without sacrificing theology. Pope Francis and the Catholic Church have taken strides to circumnavigate any stigma around an environmentally illiterate portion of Christianity. Protestantism, however, is without the power structure of the Catholic Church and endowed with a degree of theological liberty within Protestant communities that make ecological advocacy more difficult to consolidate. This paper will seek to find out why Protestantism in America can be uniquely well equipped to take progressive positions on the environmental crisis while still relying on scripture. My research methodology for this paper will be concerned with finding philosophical, theological, and ethical foundations behind modern Protestantism as well as uncovering and consolidating examples from Biblical scripture that coincide with a progressive ecology. Pulling from the work of such scholars as German Sociologist Max Weber to Eco-Feminist Philosopher Val Plumwood, I will be able to correspond environmental ethics with evidence of ecological care and stewardship from the Bible.

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Protestantism and Biblical Foundations for Ecological Care

Ecological scholars and academic theologians have attempted to critique those who choose to remain ignorant on the current environmental crisis. But relying on the ignorance of scriptural myth and searching for antiquated hypocrisies in religion is not particularly challenging. The challenge comes when science is no longer welcome within a subset of the population relying on holy texts to give insight to real world issues with approaching consequences. The appropriate response to this reality coupled with the reality of an environment in a state of ecological emergency is to learn what makes a religiously inclined public receptive of the worldview of a secular society and what avenues within the many Protestant denominations are best-equipped to espouse progressive ecology without sacrificing theology. Pope Francis and the Catholic Church have taken strides to circumnavigate any stigma around an environmentally illiterate portion of Christianity. Protestantism, however, is without the power structure of the Catholic Church and endowed with a degree of theological liberty within Protestant communities that make ecological advocacy more difficult to consolidate. This paper will seek to find out why Protestantism in America can be uniquely well equipped to take progressive positions on the environmental crisis while still relying on scripture. My research methodology for this paper will be concerned with finding philosophical, theological, and ethical foundations behind modern Protestantism as well as uncovering and consolidating examples from Biblical scripture that coincide with a progressive ecology. Pulling from the work of such scholars as German Sociologist Max Weber to Eco-Feminist Philosopher Val Plumwood, I will be able to correspond environmental ethics with evidence of ecological care and stewardship from the Bible.