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Midterm

RELG 270 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Ecotheology, Lynn Townsend White Jr., General Idea


Department
Religious Studies
Course Code
RELG 270
Professor
Eliza Rosenberg
Study Guide
Midterm

Page:
of 18
Relg 270 Midterm Study Guide
Please write a short paragraph or some bullet points about the ideas and issues related to your
assigned topic. Include information from both readings and lectures in your response.
Please finish your concepts by February 21st so we have enough time to review!
Thank you :D
Please recheck your concept assignments, new people are joining the group!
Judaism
Concept Notes
Lynn White's
“Historical
Roots...”: main
arguments
Main Arguments (slides): The Eco-Crisis is caused by the idea of material-technical “progress”
and “mastery” rooted in Western Christian thought. “Since the problem is essentially religious,
the solution must be as well.”
Lynn White Jr (1907 – 1987)
1869 “eco-crisis” term coined
Ecotheology emerged on global scale
Religion: long tradition, most texts don’t mention environment or ecosystem
White’s article created much controversy, coverage stating that the eco-crisis was due
to Western Christian thought of material-technical “progress” and “mastery”
Problem = religious
Solution = religious
Natural theology – neutral science – human ability to control
“unholy matrimony”; with science, application and control
Later changed mind
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Gottlieb's
typology
of religious
responses to
eco-crisis
In the western monotheistic religions, there was, until recently, a general consensus
that we should never forget that nature was God’s creation. (God’s Property) and not
our own.
Our excessive use of natural resources could be explained by the distinction between
humans and nature. When it is not so clear (e.g. every living things) it leads to more
respect.
Buddhism→ reincarnation as an animal possible
Hinduism→ entire universe is God
as we witness the environmental harm, we also lose ethical confidence in humanity’s
own worth
effects: global climate change, wastes (chemical, heavy metal, biological, nuclear), loss
of topsoil, crisis of biodiversity, loss of wilderness. devastation of indigenous people.
unsustainable patterns + quantities of consumption. genetic engineering.
nature is transformed in “the environment”. describes environment as “nonhuman world
whose life and death + future prospects, are in large measure determined by human
beings.
we still depend on nature for food and water, air + minerals but ecosystems largely
depend on some political arrangements for protection. They (every living thing) are
affected by man-made climate change, impartation of exotic species, habitat loss and
pollution.
earlier ecological problems were local, today’s are global.
Anthropocentric religions have been blindly supportive of progress -->more science,
more development.
Nowadays, religious leaders have become more concerned and sometimes are political
and ecological activists.
Some may suggest that humankind would be better off if religion, like sex, could be
practiced by two consenting adults in private.
2
creation
accounts
Genesis Creation Accounts:
Judaism & Christianity
Makes up first 2 chapters of the Book of Genesis
1st part: God creates the world in 7 days
Light & darkness --> separates the two into "day" and "night"
Water & sky
Land & Plants
Moon, stars, etc.
Fish & Birds
Animals & Man
God rests on, blesses, and sanctifies the 7th day
2nd part:
God creates the first man from dust & breathes life into him
God places him in the Garden of Eden and creates the first woman from his rib
as a companion
Genesis affirms monotheism & denies polytheism
Man is created first, then animals, then woman
Man seen as a reflection of God
2 sources: J & P
Themes of P:
Humans are "very good", everything else is seen as "good"
Sexes are created together
Vegetarian diet for all animals
Themes of J:
No scheme of days
Man created from dust
Woman created from man's rib as partner
Animals are "for" man
Noahide
covenant
(contract)
According to the Genesis, Noah and his family survived the Flood. When they left the
Ark, God made a covenant with them, he would never again destroy the Earth with a
flood if humans respect 7 laws (Seven Laws of Noah or the Noahide Laws).
All humans, as descendants of Noah, are subjected to those laws.
Bilateral agreement between humans and God: God won’t flood the world again and
humans will abide by 7 basic priesthoods.
The Seven Laws of Noah:
Do not deny God
Do not blaspheme God
Do not murder
Do not engage in incestuous, adulterous or homosexual relationships
Do not steal
Do not eat live animals
Establish courts/legal system to ensure law and obedience
dominion Genesis states that God has given human beings dominion over all living things.
Dominion is interpreted as stewardship/guardianship - living things are to serve
humanity. But human beings, as part of their dominion, are required to look after all
living creatures.
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