Anthropocentrism and Religion

I just had a thought I figured I would share while reading the course work for week three. Both the online articles on environmental ethics and the book Infinite Nature speak of how Christianity is anthropocentric in its views on the environment. I can see how this could possibly be true, but speaking as a Christian myself, I don’t feel this is the case with every individual with this religion. Sure, I believe that in the idea of creation, but I do not agree with the idea that this makes humans superior to other animals. I have always been taught that God said we were to use what we needed to survive, but it’s not like we were told to do whatever we wished. I’m not trying to go on a religious rant or anything, I just thought it was interesting that this generalization about the religion was in so many of the readings. I don’t know how anybody else feels about it, but I personally believe there can still be balance between having faith and taking care of the environment for the sole purpose that the environment deserves to be taken care of and not because of selfish human reasons.



3 responses to “Anthropocentrism and Religion

  1. Amanda, I just commented on Ava’s post about something similar like this and be not afraid! There are several of us out here who will go on a “religion rant” instead. I’m a theology nut and I always jump at the chance for a good theological discussion. A lot of “people” like you talked about that say they have dominion over animals take this piece of knowledge from Genesis where we see, “They will regin over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground” (Genesis 1:26). Without knowing what precise branch of Christianity you follow, I will go with what I know about Catholicism and that this verse is meant to show man that yes we are meant to have a certain “dominion” over the animals of the Earth but also have a degree of respect for them as they provide life. But I think the most important verse comes from Genesis as well: “Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it”. TEND is the word I think we should pay attention to and keep in mind when talking about a “religious Anthropocene”.

    • I completely agree with what you have said! I am non-denominational, but I have been always taught the same things that you speak of. Sure the Bible uses “dominion” in it when discussing this topic, but I’ve never been taught to take that completely literally and do whatever we want to the world around us. God did tell us we should tend to the world around us and that requires respect, as you said. I hate that the readings from this week point out the first verse in Genesis speaking about “dominance,” but do not point out the verse in the same book talking about taking care of the world as well.

  2. Amanda,
    I think a lot of people forget the other part of Genesis 1:27-28 which says to replenish the Earth. According to the Christian Faith we are to replenish and have dominion and subdue. This does not mean dominate the earth and neden6378 is right in saying Adam was told to tend and keep it. He was to use what he needed not be greedy. From the beginning God told his people to be the caregivers to everything he created.


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