Christianity's burden of guilt: an examination of Lynn White's thesis on the ecological crisis in the light of the biblical data

Hodder, Bryce S. 1949- (1995) Christianity's burden of guilt: an examination of Lynn White's thesis on the ecological crisis in the light of the biblical data. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

The second half of the twentieth century has seen increased interest in ecology, in particular, in showing a more caring attitude towards creation. Much of this interest is the result of the survival instinct and the awareness of the interdependency of all forms of life on this planet. There has, however, been an awakening regarding the intrinsic worth of all of creation. Humanity is finally coming to the conclusion that the inherent value and right to protection for all living things is vital for the survival of each species of life (plant, animal and human). -- There have been those, Lynn White in particular, who have argued that our ecological problems result from Judeo- Christian teachings and the root of the problem can be traced to the Genesis creation stories; this argument makes the point that Judaism and Christianity are the most anthropocentric of all of the world's religions. The present thesis seeks to examine this accusation and through a study of various scriptural passages and Judeo-Christian teachings through the ages show that White and others who share the same opinion have reached invalid conclusions. It will be shown that the burden of guilt for the ecological crisis cannot be placed solely on the shoulders of Judaism or Christianity. -- In this examination the interpretation of the Genesis creation stories through the ages and their connection to the current ecological crisis will be of significant interest. Various other Scripture passages, which have been used to support what Cameron Wybrow refers to as the "mastery hypothesis," will also be examined. As well, I will examine the importance of Judeo-Christian teachings during various historical periods. -- An examination of Biblical interpretations and various teachings or philosophies on humanity's place in the created order will refute the arguments of Lynn White and others. It will also determine that Judeo-Christian teachings, properly interpreted and followed, portray a creation made up of many components, each with intrinsic worth.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5919
Item ID: 5919
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves [166-175].
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Religious Studies
Date: 1995
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: White, Lynn Townsend, 1907-; Human ecology--Religious aspects--Christianity; Environmental ethics

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