CC 325 B: Theology and Ecology
TR 3:00-4:15 pm – Professor Smith
Fulfills upper-level theology requirement.
All of us live on earth, but there are alarming signs that we are not living well. Climate change. Ozone depletion. Deforestation. Poisoned waterways. Hypoxic zones. Soil erosion. We are in the midst of a crisis that is not merely environmental, as though the problems existed solely within the environment in which humans happen to live. Rather the problem is ecological, since everything on earth exists in a complex web of interdependence. This means that the crisis is also one of human culture. Until fairly recently, human societies were closely involved with agriculture and were thus guided to varying degrees by an agrarian ethic that enabled humankind to live in ecological balance with the land that sustains us. As a result of globalization and industrialization, however, agrarian communities and their characteristic virtues have faded nearly out of existence. Today, the vast majority of urban and suburban dwellers not only contribute to the ill health of the planet, but we lack a coherent and compelling vision for how we might live differently. Some have argued that a Christian anthropocentric worldview is to blame for this catastrophe, while others insist that the Christian tradition possesses a wealth of theological resources that can in fact help us better care for the earth. This course engages with a variety of approaches—philosophy, literature, theology, ethics, biblical studies, conservationism—to better help us understand and respond to the present ecological crisis. Assignments include an interdisciplinary research paper (12-18 pp). Major readings will include: Bauckham, Living with Other Creatures; Berry, Remembering: A Novel; Berry, The Art of the Commonplace; Bouma-Prediger, Earthkeeping and Character; Davis, Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture; Leopold, A Sand County Almanac; Wirzba, From Nature to Creation.
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