Abstract

This study seeks to explore and analyze the ways in which Christianity has proposed positive ideologies towards the nonhuman, natural environment. In my research, I find that Christianity has an eco-conscience, which is exemplified in a number of ways. The first is through the ascetic practices of fasting, solitude, impoverishment, and meditation, which go as far back as the fourth century with the Desert Fathers. The second is through practices that focus one’s conscience on the idea of creation care, namely adherence to the ideologies of stewardship, as well as to the Sabbatical and Jubilee Years. Lastly, I argue that the ideologies of dark green religion, like the idea of the Earth as the living entity Gaia, can help Christianity refocus its eco-conscience to one that puts care and respect for creation at the forefront of its thoughts and actions. As a result of this study, I advocate two ideas. First, that a modified Gaian Earth Religion should be adopted into the Christian tradition as a way to understand a new image of God as a semi-Immanent and Transcendent being. Second, I advocate for a re-reading of the Lynn White thesis because the Bible provides a greater variety of evidence for understanding the existence of an eco-conscience in Christianity than White suggests.

Advisor

Rapport, Jeremy

Department

Religious Studies

Disciplines

Arts and Humanities | Biblical Studies | Christianity | History of Christianity | Religion

Publication Date

2015

Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

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© Copyright 2015 Emily H. Stevens