Christian Environmental Ethics and Economic Stasis

In: Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology
Brian F. Snyder Louisiana State University USA

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The growth paradigm assumes that economic growth is objectively good because it leads to increased prosperity and utility maximization. Christian ethics oppose this worldview because it rejects the idea that economic prosperity is objectively good. Instead, Christian ethics are theocentric, assuming that God and the relationship with the divine is objectively good. Material prosperity is seen to interfere with this relationship. Still, there are at least two views of the human-divine relationship that have implications for environmental ethics. The first and most popular view argues that the human-divine relationship is mediated by the human-in-community relationship. Alternatively, individualistic theism posits that the human-divine relationship is individually available without community-centeredness. This individualistic view has been criticized as leading to an insufficient ethic of environmental care, however, here we argue that a radical dualism consistent with the Christian Gospels can lead to an ethos of environmental benevolence.

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