In this article, I focus on Pope Francis’s “green” encyclical, Laudato Si’. After outlining some of its characteristics, I single out the pope’s engagement with anthropocentrism for critical discussion. The pope criticizes anthropocentrism (the view that human beings alone have intrinsic value), seeing it as a root cause of ecological destruction. Instead, he proposes what I would call a theocentric conception of nature. I criticize this view. First, I suggest that the pope is insufficiently critical in adopting a theocentric approach to the common creation story. Secondly, I argue from both a biblical-theological and a philosophical perspective against the pope’s resistance to the anthropocentrism of Genesis 1:26. Thirdly, I argue that because the pope opts for non-anthropocentrism, the encyclical falls short of offering a constructive way forward in relation to functioning in a technocratic society. Through these comments, I seek to strengthen the powerful and important message of this encyclical.
This article focuses attention on the capabilities approach, an increasingly influential approach to human development. The case is made that, in light of its popularity, a Christian public theological engagement with this approach is needed. The various attempts that have been made up until now to engage the capabilities approach from the perspective of Christian theology have been lacking in methodological awareness and clarity. On account of this weakness an explicit methodological framework is developed through a revised form of the method of correlation. For that purpose, the work of Paul Tillich, David Tracy and Dan Browning is put to use. What this revised method leads to in practice is examined through a dialogue with Martha Nussbaum (one of the main proponents of the capabilities approach) and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.