Lynn White's Views Of Eco-Theology Summary

2016 Words 9 Pages
An Analysis of Lynn White 's Views of Eco-theology in Comparison with the Response of the Academic Community
In 1967, Lynn White published an article in the Science journal that ushered in years of debate over the role of Christianity in the ecological crisis that the world is in today. In his article, White argued that Christianity is anthropocentric in nature, meaning that the religion views the world through a point of view that is human-centered. Subsequently, White makes a case regarding the role of Christianity 's anthropocentrism in contributing to the development of science and technology with a Western lens. As a consequence, White makes the statement that ecological disaster began to occur as more technology gave humanity power over
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To begin, White contends that the victory of Christianity over paganism in this era had a large effect on humanity 's relationship with the earth. Unlike Greco-Roman mythology, Christianity has a distinct creation story with the idea that time is non-repetitive and linear. Within this creation story, God creates the atmosphere, animals, and plants and finally creates the first humans, Adam and Eve. Then, the man named all of the animals signaling his dominion over them. Additionally, God makes a man out of clay in His image, which further sets man apart from nature. Due to the creation story, Lynn White states that "Christianity is the most anthropocentric religion the world has ever seen" (White 1967, 1205). Anthropocentric means considering humans the most important component of existence. In conclusion, White argues that religious zealous, formed by Christian creationism, gave Western science …show more content…
To clarify, cosmology refers to the science of the origin of the world. Additionally, within this cosmological approach, White argues the humanity acts according to their religious values or ideals. Critic Elspeth Whitney challenges this by asking, "Had White shown that religion was a cause of technological development, or simply that the technological development that was taking place for economic and political reasons was framed in Christian terms?" (Whitney 2005, 1736). This questions the role of religious values as moving forces in cultural history. If the former part of the question is true, Christianity needs to assess its religious values. However, if the second part of the question is true, then Christianity would need to work on engaging with economists and politicians. The nature of the question posed by Whitney is that there is no right answer. Instead, the question showcases a weakness in White 's argument. White does not provide evidence that Christianity caused technological and scientific development. Therefore, it can be considered that potentially Christianity did not cause environmental destruction, but that the technological development that occurred was simply framed by Christian terms. As a result, it is important to note that the relationship White derives between history and Christianity can be in many different degrees of correlation with one

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