Caring for Creation (Paperback)

An Ecumenical Approach to the Environmental Crisis

By Max Oelschlaeger

Yale University Press, 9780300066456, 296pp.

Publication Date: February 21, 1996

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Many environmentalists believe that religion has been a major contributor to our ecological crisis, for Judeo-Christians have been taught that they have dominion over the earth and so do not consider themselves part of a biotic community. In this book a philosopher of environmental ethics acknowledges that religion may contribute to environmental problems but argues that religion can also play an important role in solving these problems—that religion can provide an ethical context that will help people to become sensitive to the environment and to elect leaders who are genuinely responsive to the ecological crisis.

Examining a broad range of Western religious traditions—from conservative Christianity and orthodox Judaism to Goddess feminism and nature religion—Max Oelschlaeger provides a sociolinguistic analysis of their creation stories and finds environmentally positive aspects in each of them. He asserts that religious discourse in the public arena can offer a way for such environmental issues as biodiversity, pollution, and population to be addressed outside the realm of special-interest politics. And he urges local churches to make "caring for creation" a theme for worship in their services; the majority of Americans, says Oelschlaeger, will discover an environmental ethic only through their religious faith.

About the Author

Max Oelschlaeger, professor of philosophy and religious studies at the University of North Texas, is also the author of the prizewinning book The Idea of Wilderness: From Prehistory to the Age of Ecology.