ICS Calendar Title: Christianity and the Ecological Crisis
ICS Course Code: ICSD 130509/230509 F16
Instructor: Chris Allers
Term and Year: Fall 2016
Last Updated: September 1, 2016
This course explores the intersection between a biblical view of creation and the current response (or lack thereof) to the threats and opportunities posed by our current ecological crisis. In doing so, the course will seek to enrich the student’s understanding of this crisis, including the various ideological factors that have contributed to its emergence.
Christian culture is often criticized for its perceived silence concerning (and even its contribution to) the global ecological crisis. We will study the work of thinkers who desire to address this perceived gap in Christian practice and reflection. In doing so, we will consider the normative question concerning the role a robust environmental ethic should play in a Christian’s walk of faith.
We will also explore the reasons why Christianity in the West has not been more concerned about the earth’s health, and with this critical discernment in hand, move on to think anew about what God’s love for the world might mean for Christians living in the midst of an ecological crisis. What (perhaps neglected) resources might there yet be within the diverse pockets of the Christian tradition that can help Christians respond appropriately to ecological concerns? What other reflective resources are being made available through new theological reflections on such movements as neo-agrarianism and ecofeminism?
Christianity: Friend or Foe?
Lynn White, “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis”; Clive Ponting, “Ways of Thought”; “Interview: Richard Land”
Economy and Ecology
Carter and Gale, “Lumberjacks in Lebanon”; Jared Diamond, “Easter’s End”
Science and Progress
Goudzwaard, Vander Vennen, and Van Heemst, “In the Shadows of Progress” & “Myth, Ideology, and Idolatry”
Christianity and the Gift of Creation
Wendell Berry, “Christianity and the Survival of Creation” & “The Gift of Good Land”
For the Beauty of the Earth I
For the Beauty of the Earth
For the Beauty of the Earth III
For the Beauty of the Earth IV
The Paradise of God I
The Paradise of God II
The Paradise of God III
The Paradise of God IV
Wendell Berry, “The Way of Ignorance” & “The Burden of the Gospels”
Assignment 2 Due
As a result of this course, students will be able to
Online discussion forum: 30%
Essay paper: 2,000 words (10-12 postings of approximately 200 words each)
Essay paper: 70%
Length: 3,000-4,000 words
Bouma-Prediger, Stephen. 2001. For the Beauty of the Earth: A Christian Vision for Creation Care. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
Wirzba, Norman. 2003. The Paradise of God: Renewing Religion in an Ecological Age. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Berry, Wendell. 1992. Christianity and the Survival of Creation. In Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community: Eight Essays. New York: Pantheon: 93-116.
. 2002. The Gift of Good Land. In The Art of the Commonplace. Ed. Norman Wirzba. Emeryville, CA: Shoemaker & Hoard: 293-304.
. 2005. The Way of Ignorance & The Burden of the Gospels. In The Way of Ignorance and Other Essays. Emeryville, CA: Shoemaker & Hoard: 53-67; 127-137.
Carter, Vernon Gill, and Tom Dale. 1996. Lumberjacks in Lebanon. In Living with the Earth: An Introduction to Environmental Philosophy. Ed. Kent A. Peacock (Toronto: Harcourt, 1996): 95-99.
Diamond, Jared. 1996. Easter’s End. In Living with the Earth: An Introduction to Environmental Philosophy. Ed. Kent A. Peacock (Toronto: Harcourt, 1996): 65-78.
Goudzwaard, Bob, Mark Vander Vennen, and David Van Heemst. 2007. In the Shadows of Progress & Myth, Ideology, and Idolatry. Chs. 1 & 2 of Hope in Troubled Times: A New Vision for Confronting Global Crises. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic: 15-45.
Land, Richard. 2006. Interview. In Religion and Ethics Newsweekly: An Online Companion to the Weekly Television News Program. www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/week1012/interview.html
Ponting, Clive. 1991. Ways of Thought. In A Green History of the World: The Environment and the Collapse of Great Civilizations. New York: Penguin Books: 141-160.
White, Lynn. 1967. The Historical Roots of our Ecological Crisis. In Science 155 (1967): 1203-1207.
Students with diverse learning styles and needs are welcome in this course. In particular, if you have a disability/health consideration that may require accommodations, please feel free to approach me and/or Student Services as soon as possible.
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