(Continued from the preceding post.)
What paths have theologies and religions taken on these issues? How does this multidimensional, cross-cultural communion of saints view the trinity of God, humanity, and other nature? Is there pattern we can discern? If we loosely use the terms ultraconservatives, conservative, mainline, and progressives, we can see a pattern of religious and theological response within Christianity that goes something like this. On the ultraconservative side, where there is any sensitivity to these issues, there is a slow but growing awareness of an Earth care responsibility based on a view that places God at the top of the heap, humanity at the top of what are referred to as the 'created orders,' and everything else being created by God for human use. Also, these theologies frequently view the cosmos as being fixed in time and space. That really doesn't leave much room for the evolution of anything, and evolution is the unifying principle of the biological sciences, thus, making claims coming from those sciences very suspect. Two other factors make it difficult for environmental issues to enter into Christian theologies of the Christian Right. The first is the focus of many of these theologies on an immediately pending apocalypse at the end of which is predicted , the return of Jesus, the Christian Son of God. You see, if the perousia is just around the corner, why worry about warming temperatures, melting ice, and the extinction of species. A second factor is the focus of the ultraconservative Christians on political power. On the far Christian Right, the Dominionist movement, according to their leadership, is dedicated to insuring that the US becomes a Christian nation that will be the primary building block in a Global Christian empire. These predisposition to apocalypse and the development of a theocratic Christian nation in the United States block any attention to environmental concerns, except as a cause to rally against.
(For a referenced version of these thoughts please go to http://www.greeninstitute.net/, look down the left side of the page and click on Interdisciplinary Initiative.)