I am a Jesuit priest, currently working as the Parish Priest at Holy Family Parish, Mt Druitt in Western Sydney. I have Masters degrees in Theology (MCD), and Science & Religion (Edinburgh), as well as a Grad Dip Arts (History & Philosophy of Science), Grad Dip Education (Secondary) and Bachelor of Science (Chemistry). I am especially interested in the environment within the city landscape, as well as a growing appreciation of how Indigenous spiritualities (Aboriginal, Pacific Islander & Celtic) may be able to help modern ecology and theology. I am also exploring ways of using art with theology in new ways, especially with those who are not great readers of theology.
Description: Not all eco-theologies are equal; there is still a profound dualism in our different approaches to ecological theology. Both of the discourses, however, are steeped in history and have biblical roots.
Many theologians work out of an “anthropocentric sustainability” model that places humanity at the centre of power, where nature is for the benefit of humanity and our future, and where the economy and personal freedom reign as markers of success. This model comes out of the biblical tradition of having ‘dominion’ over creation (which is not always a bad theology), and being made in the image of God. Its popularity in theology comes with this view of our superiority over creation, and in its better interpretations, our stewardship of creation.
The alternative, of “cosmological holism”, places nature and humanity on equal footing; which means an equitable distribution of resources and a need to listen to more than our own voices in the dialogue about the future. This theological model can trace its biblical roots to humanity’s creation out of the dust of the earth, and the command to till and keep the earth. Here we lose our superiority and join the rest of nature on the evolutionary tree of life. The burden is on humanity to find a deep ecology of listening and uniting with nature for our future.
This paper will unpack each discourse to discover the strengths and weaknesses for the future of eco-theology.