Sunday, June 11, 2017

Enlightenment or Christianity as root of environmental problems

It's common to blame Christianity for environmental problems, resulting from its view of man as above nature. 

A while ago I came upon this book review, by a secular environmentalist, which points to the Enlightenment as a key to the destruction of nature in the Industrial Revolution: 
... early Enlightenment thinkers like Francis Bacon or Rene Descartes thought of nature as so much booty for humanity to pillage and condoned eco-cidal acts.
Johan Hari http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/books/2009/01/move_over_thoreau.html

Another is here:

Take, for example, John Locke’s assertion that nature without man is wasted and therefore if any man were to use his labour to harvest land then it should belong to him.

Joe Dyke https://gapsinthedialogue.wordpress.com/2009/10/26/the-environment-and-the-enlightenment/#more-81

And it is not hard to believe with a little reflection--while Christianity portrays man and nature as Gods creatures (with man over nature), the Enlightenment sees just Man, free to think and do all things. And if "Man is the measure of all things", where does that leave nature?