Original Research - Special Collection: Structural subjects, Church History and Systematic Theology

Ecology: Its relative importance and absolute irrelevance for a Christian: A Kierkegaardian transversal space for the controversy on eco-theology

Hermen Kroesbergen
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 70, No 1 | a2719 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i1.2719 | © 2014 Hermen Kroesbergen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 May 2014 | Published: 10 November 2014

About the author(s)

Hermen Kroesbergen, Justo Mwale Theological University College, Lusaka, Zambia; Department of Dogmatics and Christian Ethics, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

The controversy about the importance of eco-theology or creation spirituality seems to be in a deadlock. Those who support it and those who oppose it do not even seem to be able to communicate with one another. On the one hand, Celia Deane-Drummond, for example, writes in her Eco-theology (2008:x): ‘I find it astonishing that courses on eco-theology do not exist in many university departments of theology and religious studies.’ Matthew Fox desperately asks in his Creation spirituality (1991:xii): ‘Need I list the [environmental] issues of our day that go virtually unattended to in our culture?’ On the other hand, evangelical Christians are known for their ecological ‘blind spot’ (Davis 2000), until recently at least. Pentecostal proponents of the prosperity gospel preach a consumer-lifestyle for all Christians, which is not very eco-friendly (cf. Kroesbergen 2013). Even in more mainline Christianity we find, for example, the well-known theologian Robert Jenson who writes in his Systematic theology: Volume 2 (1999:113, n. 2): ‘Recent waves of “creation spirituality” are simply apostasy to paganism. And it is such unguarded, even unargued judgement that is required of the church.’ We find eco-theologians, who do not understand that not everyone agrees with them on the one hand, and opposing theologians, who do not even feel the need to argue against them on the other hand. What would be needed to re-open communication between those in favour of eco-theology or creation spirituality, and those opposed to it?

Keywords

Realism; Non-realism; Language-games; Wittgenstein; D. Z. Phillips; Philosophy of Religion

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