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“The Historical Roots of our Ecologic Crisis”.

The Christian world view sees the universe as created by God, and humankind accountable to God for the use of the resources entrusted to humankind. Ultimate values are seen in the light of being valuable to God. This applies both in breadth of scope – caring for people (Matthew 25) and environmental issues, e.g. environmental health (Deuteronomy 22.8; 23.12-14) – and dynamic motivation, the love of Christ controlling (2 Corinthians 5.14f) and dealing with the underlying spiritual disease of sin, which shows itself in selfishness and thoughtlessness. In many countries this relationship of accountability is symbolised at harvest thanksgiving. (B.T. Adeney : Global Ethics in New Dictionary of Christian Ethics and Pastoral Theology 1995 Leicester)

Abrahamic religious scholars have used theology to motivate the public. John L. O’Sullivan, who coined the term Manifest destiny, and other influential people like him used Abrahamic ideologies to encourage action. These religious scholars, columnists and politicians historically have used these ideas and continue to do so to justify the consumptive tendencies of a young America around the time of the Industrial Revolution. In order to solidify the understanding that God had intended for humankind to use earths natural resources, environmental writers and religious scholars alike proclaimed that humans are separate from nature, on a higher order.[12] Those that may critique this point of view may ask the same question that John Muir asks ironically in a section of his novel A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulfwhy are there so many dangers in the natural world in the form of poisonous plants, animals and natural disasters, The answer is that those creatures are a result of Adam and Eve‘s sins in the garden of Eden.[13]

Since the turn of the 20th century, the application of theology in environmentalism diverged into two schools of thought. The first system of understanding holds religion as the basis of environmental stewardship. The second sees the use of theology as a means to rationalize the unmanaged consumptions of natural resources. Lynn White and Calvin DeWitt represent each side of this dichotomy.

John Muir personified nature as an inviting place away from the loudness of urban centers. “For Muir and the growing number of Americans who shared his views, Satan’s home had become God’s Own Temple.”[14] The use of Abrahamic religious allusions assisted Muir and the Sierra Club to create support for some of the first public nature preserves.

Authors like Terry Tempest Williams as well as John Muir build on the idea that “…God can be found wherever you are, especially outside. Family worship was not just relegated to Sunday in a chapel.”[15] References like these assist the general public to make a connection between paintings done at the Hudson River SchoolAnsel Adams‘ photographs, along with other types of media, and their religion or spirituality. Placing intrinsic value upon nature through theology is a fundamental idea of Deep ecology.