The whole of Nature, as has been said,
is a conjugation of the verb to eat, in the active and
William Ralph Inge (1860-1954), Dean
of St Paul's , Outspoken Essays
Traditional Christian attitudes to Earth's resources are
similar to its attitudes to animals. Christians had dominion
over Earth (Genesis 1:26) and had been told to subdue it*.
Since Earth was provided by God for the benefit of mankind,
and since God had given unfettered dominion over it, Christians
deduced that they could do to it whatever they wanted.
the ancients had cherished Earth as their mother, the Christian
view was that it could be raped and exploited at will. Jérome
Cardan summed up the Christian approach when he said "Wisdom,
like other precious substances, must be torn from the bowels
of the earth". As one medievalist has put it: "The
world ... existed simply to be cooked or distilled, or mutilated
in man's service"*.
It is hardly an exaggeration to say that Christendom was perpetually
at war with nature, fighting battle after battle to obtain security,
food or wealth. The fact that Earth's resources are limited
seems not to intrude into religious thought. The position is
gradually changing, but many Christians are still hostile to
conservation groups such as Greenpeace and Friends
of the Earth, apparently suspecting them of worshipping
the ancient Earth-goddess Gaia or some other Earth Mother.
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