The “right of the environment”

We are mostly familiar with the concept of human rights.  In his address to the United Nations, Pope Francis affirmed that and arguably took it a little further, referring to “the right to existence of human nature itself,” which includes not only the right to life but also the right to “lodging, labor, and land.”  But he went on to assert  not just the rights of human beings but “the right of the environment.”

Can non-humans, such as animals have rights?  Can inanimate objects have rights?  In what sense can the environment have a right? [Read more...]

The sixth extinction will include us

Some scientists are saying that we have entered the sixth phase of mass extinction of animal species, the biggest since the dinosaur days.  They add that this sixth extinction is likely–due to climate change, etc.–to also take out the human race.

For the original scientific article, go here.  Notice:  One of the authors is Paul R. Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb, which in 1968 predicted global apocalypse by 1995.  (For a list of his failed predictions see this.  See also The Bet, a book on Ehrlich’s environmental apocalyptic warnings vs. free market optimism.) [Read more...]

If you embrace nature, embrace natural law

The Pope’s encyclical “Laudato Si” is winning fulsome praise from the left for its embrace of environmentalism.  But, as the editors of The Stream point out, those folks aren’t saying anything about 11 other teachings in that document that don’t accord so well with the spirit of the times.  These include the condemnation of abortion, a rejection of sexual immorality, and a tempering of feminism.  (See the 11 after the jump.)

The Pope is indeed advocating environmentalism, but he is doing so in the context of a larger theological perspective on matter, the physical universe, and objective reality.  Let me sum it up this way:  Embrace nature, but that means also embracing the natural purpose of sex (conceiving children), the natural body (so no transgenderism), the natural difference between men and women (so feminism will have its limits), and natural law in general (the connection of moral truth to objective reality).

We can still quarrel with the Pope’s environmentalism and his theology, but he is working from a worldview that flies in the face of most postmodernists who, in believing that there is no objective reality they are subject to, reject the very concept of nature.  That number includes, ironically, many environmentalists. [Read more...]

Sister Earth is trying to kill us

From Lutheran Satire‘s Hans Fiene:

The pope thinks we should view the earth as our sister. I don’t, mainly because I have a sister. While my sister and I have had our disagreements over the years, I haven’t spent my entire life trying to stop her from killing me. [Read more...]

The pope’s “seismic shift” in theology

Jay Michaelson says that the most important aspect of the Pope’s encyclical on the environment is that it represents a “seismic shift” in Christian theology and Western thought:

  • It says that human beings have a relationship with the earth, on a par with their relationship with God and with their neighbors;
  • It says that the Genesis account is “symbolic and narrative,” not literal;
  • It rejects the notion that human beings have “dominion” over nature;
  • It advocates a “mystical nature panentheism.” [Read more...]

The Pope goes all in on environmental issues

Pope Francis published his encyclical Laudato Si  (“praise to you,” from the first words of the document), fully embracing the environmentalist cause.  It warns of global warming, says man is responsible, and calls for sweeping changes to save the earth.  It also, as we will blog tomorrow, makes some sweeping theological changes that constitute a major change in Western Christianity.

You can read the entire document in English here.  After the jump is a news account.  Then I want to pose some questions for our discussion. [Read more...]