Chapter 3: Defining Our Terms and Direction

Given that biblical sources are not as ill-fit to environmental values as 1960s and 1970s environmentalists thought, the intellectually curious might next want to examine with fresh eyes the creation care teachings of the Bible. However, before we begin to look more deeply into different religious views of nature, the next two chapters will take a step back to lay a firmer foundation for exploring these topics. This chapter, complemented by Michael Pollan’s book Second Nature, provides some tutoring in how to share ethical views in a narrative, self-deprecating way that lends itself to the kind of conversations we have with friends. We suspect an approach like that is the kind we’ll need to achieve the the sort of conversation with everyone that global environmental problems invite.

Beyond introducing a more fruitful way of making an argument about environmental ethics, this chapter moves from Pollan’s debunking of the wilderness ethic and appreciation of our own stories to defining some of our terms and beginning to ask larger questions about the human story. Richard Baer’s article on Our Need to Control will become the point of departure for exploring deeper questions of epistemology and the philosophy of science in the next chapter.

A digital copy of Michael Pollan’s Second Nature is available here from the Internet Archive, a non-profit digital library.

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Religion and Environmental Values in America Copyright © 2019 by Gregory E Hitzhusen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.