Arguments By Linda Schaffer And Lynn White Jr. On The Early Development Of South Asia And A Theory On Westernization And The Ecosystem Crisis.

651 words - 3 pages

In The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis, Lynn White Jr. argues in almost excruciating detail that our current ecological crisis is a direct result of the Christianity mindset that nature is here to serve man. He begins with a story told by Aldous Huxley in which a valley that Huxley visited as a child was now overgrown with brush because the rabbits that kept the growth under control were dying of a disease introduced by farmers to reduce the rabbits' destruction of crops.This story sets the mood of man's destruction of nature and White goes into the history of western dominance of science and technology, which he believes recently took a wrong turn and started seriously damaging the environment. He argues that the acceptance of the Baconian creed that scientific knowledge means control over nature around the 13th century may be the most important event in the history of the human race since the invention of agriculture.White's main argument is the answer to his own question, "What did Christianity tell people about their relations with the environment?" (355). After contrasting the ancient intellectuals of the west's idea that the visible world has no beginning to the creation stories of Judaism and Christianity, White suggests that Christianity brought about a belief that man shares God's transcendence of nature. He furthers this argument by stating that, "Especially in it's Western form, Christianity is the most anthropocentric religion the world has seen." (356) History has provided many examples to back White's argument of this mentality, the most blatant example is the Church rejecting Copernicus' idea that the Sun, not the Earth, was the center of the Universe.The Christian dogma seems to be the real recipient of White's criticism, rather than the technology that actually did the harm. However, White does find a redeeming quality of Christianity in the form of St. Francis, who felt humility for man as a species and tried to set up a democracy...

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