The presence of environmental advocacy through the foundational theology of love, contemplation, and prayer in midcentury Christianity

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Publication Type honors thesis
School or College College of Social & Behavioral Science
Department Educational Studies
Faculty Mentor Andy Hoffman
Creator Posselli, Darcy
Title The presence of environmental advocacy through the foundational theology of love, contemplation, and prayer in midcentury Christianity
Year graduated 2012
Date 2012-05
Description In the 1968 essay "The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis," Lynn White Jr. makes an argument for what he evaluates as the influence of Christianity on Western culture, which has led to the environmental degradation that marks the 20th century. By looking at a few prominent theologians who were writing around mid 20th century, this paper argues a new perspective of the role of Christianity as a cultural force towards environmental advocacy. The writings of Paul Tillich, Thomas Merton, Ernesto Cardenal, and Denise Levertov are evaluated. For each theologian, the concepts of selfless love toward and contemplative prayer evoked by nature are major themes found in Christianity. Therefore, these thinkers advocate environmental care as a natural aspect of Christianity before and during the beginning of the modern environmental movement. In the paper, these concepts are evaluated through the lens of poetry. The role of poetry is evaluated because a lyrical treatment of the subject points back to the idea that nature evokes prayer, which naturally leads the human heart to self sacrificial love, and out of that love springs the poetry of environmental advocacy. Ultimately, in evaluating the works of the mentioned writers, the paper argues that the environmental crisis should not be viewed through the conception of history that White represents in his paper. Indeed there are several writers and advocates of environmental care present in Christianity throughout its history. As such, a linear, cause-and-effect evaluation that puts blame on Christianity is not an entirely valid argument.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Poetry - 20th century; Christianity and nature; Tillich, Paul, 1886-1965; Merton, Thomas, 1915-1968; Cardenal, Ernesto; Levertov, Denise, 1923-1997
Language eng
Rights Management (c) Darcy Posselli
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 294,024 bytes
Permissions Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/details?id=1289514
ARK ark:/87278/s6tj1wz5
Setname ir_htoa
Date Created 2016-10-18
Date Modified 2019-07-10
ID 205805
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6tj1wz5
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