Here are our essays for Part II of Chapter 6: “The Call of Humanity” in Christopher Southgate’s The Groaning of Creation.
We discussed the elements of ethical kenosis, the role of ambition in life, the limits of scientific discovery when confronted with ethics and metaphysics, and whether or not Christians could view themselves or humans as animals, as well as considering all the pain and harm we have inflicted upon the animal world – much of which we give little regard to as Matthieu Ricard, a Buddhist monk, shares in the video above. Though many Christians preach compassion to others, this is almost always exclusively to other humans, with little or no regard to other animals, with the exception perhaps of popular pets like dogs and cats.
In regards to the last essay, I’ve come to the tentative conclusion that the calling to steward the earth and environment will most likely be taken up (or currently is being taken up) by secularists or non-Christians as Christians for the most part have abandoned this calling. Personally, I believe Gnosticism, anti-science, and anti-intellectualism have embedded themselves too deeply into the modern-day Christian Church for Christians to act positively in preserving the environment or caring about it. Many are too awash in premillennial dispensationalism that fascinates over the end of the world to come soon, the Rapture, too focused on heaven, and thinking that the material world is evil and only the spiritual is good (hence Gnosticism), moral therapeutic deism, etc. to care about the nonhuman world unfortunately. When a handful of Christian environmentalists do try to do something about global warming or stewarding God’s creation, they are mostly looked down upon and ridiculed as leftist-extremists by other Christians.