• From Paradox to Possibility: Gauging the Unique Contribution of Christian Voices to the Public Discussion of Ecological Crisis

      Kuipers, Ronald A.; Gerritsma, Sara L.; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2008-12)
      This thesis argues that western societies are caught in a paradox: Individuals and groups are increasingly concerned about the harmful effects humanity is having on the earth's health, while at the same time environmental degradation increases and societies are doing relatively little to stop environmentally harmful actions. Chapter 1 explores the deeper roots of our current situation, arguing that westerners are caught up in a harmful ideology that prioritizes economic growth and material prosperity at all costs, which means that steps to protect the environment will not be undertaken if these steps will have negative (or even neutral) impacts on economic growth. Suggesting a theocentric (God-centered) alternative to this harmful ideology, chapter 2 defends the expression of openly religious perspectives in the public political discussions of environmental crises but also emphasizes the responsibility of all participants to dialogue in a respectful, civil manner and to be open to truths coming from marginal perspectives. Finally, chapter 3 gives a number of concrete suggestions for public policies that can address the roots of ecological degradation and engage citizens who are ready and willing to take steps to reduce their environmental footprint.