The politics of theology politicalideological interpretation of nature

A political theology specifies the liberation of the concept of nature towards the affirmation of un natural humanity. To close this chapter, I offer more detail on the theological style of interpretation that I am calling political-ideological interpretation of nature. Such a theological style departs from the style most commonly found in the area of ecological theology which, in its focus on the significance of Christian symbols in the framing of a vision towards consciousness raising (which...

Limits and scarcity

For Marx and Engels, the issue of scarcity was always associated with the 'Malthusian problem' the attempt to trace scarcity back to some abstract account of the relation between food production and the 'human population' rather than the dynamics of a particular society. Hence reference to natural limits tends to be rejected in their thinking. Benton takes a different view as we have already seen, the attempt to theorise the matter of the natural conditions of the process of production...

Word made fleshly the realm of naturesociety

To invoke the name of Jesus Christ is, in my account, to propose a differentiated and complex holism. Interpreted by reference to sociality, the ecological situatedness of un natural humanity must be grasped dialecti-cally by reference to human societies, natural societies and their relations in the pro nobis, sacrificial structure of creation. The description of humanity as un natural is dialectical humanity cannot be grasped by reference to itself (anti-natural) nor can it be subsumed in...

Unnatural relations

Ariel Salleh writes 'What ecofeminism demands is a fully amplified critique of capital's degradation of the conditions of production, based on a recognition of the nature-women-labor nexus as a fundamental contradiction.'19 We may note, first, that such a nexus is not the only contradiction. But central to the ecofeminist case I am drawing on here is the insistence that attention must be paid to the interrelation between social relations of production and material relations of production. That...

The cosmic heights of deep ecology

Despite all these difficulties, deep ecology remains an important force in green politics. Why Where lies the attraction of deep ecology At the end of The CosmologicalSelf, Freya Mathews offers an important clue deep ecology is also concerned with meaning. That is, in this formulation deep ecology has profound 'religious' commitments. For the correct interpretation of the human self as related to the cosmic self bestows meaning. In one sense, Mathews's position permits the theoretical...

Socialising ecology

Although it has other adherents in, for example, John Clark and Janet Biehl, social ecology is associated primarily with the work of Murray Bookchin. Suspicious of the academy, none the less Bookchin's uvre includes at least ten books neither holding nor seeking an academic position, he co-founded in 1974 the Institute of Social Ecology in Rochester, Vermont. With a history of political activism going back to the late 30s, Bookchin has moved through several phases communist, Trotskyite and now...

The crucifixion of nature and the realism of the cross

The political theology proposed here addresses the matter of the shape of creatureliness in the perspective of the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Attempts to reconfigure un natural humanity will always encounter the cross of Christ all utopian attempts are, indeed, 'crossed'. Put differently, Christian hope is founded upon a cross thereby, it is intensely realistic. For a political theology of nature, what does this mean. According to Peter Hodgson, the cross has a certain meaning the...

Creation and incarnation

How is the creaturely to be understood Trinitarianly - that is, by reference to Jesus Christ - to include both ecological society and ecological nature. At issue here, I shall argue, is the matter of creaturely difference and the origin of that difference in the creative act of the triune God in incarnation. From the matter of creaturely difference, the issues of both the common origin and destiny of ecological society and ecological nature and the contingency of creation come into theological...

Space place and environment

Marginality, in turn, requires a further step towards concretion. For marginality, the practical interpretation of scarcity and natural limits, occurs only within concrete processes of space and time. 'Implied in the concepts of external physical conditions, laborpower, and communal conditions', writes O'Connor, 'are the concepts of space and social environment.'46 Only through temporal-spatial practices are problems of scarcity and limit to be grasped. The theme of scarcity cannot be divorced...

Contemporary dilemmas personalism and naturalism

In the previous chapter I argued that the political-ideological interpretation of nature requires a theological conceptuality to promote a direct inquiry into the theology of nature, humanity and God. The origin, methodological status and key words of this conceptuality are the subject of the final sections of this chapter. What dilemmas will such a direct inquiry encounter, however. Difficulties in the interpretation of nature emerge in two general tendencies. Both theological and...

Incarnation as pedagogy

The further reconstruction of a political theology of nature will need to consider the implications of the inquiry in philosophical theology undertaken in part II. Given the theological critique of the previous chapters, which ways forward are to be affirmed And which denied. In the theologico-political analyses presented through chapters 3 to 6, the problem of nature as 'whole' was raised. We have found ecocentric approaches to be, at the least, problematic. The ascription of good, worth and...

How deep is deep ecology

What, then, are deep ecology's basic philosophical commitments. Deep ecology holds to the 'universal' aspect of nature. To amend Margaret Thatcher's dictum a little, nature cannot be bucked. However, this is nature not in its particularity and variety but in its 'universal' aspect. One of its leading exponents, George Sessions, summarises deep ecology thus 'The crucial paradigm shift the Deep Ecology movement envisions . . . involves the move from an anthropocentric to a spiritual ecocentric...

Christological placing spatiality

The enlisting of Simon of Cyrene to carry the cross of Jesus, as reported in the Synoptic Gospels Matt. 37.32 Mark 15.21 Luke 23.26 , is an interesting literary device this carrying of the killing instrument by a passer-by functions to delay Jesus' encounter with its unyielding wood. However, it is against this worked-over tree that the body ofJesus is eventually smashed. Nor is this Jesus' only encounter with non-human nature during his postbaptismal testing, Jesus lives with the wild animals...

Bibliography

Anderson, Perry, English Questions Cambridge Polity Press, 1992 . Barth, Karl, Church Dogmatics 11 1 Edinburgh T. amp T. Clark, 1957 . Church Dogmatics Iii 1 Edinburgh T. amp T. Clark, 1958 . 'The Barmen Declaration', in Clifford Green ed. , Karl Barth Theologian of Freedom London Collins, 1989 , pp. 148-51. Bauman, Zygmunt, Modernity and theHolocaust Cambridge Polity Press, 1989 1991 pbk. . Benton, Ted, 'Ecology, Socialism and the Mastery of Nature A Reply to Reiner Grundmann', NewLeftReview...

An ecological pneumatology

A much-cited and early Christian benediction interprets the Holy Spirit in terms of fellowship 'and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all' 2 Cor. 13.13 New Jerusalem Bible NRSV has 'communion'. Cf. 1 Cor. 12.13 . In the Nicene Creed, the Spirit is described as 'the Lord, the giver of Life'. How shall these commitments be understood to develop the theology of the common realm of God, nature and humanity. The first point is to note that fellowship is not to be restricted only to human...

Introduction ecocentric and anthropocentric approaches in political ecology

The issue for a political theology of nature is how to give an account of the content of the ecological relations operative in this world of creatures. The opening narratives in Genesis offer us, at a minimum, an account of the creation as a sequence of forms which culminates in a world of creatures. These are narratives of creation the world of creatures emerges as a 'consequence' of divine action. However, holding to creation is not the same as articulating in theological form how the human...

Into the depths philosophies of deep ecology

To answer these questions, I turn to the writings of Fox and Mathews, drawing on other sources where appropriate.37 I wish also to stress that both these writers are concerned - directly or indirectly - to move deep ecology away from discussions of value and towards metaphysics and thereby to rescue deep ecology from an identification with value theories in ethics. There is a sense in which the matter of the value of nature has never been Naess's primary concern. This clue is developed...

Dialectical naturalism

'A social ecology, as a holistic vision', writes John Clark, 'seeks to relate all phenomena to the larger direction ofevolution and emergence in the universe as a whole.'34 In his 'dialectical naturalism', Bookchin proposes to think together nature and society. 'Social ecology, in effect, stands at odds with the notion that culture has no roots whatever in natural evolution.'35 We cannot then be freed from nature if capitalism seeks to do so, it is false. Bookchin thereby opposes attempts to...

Scarcity sustainability and marginality

There are important differences between the views, presented above, of natural limits by two contemporary Marxists. O'Connor concentrates on the theme of political economy and seeks to introduce the matter of political ecology only and always in relation to economic accumulation hence a second contradiction of capitalism is proposed in a tension between the development of the forces and relations of production and the conditions ofproduction. Thus the basic shape ofhistorical materialism is...

From natural theology to philosophical theology

At this point it will be objected that the common realm of God, nature and humanity is an exercise in neat natural theology and as such has no place in the theology of nature. Here we need to make some careful distinctions. Natural theology is not a single theological approach, as Wolfhart Pannenberg has conclusively shown.17 A form of natural theology that is worth defending takes its cue from core theological interpretations of the nature of God and the world. It is dedicated to that...

Confederal municipalism

Social ecologist John Clark writes 'If social ecology is an attempt to understand the dialectical movement of society within the context of a larger dialectic of society and nature, ecocommunitarianism is the project of creating a way of life consonant with that understanding.'47 Although 'confederal municipalism' is Bookchin's preferred term for his programme of anarchist politics, Clark's summary captures well the trajectory of Bookchin's political theory. Bookchin proposes a politics, a...

Ecological reconstruction of Marxism

'In almost every period since the Renaissance', writes Murray Bookchin, 'the development of revolutionary thought has been heavily influenced by abranch ofscience, often in conjunction with aschool of philosophy'.1 Can the development of the revolutionary thought of Christianity be advanced by a combination of ecological science and Marxist philosophy of praxis. 2 That is the question for this chapter. In what ways might the task of a political theology of nature be advanced through dynamic yet...

Ecomaterialism

From such a reading, it is not hard to see why James O'Connor might characterise historical materialism as neither sufficiently historical nor material.14 To overcome this lack, two moves are required. First, environmental history must be grasped as the culmination of historical inquiry the history of nature is now to be included alongside the history of humanity. Second, ecology not restricted to the discipline of the life sciences must be understood as the telos of materialism in which the...

Sexedgendered relations unnatural identities

As a mode of inquiry, ecofeminism is beset by two difficulties first, to persuade feminists that their position requires them to embrace ecofeminism and, second, to persuade ecologists, especially deep ecolo-gists, that gender-blind analyses are insufficiently radical. In philosophical ecofeminism, several essays by Karen J. Warren are treated as of central importance. With these I shall begin. Although Warren notes that there is little agreement on the 'important connections 6. In making this...

Common realm

According to Ferruccio Rossi-Landi, there is an important relationship between what he calls the natural sciences and the spiritual sciences both have a tendency to work with a reified notion of the natural.1 Both sciences, Rossi-Landi continues, are non-dialectical one privileges space over time, the second interior space over the public realm. Both are 'static'. Here lies the difficulty and challenge for a theology ofnature. For a connection, restrictive and damaging, may be noted between the...