Lynn White and Christianity Essay

Lynn White and Christianity Essay Example:

Nowadays, the problem of environmental protection is one of the most serious global problems. Obviously, the significant deterioration of environment and the planet ecology at large is basically the result of human activities since the enormous pollution of the environment is the result of the rapid industrial development of the world, especially Western civilization and the permanent intrusion of humans in natural processes that has undermined the ecological balance of the planet. No wonder that nowadays human activity is considered to be the major threat to environment. At the same time, some specialists, such as Lynn White, estimate that such a negligent attitude of humans to their environment is not caused by some pathological or suicidal inclination of human race but it is rather the result of the dominant ideology. In this respect, Lynn White underlines that nowadays the dominant ideology is based on Christianity and it is because of this ideology people did not get used to pay much attention to their environment that led to a serious environmental problem mankind face at the moment.

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On analyzing the position of Lynn White, it is necessary to underline that her position seems to be quite logical and convincing. First of all, it should be said that in her work “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis”, she argues that it is Christianity and Christian philosophy that are the major causes or roots of the current ecological problems. Naturally, at this point it is possible to argue that, at the present epoch, there are several religions that are playing equally important role. In fact, it is possible to name Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Confucianism and some other religions which, along with Christianity, are extremely significant to millions of people. Moreover, it is also possible to argue that Christianity as a religion is not so popular as it used to be in the Middle Ages, for instance. In fact, the modern society, especially Western one, may be viewed as atheistic society.

Nevertheless, all these arguments are not very convening. Firstly, it should be said that, unlike other universal and popular religions, Christianity has always played the dominant role since it was the religion of Western civilization which currently dominates in the world. This means that Western countries are the most developed and basically, it is due to them the ecological crisis has become a reality. In this respect, it is worthy of mention that Lynn White underlines that it is due to the Christian implicit faith in perpetual progress typical for Western societies mankind now faces the ecological crisis since the technological development and, thus, human intrusion in natural processes perpetually increases.

Secondly, it should be said that even though Christianity has probably lost its religious significance, according to Lyn White, Western societies still live in the epoch of “the post Christian age” (Lynn). This means that regardless growing atheism ethical and moral beliefs and principles of people remain unchanged.

Paradoxically, it is possible to find the support of Lynn White’s ideas in the work of John Milton, “Paradise Lost”. In fact, this work was revolutionary and was apparently anti-religious but, at the same time, this work perfectly revealed the essence of Christianity and its ideas. In this respect, it is possible to trace certain analogies in relation to Lynn White’s views. For instance, John Milton was one of the first who viewed the Biblical legend about Adam and Eve in a new way. According to him, these two humans rebelled under the impact of Satan against the tyrant God and, thus, they were ready to face the hardship[s that awaited for them after the violation of God’s rule. As they leave the Eden, they still believe in their own future, in the power of human mind to the extent that Adam says: “…what are Gods that man may not become as they?” (Milton). In such a way, Milton probably foresaw the future of Christianity which evolved and lost its religious significance but its ideology, psychology, and mentality remained unchanged since even, according to traditional Biblical interpretations, humans violated God’s norms but their punishment was the great challenge that only made the mankind stronger and, what is more, eventually, Christians are supposed to be rescued. In this respect, it should be said that Milton rather believes in human’s power than relies on God.

This is why it is possible to estimate that he also agrees that people are eager to know the world and, thus, they will increase their intrusion in natural processes. Moreover, in his work it is possible to interpret the God as nature itself. In such interpretation, Adam and Eve rebelled against nature and this is exactly what White warns about and underlines that it is Christianity that created such a belief in power of humans.

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