Mere Environmentalism
A Biblical Perspective on Humans and the Natural World

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    Mere Environmentalism
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In "Mere Environmentalism: A Biblical Perspective on Humans and the Natural World," Steven F. Hayward provides a thorough examination of the philosophical presuppositions underlying today's environmentalist movement and the history of policies intended to alleviate environmental challenges such as overpopulation and global warming. Relying on Scripture to understand God's created order, Hayward offers an insightful reflection on the relationship between humans and the natural world. "Mere Environmentalism" is a primer in the Values & Capitalism series intended for college students.





Chapters in "Mere Environmentalism"

1. The Environment in the Context of Christian Social Action
2. Environmentalism Today: Modern Forms, Ancient Roots
3. Different Shades of Green: From Extreme Utopianism to Practical Incrementalism
4. Human Alienation from Nature: A Variety of Sin?
5. Begin at the Beginning: Humans and Nature in Creation
6. Contested Questions About the Hierarchy of Creation: Four Implications
7. The Story of the Flood: Environmental Catastrophe or Validation of Anthropocentric Creation?
8. The Challenge of the Modern World: Wealth, Progress, and Materialism
9. The Revolution in Environmental Economics
10. Four Key Lessons
11. Shifts in Public Opinion
12. Liberty and the Environment: The Sobering Parable of Joseph and the Israelites in Egypt


Introduction to "Mere Environmentalism"

“What Would Jesus Drive?” This popular bumper-sticker inquiry is merely the most succinct expression of a growing interest in environmental issues among evangelical Christians. Beyond catchy bumper strips are a range of recently founded faith organizations with an environmental focus, such as the Evangelical Environmental Network and its magazine Creation Care, the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, the Evangelical Climate Initiative, the Regeneration Project, and the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation. The prominence of the issue of climate change is the most visible aspect of environmental concern today, but there are broader issues at stake involving the uniquely Christian perspective that views nature through the biblical lens of God’s creation.

"The purpose of this essay is to outline a distinctive Christian perspective on the environment and provide a framework for Christians to engage environmental issues."-Steven F. Hayward The purpose of this essay is to outline a distinctive Christian perspective on the environment and provide a framework for Christians to engage environmental issues and environmental activists who approach the subject from a conventional secular viewpoint.There are some important differences between Christian and secular perspectives on the environment. Christian environmentalism will be sometimes opposed to, sometimes parallel to, and sometimes harmonious with conventional secular environmentalism. Understanding the sources of these tensions and harmonies is crucial. There are many temptations and confusions to be avoided; there are many principles of action to embrace and celebrate. Christians who confront environmental issues can make a significant contribution to progress in solving ecological problems. Above all, this essay is intended as a starting point. It does not try to answer all questions or settle the most important questions definitely. Rather it aims to stimulate further thought about humans, our place in the natural world, and the glorification of God’s creation.

A deeper understanding of the subject should begin with a brief look at how the issue of the environment fits within the history of Christian social activism, and with reflection on the Christian understanding of humans and the natural world as it emerges from the Bible.

Steve Hayward on The American ►
Steve Hayward on the blog ►

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About the Author


Steven F.
  • Steven F. Hayward was previously the F.K. Weyerhaeuser Fellow at AEI. He is the author of the Almanac of Environmental Trends, and the author of many books on environmental topics. He has written biographies of Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan and of Winston Churchill, and the upcoming book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Presidents. He contributed to AEI's Energy and Environment Outlook series. 

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