Special Issue "Religion and Ecology in the Anthropocene"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 May 2015)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Michael S. Hogue

Professor of Theology, Meadville Lombard Theological School, 610 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60605, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 312.546.6480
Interests: religious ethics; religion and ecology; religion and science; religious naturalism; ecotheology; political theology; pragmatism; process philosophy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This special issue of Religions features scholarship at the leading edge of the broad area of study referred to variously as "religion and nature", "religion and the environment", and "religion and ecology". In combination with the urgencies of the ecological crisis, the intensive interdisciplinarity and theoretic rigor of this area of study have turned it into one of the most innovative in the field of religious studies. The numerous comparative, historical, philosophical, theological, ethical, and political issues that emerge within this broad area of study have led to the creation of new academic journals, graduate programs, and professional organizations. But as important as all of this scholarly innovation may be, to think at the intersection of religion and ecology in the early 21st century-in the midst of the epochal geo-cultural transition marked by the concept of the Anthropocene, and in the midst of planetary ecological crisis and massive climate injustice-is to think at the edge of some of the most vital questions the human species has ever faced. These include, among others, questions relating to the future of the history of the human species; questions of social and environmental justice in an economically, politically, and ecologically asymmetrical world; questions about the value, dignity and agency of animal, vegetable, and mineral life; questions regarding the dependence of human life on other- and more-than human life; and, of course, questions about the diverse functions of religion in relation to the socio-cultural practices and political economic systems that drive the urgency of these other questions. With questions such as these in mind, the articles in this issue of Religions present creative interventions in several interrelated and increasingly important areas of inquiry: the political and moral significance of religious naturalism and theologies of immanence in a time of ecological crisis and climate injustice; the mutual reconfigurations of philosophies of religion and nature engendered by the geo-cultural shifts marked by the discourse of the Anthropocene; the moral and political disjunctions between the planetary scale of the climate crisis, the contingent cultural and historical roots of its causes, and the unevenness of its impacts; and new ways of performing economy, politics, and religious community in response to the insecurities and contradictions of late global capitalism. Through these focal concerns the purpose of this special issue is to bring the most vital scholarly work in religion and ecology to bear on some of the most urgent moral and political challenges the human species has ever faced.

Prof. Dr. Michael S. Hogue
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • religion and ecology;
  • religion and nature;
  • religion and the environment;
  • religion and the Anthropocene;
  • religion and climate crisis;
  • religion and capitalism;
  • philosophies of nature;
  • theologies of nature;
  • ecotheology;
  • environmental justice;
  • political theology and ecological crisis;
  • political theology and late capitalism;
  • religion and political economy;
  • religion and democracy;
  • ecology and democracy

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle The Green Revolution in the World’s Religions: Indonesian Examples in International Comparison
Religions 2015, 6(4), 1217-1231; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel6041217
Received: 2 June 2015 / Accepted: 8 October 2015 / Published: 16 October 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (196 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Similar to progressive political movements, the programs of many religious and spiritual groups today are converging around a shared commitment to address the impending global ecological crisis. The paper explores this convergence by looking at the impact of environmentalist thought on religious discourses [...] Read more.
Similar to progressive political movements, the programs of many religious and spiritual groups today are converging around a shared commitment to address the impending global ecological crisis. The paper explores this convergence by looking at the impact of environmentalist thought on religious discourses in modern Indonesia, the author’s primary research area, and comparing the findings to similar trends elsewhere. The research shows that the environmental movement is causing a transformation in how people understand the character and practical relevance of religion and spirituality today, in Indonesia and beyond. For some eco-spiritual groups, a heightened environmental awareness has become the central tenet of their monistic religious cosmology. The more significant phenomenon, however, is a socially much broader shift toward more science-friendly and contemporary religious cosmologies within the mainstream of major world religions. Islam and Christianity now officially accept that other forms of life have a right to exist and that humanity has a custodial obligation to protect nature. This new outlook rectifies the previous tendency within dualist religions to view nature as vastly inferior and servile to human interests. It simultaneously is a rejection of materialist-scientific cosmologies widely prevalent in late modern consumer societies, which deny any notion of the sacred. This trend in the world’s religions toward a re-evaluation of the cosmological status of humanity in relation to nature and the sacred, I argue, will enhance the prospects of the global environmental movement’s campaign for environmental sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Ecology in the Anthropocene)
Open AccessArticle The Roman Catholic Tradition in Conversation with Thomas Berry’s Fourfold Wisdom
Religions 2015, 6(3), 794-818; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel6030794
Received: 26 May 2015 / Accepted: 26 June 2015 / Published: 2 July 2015
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Abstract
Taking the threatening anthropogenic global environmental destruction—the anthropocene—as a starting point, this paper examines the Catholic tradition, which has remained relatively indifferent to this looming crisis, asking what might help it to change its focus from a decided human ecology to one that [...] Read more.
Taking the threatening anthropogenic global environmental destruction—the anthropocene—as a starting point, this paper examines the Catholic tradition, which has remained relatively indifferent to this looming crisis, asking what might help it to change its focus from a decided human ecology to one that counts the human as an integral part of the larger natural ecology. Thomas Berry, whose teachings underlie this work, suggests that since the tradition has grown out of a cosmological perspective that places the human being at the center of ethical deliberations and separate from the natural world, it needs to rely on other Earth-centered and ecological expressions to help Catholics to discover more harmonious avenues of being on Earth, which he describes as a fourfold wisdom—the wisdoms of indigenous peoples, classical traditions, women, and science. Through a critical weaving of these wisdoms into a conversation with the Catholic tradition, this article examines the efficacy of the fourfold wisdom to transform the tradition into a more Earth-honoring expression. While this work concludes that the fourfold wisdom is effecting change where engaged, it also reflects on the challenges and opportunities this engagement faces in light of current realities within the Catholic tradition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Ecology in the Anthropocene)
Open AccessArticle Climate Weirding and Queering Nature: Getting Beyond the Anthropocene
Religions 2015, 6(2), 742-754; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel6020742
Received: 11 May 2015 / Revised: 31 May 2015 / Accepted: 5 June 2015 / Published: 23 June 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (214 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Though many scientists and scholars of the environmental humanities are referring to the current geological era as the anthropocene, this article argues that there are some problems with this trope and the narrative that emerges from it. First, responsibility for the current era [...] Read more.
Though many scientists and scholars of the environmental humanities are referring to the current geological era as the anthropocene, this article argues that there are some problems with this trope and the narrative that emerges from it. First, responsibility for the current era of climate weirding is not shared equally, some humans are way more responsible than others. Second, the claim of the anthropocene works rhetorically to maintain a sense of human exceptionalism from the rest of the evolution of life on the planet. Third and finally, the suggestion that this geological era be named the anthropocene suggests that the problem and the solution to our ecological crisis lie with Homo sapiens. Does this not re-create the sense of mastery that has fueled contemporary planetary ills in the first place? This paper argues that the idea of agency must be reconfigured and redistributed throughout the planetary community in order to deal with the wicked problems arising from climate weirding and an uncertain future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Ecology in the Anthropocene)
Open AccessArticle How to Survive the Anthropocene: Adaptive Atheism and the Evolution of Homo deiparensis
Religions 2015, 6(2), 724-741; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel6020724
Received: 30 April 2015 / Revised: 25 May 2015 / Accepted: 4 June 2015 / Published: 17 June 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (342 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Why is it so easy to ignore the ecological and economic crises of the Anthropocene? This article unveils some of the religious biases whose covert operation facilitates the repression or rejection of warnings about the consequences of extreme climate change and excessive capitalist [...] Read more.
Why is it so easy to ignore the ecological and economic crises of the Anthropocene? This article unveils some of the religious biases whose covert operation facilitates the repression or rejection of warnings about the consequences of extreme climate change and excessive capitalist consumption. The evolved defaults that are most relevant for our purposes here have to do with mental credulity toward religious content (beliefs about supernatural agents) and with social congruity in religious contexts (behaviors shaped by supernatural rituals). Learning how to contest these phylogenetically inherited and culturally fortified biases may be a necessary condition for adapting to and altering our current natural and social environments in ways that will enhance the chances for the survival (and flourishing) of Homo sapiens and other sentient species. I outline a conceptual framework, derived from empirical findings and theoretical developments in the bio-cultural sciences of religion, which can help clarify why and how gods are imaginatively conceived and nurtured by ritually engaged believers. Finally, I discuss the role that “adaptive atheism” might play in responding to the crises of the Anthropocene. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Ecology in the Anthropocene)
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