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Beyond sustainability: hope in a spiritual revolution?

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ABSTRACT

A multi-disciplinary discourse on post-sustainability requires the entry of theology as a crucial element because, in presupposing a creator God who created the universe, it allows exploration of humanity’s condition in relation to the natural environment in the context of a transcendent yet present divine otherness, a perspective unique to theology. This article draws on relevant theological literature to offer an emerging theology on sustainability and a fresh perspective for debate. It specifically addresses sustainability as perceived by the United Nations and accepted by governments in which global capitalism goes unchallenged and questions the plausibility of such an approach from a theological perspective. It does this by exploring the human condition shaped by the capitalist system, especially desire and the pursuit of freedom and how this interacts with the natural environment and compares this with God’s purposes for humanity, nature and the world as his creation. An argument emerges in this paper which suggests that theology can offer the tools of hope in the shape of spiritual transformation and in the face of a failing illusory concept of sustainability.
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Keywords: Post-sustainability; Sabbath; capitalism; community; creation; relational; telos; theology

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 2017

More about this publication?
  • Global Discourse is an interdisciplinary, problem-oriented journal of applied contemporary thought operating at the intersection of politics, international relations, sociology and social policy. The Journal's scope is broad, encouraging interrogation of current affairs with regard to core questions of distributive justice, wellbeing, cultural diversity, autonomy, sovereignty, security and recognition. All issues are themed and aimed at addressing pressing issues as they emerge. Rejecting the notion that publication is the final stage in the research process, Global Discourse seeks to foster discussion and debate between often artificially isolated disciplines and paradigms, with responses to articles encouraged and conversations continued across issues.

    The Journal features a mix of full-length articles, each accompanied by one or more replies, policy papers commissioned by organizations and institutions and book review symposia, typically consisting of three reviews and a reply by the author(s). With an international advisory editorial board consisting of experienced, highly-cited academics, Global Discourse publishes themed issues on topics as they emerge. Authors are encouraged to explore the international dimensions and implications of their work.

    All research articles in this journal have undergone rigorous peer review, based on initial editor screening and double-blind peer review. All submissions must be in response to a specific call for papers.

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