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Religion in the Age of the Anthropocene

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Though responses to the Anthropocene have largely come from the natural and social sciences, religious responses to the Anthropocene have also been gaining momentum and many scholars have been calling for a religious response to complement scientific responses to climate change. Yet because Genesis 1:28 does indeed tell human beings to ‘subdue the earth’ monotheistic religions have often been understood as complicit in the human exceptionalism that is thought to have created the conditions for the Anthropocene. In distinction to such Biblical traditions, indigenous animistic cultures have typically respected all forms of life as ‘persons’ and such traditions have thus become a source of inspiration for ecological movements. After discussing contemporary Christian efforts to integrate the natural sciences and the environment into their responses to the Anthropocene, this article will turn to animism and seek to evaluate the risks and benefits that could ensue from a postmodern form of animism that could provide a necessary postsecular response to the Anthropocene.
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Keywords: Anthropocene; animism; climate change; human exceptionalism; relationality; religion

Affiliations: American University of Sharjah

Appeared or available online: November 26, 2019

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