TOWARDS AN AFRICAN-CHRISTIAN ENVIRONMENTAL ETHIC
TARINGA, Nisbert Taisekwa (2014): TOWARDS AN AFRICAN-CHRISTIAN ENVIRONMENTAL ETHIC. Bamberg: University of Bamberg Press.
Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg, Lehrstuhl für Neutestamentliche Wissenschaften
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Parallel erschienen als Druckausg. in der University of Bamberg Press, 2014 (15,00 EUR)
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Volume 13 of BiAS series brings out into prominence issues at the bottom of dialogue between African and Christian attitudes to nature. The Shona notion of hierarchy of sacredness of nature as opposed to the intrinsic value of nature forms a barrier to a possible reconciliation between Shona and Christian attitudes to nature. This is largely based on the belief that some aspects of nature in Shona are imbued with spirits. Although sacred aspects may be accidentally protected, there is a weakness in the discriminative attitudes that leaves other aspects vulnerable. It appears the Shona have yet to extricate themselves from an ethic based on fear of ancestral spirits to conscious assessment of scientific causes of ecological imbalances. Shona attitudes to nature fail to take account of the denial of the sacredness of some aspects of nature. The Christian attitudes to nature on the other hand, propound the doctrine of the equal worth and equal integrity of all aspects of nature, rather than a discriminative sacredness of nature. The attitudes are, however, based on the assumption that nature is purely material. This position results into divergent attitudes to nature. Attitudes to nature presented from a Christian perspective appear reluctant to identify divinity with natural phenomena. Christianity suggests the idea of creation value to bridge this gap. To this end, the creation value to which Christian attitudes tend to lend support, might well act as common denominator between Shona and Christian attitudes to nature particularly in the light of eco-spirituality and move towards African-Christian environmental ethics.
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April 7, 2014