Colgate University

First-Year Course Offerings — Fall 2022

RELG 236   Religion, Science, and the Environment
DistributionHuman Thought and Expression
Core AreaNone

In the 17th century, religion lost its claim to the cosmos; the religious knowledge of the order of nature ceased to possess any legitimacy in the new paradigm of science that came to dominate the West. Until the 1960s, Christian thinkers considered it the great glory of Christianity that it alone among the world's religions had permitted purely secular science to develop in a civilization in which it was dominant. After several centuries of an ever-increasing eclipse of the religious significance of nature in the West and neglect of the order of nature, humans are now experiencing environmental crisis: global warming; the destruction of the ozone layer; climatic and weather pattern changes; soil erosion; death of animals, birds, and marine life; and the disappearance of some plant species. Today the very fabric of life is threatened and the future of our world hangs in the balance as nature is threatened by destruction caused by an environmental crisis that has gone unchecked for several centuries. What can be learned from religions of the world that will save humanity and nature? What is the relationship between religion, nature, science, and technology? Discussions include views from various religious traditions concerning nature, concept of the human, notions of progress and destiny, faith and science, ecological theology, ecofeminism, justice and sustainability, and spirituality.