Religion and Science are highly interconnected areas yet scholars related to both these areas often indulge in fiery discussions related to man and his origin and position in this world. The devout followers of Christianity argue that science is secondary and man has to follow spiritual truths and universal teachings to keep his faith in God and other deities. Quite on the contrary, science argues that there is no truth in divinity and life after death. Man has ruled this world and he will continue to do so forever. Scientists also claim that the theory of evolution given by Darwin in the late 19th century, is an explanation of man and his evolution, quite similar to the theory of gravity. Likewise, this theory does not pose any serious threat to religion because it is another school of thought. In the same manner, religious scholars counterargue that Darwin’s theory can create social and political unrest among the masses since it humiliates man and his dignity. These differences cannot be resolved since there cannot be found a common ground between these two school of thoughts. In her book, Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love, Elizabeth Johnson asserts that an ecological conversion creates common ground concerning this difference between God and modern man. This essay discusses the instincts and nature of Homo sapiens and describes their obsession with control. It also refers to the need of intellectual conversion of man to save other species.
Homo sapiens are curious creatures because they like to explore different meanings and phenomena hidden in this earth and beyond. In lieu of this, they have caused endless damage and spread turbulence by fighting among themselves for establishing hegemony and control. The idea of prioritizing one’s needs over another’s needs is a natural human instinct. However, this sense of superiority damages the natural order and spread chaos in the human world because according to divine laws, man is answerable to God for his actions. Likewise, man shares this world with many other species as well and therefore, he is accountable for every damage posed to them through the former’s actions. Animal kingdom and Phylum Chordata make a “communal creation” along with Homo sapiens, says Johnson in her book (Johnson 50). This signifies that not only is man responsible for keeping order within his species, he is also bound to follow a good conduct so that he does not destroy the ecosystem. Darwin’s theory of evolution encourages the idea of survival of the fittest and in this context, man is superior among the other species because he has intellectual abilities and this makes him undefeatable. This idea can prove fatal to the natural order of this world because the other species cannot defend themselves against the intellect of man although they are more powerful than him. This scientific belief clashes directly with its sub branch of ecology. Similarly, theology gives man the top most place in the hierarchical structure and makes other species subordinate. This belief makes it part of human faith that due to their intellectual abilities, homo sapiens are superior beings and have all the liberty to disrupt the natural order. These species are suffering through man’s direct and indirect actions when it comes to expansions and exploration of this world.
The attempts to control the world by Homo sapiens are made through multiple avenues. These include political, ideological, racial and cultural differences between the human race and it has deeply affected nature and other species. In the background of consumerism and industrialization, forests are cut down and deep waters are polluted with large barrels of crude oil. Besides, due to ideological differences between multiple races and countries, nuclear wars result into the disruption of social order. Man is going into outer space and this large achievement is damaging the natural ecosystem of the other species because of increased earth temperature which results in their extinction. They take edge of their singularity in comparison to the other species and misuse their intellectual abilities to the point of destruction. Their actions corrupt their soul too and they lose the sense of empathy which once came so natural to them. Both the species share many similarities too for instance, both cannot live in isolation and they live in separate colonies and habitats with other animals. Both have families and they are primarily driven by their hunger instinct to roam the earth and its different geographical areas (Johnson, Ask the Beasts). Animal kingdom and the countless species and subspecies present in it, give back to the earth by increasing its fertility. Similarly, kingdom Plantae also increases the fertility of soil and keeps the temperature of earth at moderate levels. The expansion ventures are destroying these kingdoms and man is not making any creative or positive change in this world despite having intellectual abilities. In this scenario, intellectual conversion is highly significant because man needs to be reminded about the fundamental purpose of natural balance in earth. Christianity and Christian ecology stress on the need of divine rules as a solution to man and its need for dominance and unethical activities in the face of earth (Gandolfo, “Ask the Beasts”).
Man has achieved endless scientific advancement since the beginning of this world and it has turned many impossible tasks into common tasks. Likewise, reproduction is a natural phenomenon and science believes that humans have to go through all the evolutionary stages. In this regard, commercialization and industrialization is badly affecting the natural ecosystem because human population is increasing day by day and at the same time, other species are declining in number (Gedge, “Living Entanglement and Revisionist Ecotheology”). This creates inequal distribution of resources since Kingdom Plantae and animal Kingdom depend on one another for growth and shelter purposes respectively (Gedge, “Living Entanglement and Revisionist Ecotheology”). Deforestation and space missions are increasing pollution in the natural atmosphere including land, air and water. There resources are made polluted and poisonous on the daily basis by man and his invasions, similarly, earth is already going through a dangerous ecological imbalance. Many animal and bird species are already extinct and the remaining species will soon be dead due to change in the climatic conditions (Gandolfo, “Ask the Beasts”). Man is dependent on other species directly or indirectly because they provide with food and add beauty into this world. To care for nature and animals, man has to be watchful of his actions and its consequences. He has to be less selfish and curious when it comes to exploration of earth and other planets. Scientists and religious scholars should come on terms with one another by prioritizing the rights and needs of the other species and keeping an ecological balance. Controversies and tubulations occur as a result of individual differences, both these areas should understand these disputes so that ideological and political crisis can be avoided. Man-made crisis affects other species and natural balance both directly and indirectly. World can be saved only in this way because man is an intellectual being and he should positively channelize his God gifted abilities so that everyone can be benefitted from it.
Homo sapiens are one of God's distinct creations and they are placed at the most top position in the hierarchy of natural order and other species are made secondary in position because they do not possess intellectual abilities. Unfortunately, man has misused these qualities to spread chaos in this world and established a hegemonical control within his species, as well as the animal, bird and plant species. This unethical control has enabled man to make use of both religious and factual knowledge aligned to his purposes. He does not read between the lines and think of himself as a singular creation which has all the rights over the resources found in earth. To reestablish the ecological system, man has to remove individual differences between science and religious school of thoughts as no teachings encourage violence and looting of resources. Hence intellectual conversion is necessary to restore the natural order given by God.
Gandolfo, Elizabeth O’Donnell. “Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love by Elizabeth A. Johnson.” Interpretation 69, no. 2 (April 1, 2015): 227–29. https://doi.org/10.1177/0020964314564839c.
Gedge, Elisabeth. “Living Entanglement and Revisionist Ecotheology.” Theology and Science 17, no. 4 (October 2, 2019): 511–23. https://doi.org/10.1080/14746700.2019.1670965.
Johnson, Elizabeth A. Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love. A&C Black, 2014.
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