Discuss the impact of anthropocentric Christianity on environmentalism.

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Anthropocentric Christians can adopt a range of positions on environmentalism. At one extreme is the idea that, since God charged Adam with stewardship of the earth he created, it is their Christian duty to care for the earth and everything that lives on it. At the other extreme is the...

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Anthropocentric Christians can adopt a range of positions on environmentalism. At one extreme is the idea that, since God charged Adam with stewardship of the earth he created, it is their Christian duty to care for the earth and everything that lives on it. At the other extreme is the notion that the only vital Christian duties are to obey God's moral commands and to worship him. In this view, humans have little to do with protecting the environment, which can be left to the care of its creator.

However, as Charles T. Rubin explains in The Green Crusade: Rethinking the Roots of Environmentalism, any anthropocentric approach to environmentalism treats most of the environment simply as a means to an end. Anthropocentric Christianity is one of the more extreme forms of this approach, since Christians believe they have a divine mandate for regarding human beings as separate from and superior to the rest of the environment. Even those anthropocentric Christians who do want to care for the environment regard it principally as a tool for sustaining human life. Rubin advocates an ecocentric approach, which rejects the notion that some life forms have greater inherent worth than others and focuses on the preservation of all forms of animal and plant life. Rubin agrees with other environmentalists such as Patrick Curry in Ecological Ethics, in regarding all anthropocentrism as "speciesism," a moral failing analogous to racism. Christian anthropocentrism, according to this view, is a particularly pernicious environmental philosophy as it provides a moral justification for speciesism.

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