Humanity operates like a force of nature capable of affecting the destiny of the Earth System. This epochal shift profoundly alters the relationship between humankind and the Earth, presenting the conscious, thinking human animal with an unprecedented dilemma: As human power has grown over the Earth, so has the power of nature to extinguish human life. The emergence of the Anthropocene has settled any question of the place of human beings in the world: we stand inescapably at its center. The outstanding question—which forms the impetus and focus for this book—remains: What kind of human being stands at the center of the world? And what is the nature of that world? Unlike the scientific fact of human-centeredness, this is a moral question, a question that brings theology within the scope of reflection on the critical failures of human irresponsibility. Much of Christian theology has so far flunked the test of engaging the reality of the Anthropocene. The authors of these original essays begin with the premise that it is time to push harder at the questions the Anthropocene poses for people of faith.
Jonathan Cole is assistant director of research at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, Charles Sturt University, Canberra.
Peter Walker is principal of United Theological College, Sydney.
Introduction: Theology on a Defiant Earth, by Peter Walker and Jonathan Cole
About the Contributors
This is public theology at its best, addressing the global issue of our time. The public challenge of the Anthropocene has been set out to devasting effect by Clive Hamilton. His analysis is thoughtfully explored in this seminal volume of essays by theologians and religion scholars in dialogue with Hamilton. This is also cross-disciplinary theological inquiry at its best, finding hope only after rigorous engagement with ‘Australia’s troubled prophet of the Anthropocene.’ I highly commend its wisdom for our time.