A piece by Jonathan Brockopp, a lifetime Lutheran, professor of History and Religious Studies with a focus on early Islam, and director of an initiative on religion and ethics for Penn State’s Rock Ethics Institute. Posted with permission.
Question: Climate change is something that, until recently, was only discussed within the scientific community. But now others are getting involved from all types of disciplines, including religion and ethics. So what exactly does religion and ethics have to do with climate change?
Climate change is a scientific theory that helps make sense of the observable data that includes global temperature rises, increased carbon dioxide, acidifying oceans, and ice sheet melting among others. There are ethical issues about reporting the data, but by and large, religion plays no role in establishing the science of climate change.
So how does religion fit in?
Religion as an institution helps to guide our ethical thoughts in a number of ways, but one of the most powerful is the role of religions as repositories of cultural knowledge. The stories, rituals, and artifacts that make up religious experience help to define our lives – giving them continue reading…