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image of Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

There is an increasing consensus among ecologists that global ecosystems are under strain from unsustainable consumption habits and human overpopulation. However, there is no such consensus among many religious persons. Many Christians for example, are quite concerned about both overconsumption and overpopulation while others are uncomfortable with any discussion of either, or specifically with discussions about overpopulation. This discomfort may be due to concerns about undermining God's sovereignty or opposition to specific family planning policies. Two other reasons for this lack of consensus are misunderstandings of science and of Scripture.

Central to the ecological understanding of the world is a belief in the concept of limitation. Some Christians, however, appear to believe that natural laws and limitations do not act on human populations. Furthermore, some Christians interpret the Bible as promoting high fertility. In contrast, I describe the ecological principles of allocation, optima, and limiting factors, which derive from the limitation of matter and energy. I propose to integrate these scientific principles with three scriptural principles: balance, wisdom, and corporate responsibility and to apply them to the current issue of overpopulation.


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