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Earth-honoring FaithReligious Ethics in a New Key$
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Larry L. Rasmussen

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199917006

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199917006.001.0001

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The Sacred and the Commodified

The Sacred and the Commodified

(p.255) 9 The Sacred and the Commodified
Earth-honoring Faith

Larry L. Rasmussen

Oxford University Press

Most religious traditions assume that all material reality (“creation”) is sacred and carries a value humans share but do not bestow. In this chapter Earth is viewed as a “sacramental commons” that the habits of modern living treat in unrelentingly utilitarian ways. When this happens, nature is viewed above all as real or potential commodities for market exchange and exclusive human use. The full community of life is not consulted and its value, other than economic value, is not entertained. By way of contrast, what constructive ethic emerges when sacrament ethics confront commodity ethics? If Earth, as land, sea, sky and the community of all life, is a shared sacramental commons, what moral and ethics insight follow? Examples are offered, using moral treatment of a second primal element—water—to illustrate.

Keywords:   drilling in the cathedral, dominion ethics, web-of-life ethics, sacramental commons, commodity thinking, Aunt Jemima, Planet Water

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