In a time before the anthropocene, when human touch was unknown to the land and sea, ownership was an unearthly concept. Recognition of familial connection in animal communities prevailed within many species, but to own or to possess were absent from understanding. Whether or not universalizing religions created the construct of ownership is unknown, but one thing is for sure: Christianity has perpetuated it for centuries. The religion is littered with anthropocentrism based on the belief that what God created prior to human existence is for human consumption and exploitation.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.
Psalm 8:6-8, New Internation Version (NIV)
Rather than subscribing to the previously offered philosophical concepts in classical Paganism and various Earth religions that existed prior to the notion of a single omnipotent male God, Christianity inculcated within each follower the idea that God existed and operated for the people, and His creations were meant to serve as such. In fact, ancient Pagan and polytheistic religions were largely curtailed following the global introduction of Abrahamic religions through forced conversion and various counts of violence. It was radical and repulsive to many followers of universalizing faiths to be deprived of their ruling creator and rather seek to worship, live, and learn from the forces of the Earth.
Notions of dominion can be seen throughout the entire holy text, but specifically within the first few chapters of Genesis that set up the foundation of the religion. A male-personified God is introduced with unexplainable wrath and confusingly hateful characteristics which later juxtaposes the values of forgiveness seen in the New Testament: so dissimilar that it feels as if we are dealing with two different gods. Unfortunately, no matter how much love, forgiveness, and male saviorism is later introduced through the teachings of Jesus, it does not erase the written word of Christianity and the essence of a God that instills fear, sexual condemnation, and ideas of egotistical ownership amongst the rest of His creatures.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
Genesis 1:28, New International Version (NIV)
Many contemporary theologists and practitioners urge biblical readers to take such statements with a grain of salt and adhere to the interpretation that human beings are called upon to be managers of the environment. However, ethically speaking, this does not excuse nor justify the concept that we are somehow disconnected in value and ranked higher than the remainder of the natural world.
A “manager” of the Earth is simply a dominator with a different title.
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind.
James 3:7, New International Version (NIV)
The oozing land of milk and honey served—and still serves—all Abrahamic religions as a force to be owned and utilized for economic and personal gain. As is globally acknowledged, the current environmental catastrophe unfolding in front of us is a manifestation of this mindset of God-intended possession and destruction. Admittedly however, it would be a fallacy to solely blame institutionalized religion for the dying of our Mother. All spiritual and religious people—whether Christian, Buddhist, Islamic, Atheist, Mystic, Jewish, Pagan, or Anti-theist—have contributed to Earthly destruction through some means or another. But the Holy Bible and that of similar works have employed their sense of ownership and entitlement within the framework of society, indoctrinating a false inclination of human separation from Nature and justification for the wounds inflicted on this planet.
It is my hope that modern-day followers come to recognize such fact and join with varying beliefs and spiritualities to promote a rudimentary level participation in Earth worship. That we may eradicate all philosophies that place human beings on a fictitious pedestal, and work to restore the irreplaceable: our collective home.