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BP, the blowout and the bible belt: Why conservative Christianity does not conserve creation

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-126
Number of pages10
JournalThe Expository Times
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2010


Advocates of the 'post-secular' propose that religion is returning as a world-shaping force in the present century. The growth of a dialogue between religion and ecological science is seen as strong evidence of this return. However religious responses to the catastrophic oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, and responses to long-standing oil pollution in the Niger Delta region, do not indicate a clear correlation between conservative Christianity and biological conservation. At the root of the ecological crisis - and of the oil industry's continuing ecological destructiveness - is the late medieval cosmology of the earth as a secular mechanism. But the deistic tenor of conservative Christianity underwrites rather than resists this cosmology. So too does an instrumentalist and pragmatic project to colonise religion as 'social capital' in the scientific conservation project. A partnership between ecology and religion that does not resist the metaphysical and spiritual origins of the crisis will not constrain the ecologically destructive path of fossil-fuelled political economy.

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