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A Need for Reflexivity Concerning Animal Welfare and Christian Ethics Public Deposited

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https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/defaults/v118rm892

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  • The suffering of animals and the environment due to the advancement of anthropocentric endeavors is undeniable. There is no unitary cause that can account for the “why” of people’s belief in humanities exceptional status compared to animals: Some believe capitalism is the root of disparagement, others believe our scientific prowess lent to human exceptionality. However, the hierarchal nature of Christianity and the various interpretations of Genesis have led many to proclaim the Christian doctrine as being a primary contributor in the perpetuation of anthropocentric concern while relegating animals and the environment as peripheral means to their salvific ends. I argue that, while there are some attempts by contemporary Christian’s to augment or clarify the doctrine so as to support an ethic that fosters empathy and care for the animals and environment, without an incorporation of reflexivity that positions oneself in constant dialectical conversation with an infinite array of affective, sentient, and emotionally charged forces, all Christian ethics championing animal and environmental conscientiousness will likely fail. In order to dissolve the hierarchies and bifurcations, to meet the nature “eye to eye”, Christian ethics will need to move away from any notion of human exceptionalism to the exceptionality of all life.
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