TOPIC 1 – RELIGION AND ANIMAL RIGHTS.
Telos – End purpose (Aristotelian idea).
Hierarchy of being - The idea of an ascending order of beings in the universe, inanimate matterplantsanimals with rational human beings at the top. Anthropocentric – Human centred.
Speciesism – Discrimination in favour of one species, usually the human species, over another, especially in the exploitation or mistreatment of animals by humans. Sentient – Able to feel pain; conscious through the senses. Shallow ecology - preserving the environment to the extent that it benefits human beings. (This is an anthropocentric view of ecology – human centred). Deep ecology - Giving all life respect and value – caring for all of nature, not just the aspects of nature which benefit human beings. Dominionism - Judeo-Christian idea that human beings have a special place in the natural world; they are given the power to rule over it (as overseers) in behalf of its creator, God. Stewardship – Judeo-Christian idea that human beings have a special responsibility for the natural world (and indeed all other areas of responsibility such as other people, their money and possessions) acting as caretakers on God’s behalf. Autonomy – Free will, able to self-govern.
Deontological – Duty led approach. Emphasis on the act itself in determining moral righteousness. Inaugurated eschatology - The kingdom of God was started/established in the agapeistic life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and continues in the life of the church, but will be fulfilled after bodily death in heaven. Realised eschatology - The kingdom of God is here and now on earth, through agape and the life of the church. Futuristic Eschatology: The Kingdom of God will come in the future – after bodily death, resurrection (bodily or spiritual) in heaven. Vivisection – Experimenting on animals.
Instrumentalist approach – A pragmatic (practical) approach that says an action should be taken in order to achieve an active solution to a problem. Mutate – Change, transform (e.g. as part of the process of evolution). Immutability – Unable to change (e.g. from species to species). Commodification – To turn into and treat as a commodity – an article suitable for trading/buying and selling.
Aristotle – Identified the hierarchy of being placing human beings above animals. Augustine – Human beings are superior to animals as human beings are rational, being made in the image and likeness of God, Genesis 1:26. Aquinas – Influenced by Aritotle – “animals……by divine providence are intended for man’s use in the natural order.”. Charles Darwin – Theory of evolution – ‘Origin of Species’, 1859. The process of natural selection, challenged the Bible, and in particular the Genesis creation story which claims that human beings are created in the image of God, Genesis 1:26. Albert Schweitzer – A pioneer of animal rights with his ‘reverence for life’ ethic. For Schweitzer ‘all life is sacred’, sentient or non-sentient, animal or vegetable. A deep ecologist. St Francis of Assisi – Often referred to as, ‘The Patron Saint of animals’. God has created the world and so the created order reflects God’s goodness and purpose of design and order, animals are a particularly important aspect of that created order. Peter Singer – If a being has interests then they are morally important and should have rights; sentient, self-conscious beings have interests. What matters is not what species a being belongs to, but to what extent a being is a person – fulfils Personhood criteria. Jeremy Bentham - Believed that unnecessary suffering was morally wrong, irrespective of the species.
KEY TEACHINGS FROM CHRISTIANITY AND AWARENESS OF HOW RELIGIOUS LEADERS AND OTHER FAITH MEMBERS HAVE INTERPRETED THESE TEACHINGS AND APPLIED THEM TO LIFE IN SOCIETY TODAY. Religious beliefs about the status of animals.
* Aristotle (4 BC – a foundation and influence for later...