Some Theological Reflections Regarding Multi-disciplinary Discourse on the “Anthropocene”

  • Ernst Conradie University of the Western Cape
Keywords: Anthropocene, Christian authenticity, Common good, Constructive theology, Earth system science, Ecological reformation, Human uniqueness, Human sin


In this contribution, some salient insights emerging from multi-disciplinary discourse on the so-called Anthropocene are noted. These touch briefly on stratigraphical markers, on disturbances in the Earth system, on dating the “Anthropocene”, on identifying its root causes, on naming the “Anthropocene” as such, on assessing the “Anthropocene”, and concomitant responses to the “Anthropocene”. In response, four clusters of challenges posed by such discourse on the “Anthropocene” to Christianity and Christian theology in particular are identified and outlined, namely 1) the critique of Christianity as complicit in the root causes of the “Anthropocene”, 2) Christian critiques of the “Anthropocene” and of naming it as such; 3) prospects for constructive Christian responses to the “Anthropocene” for the sake of the common good (stability in the Earth system); and 4) prospects for constructive responses to the “Anthropocene” for the sake of Christian authenticity. This yields the conclusion that, in the “Anthropocene”, Christians need to acknowledge that (some) humans have become a geological force of nature but also that it should now be more clear than ever before that humans cannot save themselves from self-destruction.

Author Biography

Ernst Conradie, University of the Western Cape
Department of Religion and Theology,Faculty of Arts
Planetary Entanglement: Theology and the Anthropocene