Book: Judgment Day: The Struggle for Life on Earth

by Rich Heffern

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By Paul Collins
Published by Orbis Books, $22.50

The Gulf oil spill of a year ago is just the latest depredation against the planet. From every direction come signs of global warming and other forms of ecological disaster that threaten the future of all living beings. In this sobering assessment of our condition, Paul Collins examines the nature of this crisis and how we got here including a review of the mental habits of thought, including religious worldviews, that have contributed to our dilemma and continue to inhibit effective action.

“It is no use kidding ourselves,” he writes, “that it is just bad luck for people in the future or that they will somehow find a technological fix for the damage we have wrought. Our exploitation of the natural world is inescapably a moral and ethical issue. By destroying the earth, consuming resources and wiping out thousands of species we involve ourselves in a profoundly sinful situation.”

Collins’ book is a powerful warning of the perils of global warming and a mobilization of the Christian conscience to change our thinking, our ways of acting, and so to save our planet.

As Collins shows, if religious ideas have contributed to the problem, there are also powerful resources within the Christian tradition that can help us both in scripture, and in the work of prophetic geologians like Frs. Thomas Berry and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Drawing on these resources, Collins lays out the elements of a theology aimed at saving the earth and ourselves.

Paul Collins is an historian, broadcaster, and writer, who lives in Canberra, Australia. He is the author of 11 books on religion, the environment, and history including Papal Power, God s Earth, and Upon this Rock.

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