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Christians should repent for ecological damage, global forum told

World News

Christian theology needs to seek forgiveness for the ecological damage resulting from the misinterpretation of the creation stories in the Bible, a global gathering of theologians meeting in northeastern Brazil has been told

Sergio Torres, a Chilean Roman Catholic theologian, told the 21 to 25 January World Forum on Theology and Liberation in Belem that an "incomplete and unexplained interpretation of Genesis", the first book in the Bible, had led Christianity to promote an "excessive" concentration on human beings.

Genesis (1:28) records God as telling humankind, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth," said Torres. "Theology must ask forgiveness from ecology."

Torres was speaking at the opening of the forum, which is seeking to develop a theology for the "sustainability of life on Earth". He was one of the initiators in the 1970s of a movement known as liberation theology, which stresses that Christianity should be experienced from the perspective of the poor and must therefore seek to promote social change.

The theology gathering, whose theme is "Water, Earth, Theology – for another possible world", is taking place immediately before the World Social Forum, a global gathering addressing exploitative globalisation, and intended as a counter to the World Economic Forum, held in Davos, Switzerland.

Torres said he believed that ecology and theology could learn from each other, and together find the power "to save this beautiful planet before it is too late".

Organizers of the theology forum say they hope its setting in the Amazon region, known for its biodiversity, will help promote an awareness of the relationship between human beings and their immediate environment.

"We have a small blue home suspended in the stratosphere," Luiz Carlos Susin, the forum’s executive secretary, told about 400 delegates. "The Amazon can teach us to open our hearts to live as a family with all forms of life."

The meeting opened on 21 January with dancers bringing forward symbolic representations of the elements of air, fire, water and earth, and greetings being expressed to delegates by representatives of the region’s indigenous and Afro-Brazilian religions.

Ana Júlia Carepa, the governor of Para state, of which Belem is the capital, urged delegates to, "show to the world it is possible to build a new society in the heart of the Amazon".

(c) Ecumenical News International

Photo : World News