(Here is my response to the recent editorial on the environment by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. You can read the first part here and the rest at the American Orthodox Institute Blog.)
His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew recently published an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal (“Our Indivisible Environment,” 26 October 2009) in which he argues that “just as God is indivisible, so too is our global environment.” He asserts that as the “molecules of water that comprise the great North Atlantic are neither European nor American” so too the “particles of atmosphere above the United Kingdom are neither Labour nor Tory.”
On the surface, his words reflect a cultural and intellectual tradition with deep roots in classical, pre-Christian Greek thought (especially Aristotle) as well as Holy Scripture and the teachings of the fathers of the Church (East and West).
His observations also owe much to Scholasticism, those Medieval Catholic scholars wrestled who the relationship between Greek philosophy and Christian faith, as well as the relationship of Christian faith to Judaism and Islam. To his credit, the Patriarch is also in a discussion with scholars of different faith and intellectual traditions.
There is a difference here worth noting, however, and it is the difference between Christian scholars and scholars of other faith and ideological traditions. At the core of biblical faith lies the “scandal of particularity,” the notion of God’s election of a particular people, the Jews. This notion also lies at the heart of the Christian Gospel.
Read the rest here.