Organizers: Riga Higher Institute of Religious Sciences (RARZI), Riga Theological Institute and Luther Acaademy. Venue: Plenary session – RARZI Old chapel conference hall (Katoļu street 16a), work in sections - RARZI auditoriums (Katoļu street 18). Conference languages – Latvian/English, English/Latvian.
Register here> until May 10.
Conference motto: "I used to think that the main environmental problems were the loss of biological diversity, the collapse of ecosystems and climate change. I thought that successful science could solve these problems in thirty years. I was wrong. The main environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy, and with them to cope, we need a cultural and spiritual transformation."
USA Climate change advisor
Today, humanity is
facing the challenges of the ecological crisis. Practical solutions are being
sought together, but it is even more important to transform the way of thinking
and the general attitude towards nature in order to begin to see in it the
common home of humanity. Humanity's behavior must be radically changed
immediately: it could also be called a general ecological
return. Scientific discoveries, achievements in the field of modern
technologies, economic success without real growth in the social and moral
sphere, will eventually turn against man. We can ask ourselves: What
could be the contribution of Christianity in protecting an authentic human
ecology and its moral conditions? How does the human ability to transform
reality relate to the ecology of the spirit? What are the causes of the
destruction of nature and what is their relationship with the culture that
determines the everyday life of people? Finally, what are the possible explanations
for the concept of 'ecology of the spirit'? Perhaps we can express its content
in this way - spiritual ecology is the attitude towards the eco-environment and
nature as a whole determined by spiritual (religious) values.
The Christian faith
has a lot to say in matters of environment and ecology:
1. The ecology of the Christian spirit recognizes that all creation exists
thanks to God the Father. The whole world reflects the divinity of the Creator
and participates in it: the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim
the work of His hands (Ps 19, 2). We, God's human creatures, are the highest
part of the hierarchical creation, its crown. We are created with the world and in the world. Therefore, the human
being is always "a human being plus ...", "a human being and the
world." The first people were instructed not only to "fill the
earth", "subdue" and "rule over it" (Gen 1, 28),
but also to "care for" and "protect" their first home – Garden
of Eden (Gen 2, 15). The human being has fallen into sin. It is the
catastrophe of his existence, the destruction that corrupts man. Pastor Māris
Ludviks has said: “In terms of intelligence, we are surpassed by any animal,
because none of the animals would think of destroying the environment in order
to increase their population. Of all creation, only human being is so
stupid!" And since human being is "human being and the world",
then the environment also falls with him, which now gives the human being "thorns
and thistles" (Gen 3, 18).2. The ecology of the
Christian spirit proclaims that the world was created with and through the Word -
Christ (Heb 1, 2). Even more: All things were created through Him and for Him
(Col 1, 16), i.e. we are created for Christ: we are His work, created in Christ
Jesus to do good works (Eph 2, 10). The message of salvation applies not only
to human beings, but also to all creation, which, because of human sins, has been
groaning to the present time (Rom 8, 22), but one day will be liberated from its
bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God (Rom 8, 21).
3. The ecology of the Christian spirit claims that Christ's body in the world - the Church - is the
continuation of His work. He has been placed as the head of the Church, which
is His body, the fullness that fills everything in every way (Eph 1, 22-23)
with the testimony of God's love in word and deed. The Church sees as one of its tasks
to take care of God's creation, its normal, natural order.
Thus, God is the Author of the world, who has copyright
in it. Therefore, He and He alone determines what is normal and natural. God is permanently interested in the world.
Immediately after the fall, He promises salvation (Gen 3, 15). Christ sends the Holy Spirit into the world, - He will
teach you all things (John 14, 26).