Mar 232005
Authors: Lindsay Reiter

The relationship between the Bible, ecology and their significance to the war in Iraq is something that is not often compared.

Holmes Rolston III, Templeton prize winner, distinguished author and professor of philosophy, did just that Wednesday night in his speech, titled "Promised Land and Planet with Promise: Inheriting the Earth with Justice and Charity." The speech was part of the religious studies spring lecture series.

"In terms of the wise use of the Earth's goodness there is still wisdom in classical Hebrew scriptures," Rolston said.

Rolston divided his lecture into three parts. He spoke to an audience of about 30 students and faculty members about the relationship between the Bible and ecology, the relationship between the Bible and human ecology, and the relationship between the Bible and natural value.

Trevor Mead, a senior religious studies major, was very interested in the lecture series.

"I'm making a point to come to all three lectures in the series. I am taking advantage of all the events the department puts on," Mead said.

Mead is a student in one of Rolston's classes.

"He is by far the most distinguished professor in the department. I like his evolutionary approach to religion and ethics and I'm curious how he will tie that into politics," Mead said.

Other students attended the lecture for their classes.

"I thought it sounded interesting and I get extra credit in my Religions of the West class. I just hope to learn something," said Erin Dreis, a sophomore art history major.

After finishing his lecture, Rolston answered questions from the audience. In answering the questions, he addressed the war in Iraq.

"If there had been a more equitable distribution of resources there probably hadn't have been a war. People have been preaching about democracy but I think this war is over resources," Rolston said. "We are not going to see any sustainable life until we understand the equitable use of resources."

Rolston offered a description of what he believes is needed for the whole planet by combining two religious metaphors.

"The Earth is too a land flowing of milk and honey if and only if justice rolls down like waters," Rolston said. "We need to return to some classical values found in the Hebrew prophets."

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