Playing God: Why religion belongs in the climate engineering debate

Religion will play an important role in public perceptions of geoengineering—the intentional manipulation of the planet’s environment to counteract anthropogenic climate change. Religious leaders and scholars can therefore be valuable contributors to the geoengineering debate that has already begun among scientists, engineers, and policy makers. The authors offer four reasons why religion should be part of this debate: Religion is fundamental to how most human beings and societies understand themselves and their place in the world; religion can both challenge and justify scientific authority; religious narratives and symbols can provide frames for understanding geoengineering; and religion offers vocabulary for moral debate. Scholars of theology, ethics, and religious studies can act as mediators between the scientific and faith communities, providing a critical voice in understanding how religion affects the climate conversation, and in engaging a wider public.

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