The Sacred Journey of the Earth Community: Towards a Functional and Ecological Spirituality via the Cosmologies of Thomas Berry and Zhou Dunyi

By Kwang Sun Choi


Doctor of Philosophy in Theology
University of St. Michael’s College, Toronto
PhD Dissertation, 2012

Abstract

The present context of the ecological crisis and the concomitant bio-geological change demands an urgent, comprehensive response in order to restore the integral functioning of the Earth’s processes.Since the ecological crisis is deeply rooted in a mechanistic and reductionistic worldview and a spirituality of alienation from the Earth, this thesis attempts to develop a functional and ecological spirituality in light of a cosmological perspective, seeking an interpretation of religion and spirituality in terms of the story of the universe and of the Earth process and a functional presence of humanity on the Earth community.

This thesis explores the cosmologies of Berry and Zhou by employing two methods – a method of critical cosmological discourse and a method of retrieval, re-evaluation, and reconstruction.By giving special attention to the integral relationship among God, the cosmos and humanity, the works of Berry and Zhou provide insights that speak to the current ecological crisis, a cosmological context for developing an Ecozoic theocosmoanthric spirituality, while helping to advance clear values and ethical parameters that lead to a more authentic human presence on the Earth community.In particular, an Ecozoic spirituality has three interrelated yet distinct components:i) an eco-theological recognition of a triadic communion among God, the cosmos, and humanity; ii) a transformation of worldview, human identity, and human attitudes toward the rest of creation; and iii) certain distinctive virtues that such an integration promotes.This Ecozoic spirituality can help develop a sacramental sensitivity to the rest of creation and can promote humanity’s participatory responsibility for the sacred journey of the Earth community.