Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Haller, John S.
Environmentalists of the late twentieth century have focused attention on the needs of the natural world and have found support from a broad cross-section of society. A less-than-enthusiastic voice, however, comes from the evangelical wing of Christianity, which is in turn accused of being at best disinterested, at worst exploitive. To probe the origins of this antipathy with hope of dispelling unnecessary accusations was the initial stimulus for the present study. Research is centered on the idea of animal immortality, a concept that has interesting ramifications for both environmentalists and evangelicals.
In the western world, historical background for belief in animal afterlife lies in the Judeo-Christian Scriptures and in Greek philosophy. In the development of Christian doctrine, however, a marked distinction was made between the animal kingdom and humankind, the point of difference being the rational, personal, and immortal soul. But in the wake of the Protestant Reformation, several eminent leaders posited the reality of individualized animal soul, based on the authority of the Bible.
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