Carol P. Christ is a founding mother in the study of women and religion, feminist theology, women’s spirituality, and the Goddess movement. She teaches in the Women’s Spirituality program at CIIS and through Ariadne Institute offers Goddess Pilgrimages to Crete. Her books include She Who Changes and Rebirth of the Goddess and the widely used anthologies Womanspirit Rising and Weaving the Visions.
Does God love me more than She loves my doggies? Does She love animals more than She loves trees and flowers? Does She love trees and flowers more than She loved the first cells that formed in the waters of our planet? Did She not also love the atoms and particles of atoms that coalesced to form the earth?
In her books Sacred Gaia and Gaia’s Gift Anne Primavesi questions the notion that the dialogue between God and the world began with “our entry onto the scene.” Primavesi argues that “human exceptionalism,” the view that the world exists for us, and that we are an “exception” to the world, has been and is the predominant Christian view. In the stories of Adam and Noah, God gives dominion over the creatures of the earth to man. Theologians asserted that of all the creatures that inhabit the earth, only man is in the image of God, and the image of God in man is found in his rational intelligence, which is shared with no other creature. Because he is in the image of God, man will escape death, which is the lot of every other living thing. Rather than challenging human exceptionalism, modern science furthered it, asserting that “matter” was “dead,” and that therefore it was right and just for man to subdue “nature” through technology and to harness it for his needs.
Human exceptionalism is so deeply rooted in our minds that even environmentalists have been known to argue that we should save the rainforests because we cannot survive without them, or because a cure for cancer might be found within them. On this logic, there would be no reason to save the rainforests if we could figure out another way to change carbon dioxide into oxygen, or if the cure for cancer had already been found.
I have not been a human exceptionalist for many years, perhaps I never was. It makes me very happy to think that Goddess loves the blue tit drinking from the fountain in my garden as much as She loves me, and that she communicates with the blue tit in blue tit language just as She communicates with me in English or other languages I can understand. After all, I am not blue and yellow or feathered, and I do not sing like the blue tit sings. Why should God reserve Her love for me and only me, when there are so many other things in the world that She can love? I like to think that the world we know has been co-created through the billions of years of the evolutionary process and that even Goddess has been surprised and delighted by the particular ways life has evolved on this planet.
I am only one of the many miracles on the earth. I rejoice in life in all its diversity and difference and I am filled with gratitude for all that has gone before me and brought me here today. I do not hope to be “excepted” from the rule that the end of life is death. I was thinking of all of this on Thanksgiving Day.