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Learning Love from a TigerReligious Experiences with Nature$
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Daniel Capper

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520290419

Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520290419.001.0001

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All the Christian Birds Chanted

All the Christian Birds Chanted

(p.31) 1 All the Christian Birds Chanted
Learning Love from a Tiger

Daniel Capper

University of California Press

This chapter looks at a Christian pet blessing ceremony in order to go beyond the marginal heterodoxy of John Muir and more fully explore religious experiences with nature in the Christian tradition. Christians have long loved animals, as the church portrays some animals as friends of saints, frowns upon the practice of animal sacrifice, and documents sporadic occasions when animals practice religion. But it is also generally true that in Christianity, animals stand inferior to humans, who alone have salvific souls and exercise dominion over the natural world. In the end, Christianity, while embodying many different outlooks, provides a model in which animals have been worthy of sometimes-lavish love but not worthy of salvation or an authentic place at the communion table.

Keywords:   Christianity, Christian animals, pet bessing ceremony, animal sacrifice, salvific souls, John Muir

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