"All living things have intrinsic value and deserve respect and reverence."
This was the cornerstone message of Professor Bron Taylor's "Spirituality After Darwin" lecture, given before a crowd gathered in the UC Auditorium on Thursday.
Presented by Issues Committee, the event was the fourth in an annual series of lectures held in memory of former UT professor David L. Dungan, who passed away in 2008.
Seemingly at odds, Taylor discussed the growing intersection between environmentalism and religion in the 21st century. Noting the "continuity between humans and other organisms," Taylor attempted to demonstrate the connection between all evolved forms of life through a common ancestor.
A professor of religion and nature at the University of Florida, Taylor is also a published author credited with creating the term "Dark Green Religion."
To describe his concept of "Dark Green Religion," Taylor utilized stories, videos and music – even playing the familiar Captain Planet theme song.
For Wade Scofield, senior in religious studies, the lecture proved an interesting experience.
"It was very detailed," Scofield said. "Dr. Taylor is a great storyteller and kept it interesting by attaching some music in there."
But Andrew Hill, sophomore in mechanical engineering, lacked such enthusiasm.
"I was bored," Hill admitted. "I don't think it related very well to me personally."
In closing, Taylor challenged his audience to consider the future of the earth and humanity's role in shaping it.
"What will be the predominant understandings of the universe, the human place in it, and our responsibilities towards it in a few centuries?" Taylor asked.
For him, the answer is simple.
"Dark Green Religion is here and is here to stay."