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Keywords:

  • animal minds;
  • animal protection;
  • Marc Bekoff;
  • cognitive ethology;
  • consciousness of animals;
  • Earth Charter;
  • ecojustice;
  • ethology;
  • Jane Goodall;
  • process philosophy;
  • process theology;
  • spirituality and animals;
  • theology of animals;
  • Alfred North Whitehead

Abstract. Along with Jane Goodall, Mark Bekoff proposes that religion can join science in recognizing that animals have minds of their own; that humans can humbly imagine themselves inside these minds, all the while recognizing their independent integrity; and that, as creatures with psyches, animals deserve respect and care. In his various writings Bekoff offers many hints of what a theology of animal minds might look like and how it might be part of a more comprehensive theology of respect and care for the community of life. Process or Whiteheadian theology offers a way of appreciating Bekoff's insights, linking them with the ecojustice movement, showing how they can be linked with various themes in evolutionary biology, and developing a threefold approach to animal well-being: cosmological, ethical, and spiritual. In so doing, process thought shows how the practice of science, particularly as expressed in cognitive theology, involves a marriage of empathy and observation, which represents science and spirituality at their best.