Dennis Prager's recent column on why the natural world including other animals have no intrinsic value purports to tell the Judeo-Christian view of things but in fact such a view has little to do with either the monotheism of the bible or the western religious tradition. According to Prager, "Nature has been created for man's use; and on its own, without man, it has no meaning." This sounds like a pernicious form of humanism.
Why? Because it locates value soley within the mind of humans, as if there was no relationship determined by the environment. If I like ice cream it's not simply me imposing this on the food, it's because there are particular ingredients such as chocolate that is agreeable. If it was made of sludge it'd be awful and no amount of imposition by my mind could change this. There are elements in the valued and the valuer, which make up value.
Also Prager looks to human beings and our valuations to determine the importance of others, using human utility as the standard. Monotheism looks to God to determine the importance of any one thing not human likes or dislikes. Augustine's example is that of a spider. Humans find little use for such a creature, many kinds of spiders are poisonous and at best they are a nuisance for us.
But the spider's ultimate value is not determined by human likes or dislikes. Rather the spider's value is in relation to God and God's aims in the world including the whole complex eco-system of which the spider plays it's part. That is God is concerned with the good of the whole and sometimes that may or may not be agreeable to humans. But monotheism pushes us to think of the whole to move beyond our likings to a greater vision of the good.
But Prager would have us forgo this believing that the cosmos was created for human beings. But that's an odd reading of Genesis where God declares the creation good well before humans were created. And in Romans 8:21-22, Paul writes of the salvation story as including the whole universe, not just humans. And the evolutionary account precludes such a human centric reading of our standing in the cosmos.
I highlight this piece because it's important to not confuse right wing politics with orthodoxy. In an effort to move us away from environmentalism Prager has opted for forms of argumentation which give no evidence of monotheism and every evidence of a form of humanism that treats humans as the standard and the be all of creation. If there's any purpose in religion it's to stop such hubris, to remind us of something greater than ourselves.