ENVS203: 2.3.9 Discussion


Compare and contrast the eight religions/belief systems you have encountered in this unit. A good way to start this analysis is to list each religious viewpoint and look for similarities and differences, you can also do this in a chart format. Then post your findings and the trends that are most interesting to you.


When comparing the religions discussed I can see a clear trend. The monotheistic religions see the human race as chosen by God and therefore ruler of the Earth. Since God created the Earth it is the duty of the believer to treat the Earth well and be its shephard. I personally think that since these religions have a belief taht you will be somewhere else after death the pressure to take care of the Earth for future generations is less important compared to the religions where reincarnation is the afterlife. With the multideities religions and especially also because of the reincarnation possibility, they all see the Earth as one and humankind just a small piece of it. This gives a different relation with the environment,more of a deep-ecology belief, while the monotheistic religions take a more shepard of the earth approach.


As I review the spiritual life of the Indigenous people, I am struck by how their spirituality is the primary organizing principle of their knowledge, lifestyle and traditions in their relationship with the environment. There is such an edge in power for these people to create a sustainable environment through customs and practices orally transmitted.
This kind of cultural spirituality is present in Sikhism as it is outlined in their Holy Scripture and the practices of their Gurus. They believe, “Water is the father and the earth, the great mother.”
In Hinduism the Sriti and Verdic literature, emphasizes man must live in harmony with nature. Their Lord Krishna maintains, “Water, Earth, Fire, Air and Nature are sacred.”
In Islam, the Shariah law refers to ethical norms as guidelines for man’s actions to fulfill his role as the trustee of nature. Moreover, their Eschatology reminds believers that while caretakers of nature will be blessed, evil transgressors will be punished. Would this not guide men to work to a sustainable environment?
For Bhuddists, the Tipitala Scripture forbids the killing of any living creature. D? ghaNit26,27 warn man to avoid greed especially in their actions toward the resources of the earth.

The beliefs of the Indigenous people of North America and Eastern religions guide man to live in the context of a dynamic spiritual cultural realm so that as adherents follow proscriptions of their religions they preserve and conserve nature. The guidelines and encouragements are there! It Is not suggested that one of the adherents of these religions could not or would not exploit nature.
For there will be in all humans at every instance, impulses toward greed and selfishness. These lie at the heart of the destructive anti environment forces. Apart from this individual threat within poor countries there is the crush of poverty on the one side and the power of capitalists on the other creating the stage for the exploitation of nature for profit.
As we explore Christianity, the guidance of the Bible, there is the emphasis that man must give glory to God through his love and respect of nature. De Weese suggests that Christians take a prayer approach to care of the environment. He believes that once you have identified the problems in the environment then you can use the principles of Scripture to sort out the environmental mess. This venture is a personal, spiritual journey intertwined with our redemption.
The orientation of the Jewish religion starts with the eternal God who through the Torah guides man to deal with contemporary environmental problems. It is at the beckoning of the Talmud, man is reminded, “Thou shall not destroy”. The wonder of Nature is the beauty of God’s work.

Robert Gottlieb in his book, A Greener Faith, lists the kinds of result attributed to “creation care”…. The celebration of Earth Day, protesting logging in the Pacific Northwest, the lobby for more stringent anti pollution laws and the objection to industrial globalization. Gottlieb reminds us that religion has a profound influence on our collective response to the environmental crisis. He insists that it is religion that encourages us to give witness to what is happening to the environment and acknowledge where we fail individually and collectively. Then he encourages us to accept responsibility with optimism and fortitude to make the world a better place.


There is a clear trend of the monotheistic religions that since God created man that man is therefore the ruler of the world and can do as he pleases. The polytheistic religions have a more open view. That is to say that they believe we must take care of the environment because it was entrusted to Man. The Hindus believe this so much that most are vegetarians because of the fact that God has given life to all animals and not just man.

Christianity, Judaism and Islam have a more ‘human-centered’ root. These religions are arguably the main religions and as such set the example for the world. If they are so human centered then it is likely people will believe that the world revolves around them and therefore they don’t need to care about the environment as much as they would if they belonged to different religions


Within all religions there is a great requirement of respect for all things living and in some case that extends beyond the animal and human species. the older the religion the greater need to preserve and understand our surrounds climates and change. Thoughts of an afterlife is where i must conclude that religion thwarts the progress of work and what really needs to be done by our species if we are to continue in and on this planet. Respect for a rebirth may entail an intrinsic respect for this current life’s passing. However: a passing to a celestial plain perverts rational thought into assuming there is more to die for than to live for as “everything will be ok if you just believe”. “worry not about the morro”. As a species we have gone beyond destroying our home and its life forms because of religion based “we are the center of the universe in Gods name we are superior”. What next?


The Ancients and the Native American people shared a similar view of the Enviroment. Both had the experience of living directly in nature which very few of us haved experienced today. The main difference between these two was that the Ancient people viewed nature as individual gods which they were separated from, while the Native American’s viewed themselves as a piece in the divine puzzle of nature.
The Jewish religion is in between these two views. It views God as a separate being, but it still contains the element of living directly in nature. Islam is close to Judaism in regards to viewing God as the source of all good things, nature of course being included in that. Islam however, leans a little more towards man being superior and dominat over the earth. The Christian view is slightly more separated from direct contact with nature, but still highly involved in stewardship over the Earth. It is similar to Islam in the sense that it places man over nature, but it does so in a way that requires that man be a servant to all. The view being a servant is very like Sikhism. Sikhism, however, varies from Christianity because it relates back to the view of the Native American people that we are a part of the web of life. The main holders of the latter view is Buddism and Hinduism. Both these religions see communion with nature as an essential piece of our spiritual life. Their views both fall under Deep Ecology.