By Roger S. Gottlieb
In a time of darkening environmental clients, scary spiritual fundamentalism, and moribund liberalism, the notable and traditionally remarkable upward push of spiritual environmentalism is a profound resource of wish. Theologians are convalescing nature-honoring parts of conventional religions and forging daring new theologies connecting devotion to God and religious fact with love for God's construction and take care of the Earth. and spiritual humans in the course of the international are reworking the which means in their faiths within the face of the environmental problem. The successes and importance ofreligious environmentalism are appear in statements via leaders of just about all of the world's religions, in new and "green" prayers and rituals, and in refined criticisms of recent society's financial system, politics, and tradition. From the Evangelical Environmental community to the Buddhist top minister of Mongolia, the nationwide Council of church buildings to tree-planting campaigns in Zimbabwe, non secular environmentalism has develop into a strong component to the realm environmental circulate.
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Additional resources for A Greener Faith: Religious Environmentalism and Our Planet's Future
Some agree with Berry; others argue (as we will see) that traditional texts in fact contain powerful ecological messages, or at least provide some important resources to help improve our relation to nature. Many say the problem is that their faith’s teachings have not been followed widely enough; others want to take marginalized elements of the past and give them new power and presence today. Despite their differences, one thing is constant for virtually all the thinkers represented here: the belief that whatever religion’s past responsibility, it Religion, Nature, Environment m 21 must now marshal all its resources to respond to the crisis.
Changing the climate and atmosphere, eliminating species, creating new life by combining genes from wildly different organisms—these and many other activities indicate that the nature that we used to face with awe and fear has become something we can now treat with disdain. The biblical injunction to “tend and serve” the garden was never as salient as it is right now—and never as ignored. And it is in that spirit of care that ecotheologians take a critical stance toward their own traditions. For Western religions, perhaps the most important of these criticisms fo- 32 m A Greener Faith cuses on a fundamental mind-body or soul-body dualism that has haunted Christianity in particular, but can be found in other traditions as well.
Although ecological critics of the Bible have been many, it has also had its defenders, who argue that antinature readings seriously obscure both the complexity of the Bible and its many positive resources for environmentalism. To begin with, the idea that the earth was given to humans by God can be a basis for valuing it and offers a vitally important obstacle to unrestrained ecological exploitation. “Viewed in terms of the popular scientiﬁc understanding,” Norman Wirzba tells us, “nature is simply matter in motion guided by impersonal laws.