Religion and Environment

In: Religion Topics

Submitted By xppham91
Words 689
Pages 3
Phuong Pham
Professor Sarah Mittlefehltd
ELA 1000-07 Images of Nature
16 October 2011
Response paper 4
Since time immemorial, there has seemingly been a connection between religion and environment. Whether we are religious or not, religious beliefs permeated the very fabric of our existence. It influences our legal systems, and therefore our nations' policy choices. It is logical to surmise that religion also influences how we view our role with respect to protecting the environment, both individually and collectively.
To say that any religion cares more for the Earth than the others would be foolish and simplistic, but within each belief system there lie subtle differences that, many argue, give an indication as to how we view our position in relation to it. As Lynn White proposed in an cutting-edge yet controversial article, "The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis" published in 1967: "What people do about their ecology depends on what they think about themselves in relation to things around them. Human ecology is deeply conditioned by beliefs about our nature and destiny -- that is, by religion." (White 406). Christianity, wrote White, "not only established a dualism of man and nature but also insisted that it is God's will that man exploit nature for his proper ends." (White 407). Christianity marked the moment humans broke away from previously common held beliefs that all beings, all forms of life, including plants, had spirits.
He wrote: "In Antiquity every tree, every spring, every stream, every hill had its own genius loci, its guardian spirit" (White 407). Then Christianity changed everything. Christians believed that humans were created at the end of Creation and humans therefore possessed the Earth. "By destroying pagan animism, Christianity made it possible to exploit nature in a mood of indifference to the feelings of natural objects.”…...

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