Faith in Conservation: New Approaches to Religions and the Environment

By Martin Palmer; Victoria Finlay | Go to book overview

5
Celebrating the Environment

God called to Moses out of the burning bush. “Moses, Moses!” And he said,
“Here I am.” Then He said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from
your feet, for the place on which you stand is holy ground
.”
—Hebrew Bible, Book of Exodus, The Torah (3: 4–5)

The intention is to introduce you to reality, not to imitate nature.
It is to show you not what you see, but what is real….
Everything in Creation—including humanity—was created pure but not
perfect, and the purpose of being born is to reach your true potential
.

—Brother Aidan, icon painter

Religion, like every other human organization, fails. It fails to achieve most of its own self-proclaimed goals, and it fails to prevent abuse and exploitation of its structures, powers, and beliefs. In this it is no different from every other human organization.

Yet religion, as we have observed before, survives and has survived longer than any empire, monarchy, nation, or company. Somewhere along the line the main faiths have discovered a few basic truths about how the world and humanity behave and why—and this has been the core of their success. And they succeed often enough to be worth perpetuating.


The secrets to success

What are the secrets of this ability to survive, indeed even to grow? One of them is that religions tend to provide what people tend to need. At their best, they can give meaning as much to the ordinary as to the extraordinary; can provide comfort as well as challenges; can stimulate as well as create places for rest; can offer entire cosmologies to explain the

-49-

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Faith in Conservation: New Approaches to Religions and the Environment
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Part 1 - Worlds of Difference 1
  • 1 - Changing Worlds 3
  • 2 - How Did We Get Here? 15
  • 3 - Changing Minds 23
  • 4 - Investing in the Future 37
  • 5 - Celebrating the Environment 49
  • Part 2 - The Faith Statements on Ecology 65
  • 6 - Introduction 67
  • 7 - Baha'i Faith 71
  • 8 - Buddhism 77
  • 9 - Christianity 83
  • 10 - Daoism 87
  • 11 - Hinduism 91
  • 12 - Islam 97
  • 13 - Jainism 107
  • 14 - Judaism 111
  • 15 - Shintoism 127
  • 16 - Sikhism 131
  • 17 - Zoroastrianism 145
  • Glossary 149
  • Selected Bibliography 153
  • About the Authors 157
  • Index 159
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