The Bible, for example, is well-known as the scripture for Christianity. These religious texts not only set out the history of a religion, but also provide a distinctive worldview towards the universe, such as the origin and creation of the universe and more importantly, the relationship between human and nature. Take Christianity as an example. According to Genesis, God created humankind in his image, and told human to have dominion over nature and animals (Gene. 1:26-27). It emphasizes the superiority of human over the nature.
Roman philosopher Augustine interpreted this text as human possessing a ruling lordship over the rest f God’s creation: ‘The great dignity God has given to you can be concluded best from the fact that God who alone is your lord by nature has created other valuable things over which you are a lord too’ (Lehmann, 2012). Lynn White Jar. Blamed that this Christian interpretation on human-nature relationship had sadly encouraged and justified humanity aggressive project to dominate and exploit nature (“Is Christianity to blame? “).
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In his own words: ‘Christianity 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’. However, it is important to note that these texts are subject to subjective interpretations. Biblical scholars in recent decades have been trying to find another interpretation on human-nature relationship based on other chapters in the Bible. For example, based on Genesis 2, human is seen as a gardener that must protect and not exploit the nature when harnessing its resources (“Is Christianity to blame? ). This interpretation emphasizes and promotes the importance of environmental As illustrated above, we can see that even people believe global warming is real, religions may give Justifications for them to exploit the environment. Yet, if scriptures are interpreted in favor of the environment, religion would be an effective instrument in driving believers to live a greener life. B) Worldview affecting our attitudes towards life and environment Worldview affecting humans attitude towards the nature can be seen as far as the ancient times.
For instance, ancient Greek people believed the nature to be full of traces of gods and deities (Assonated, 2012), as a result paying utmost respect to the environment. In ancient times, religious worldview also has the ability to deter man-made environmental changes. For example, the construction of hipping channel at the Strait of Corinth in Greece was attempted six times from sixth century BC to the second century AD, but was resisted by people because of the belief that human should not intervene in the divine plan (Assonated, 2012), despite the great economic advantage it could offer.
Some indigenous religious concept and taboos still remains among the indigenous people. In Indonesia, indigenous people such as Floridians still obey religious taboos in fear of natural or ancestral spirits. They believe the natural environments are inhabited by gods and spirits, and natural disasters are warnings or punishments from the gods. As a result, they minimize the disturbance, destruction and intervention to natural environment as much as possible, allowing coastal ecosystems to remain intact (Forming & Richer, 2012).
In modern society, consumerism always emphasize that we must ‘live as if there is no tomorrow and ‘live to the fullest’, encouraging us to achieve ‘happiness’ at the expense of the environment. However, some religions take a different approach to view our life and presence. Muslims and Christians believe that life is a test and a final trial will be held to assess our doings. So that men must strictly follow what the God tells them. These worldviews, even in modern society, greatly increase believers’ attention towards what they do every day.
It is very important, as environmental protection relies heavily on each individual’s concern over their daily habit. Most importantly, these cosmologies concerning the origins and eventual fate of the universe shape the meaning of our lives and remind us of who we are, who we want to be, and what we can and will do with our freedom towards the worsening environment (Lucky, 2012). C) Clear guidance or guidelines from religious teachings Some scriptures were written in form of guidance or rules, giving followers a clear incept of what to and not to do.
For example, in Islamic scripture Quern states that ‘Corruption appears on land and sea because of that man’s hands have done, so that He may make them taste a part of what they have done’ (Quern. 30:41). It clearly stated that humans have to take full responsibility for their actions to the world’s resources. Human are ‘caretakers of the earth’ (Quern 2:30) who are obligated to maintain our ecosystem. Muslims also follow Prophet Mohammedan teachings, who once said that men should not waste water even if they were on the ‘bank of a flowing river’ (Syllabus, 2013). . Reach and influence ) Significant proportion of believers among the world The reach of religious groups is enormous. According to the figure above, over 80% of the biggest religion in the world. The significant number of population involved in religious communities proves the ability of religious group to affect the adherents’ standpoint in the context of global climate change. It has the ability to convey the environmental concern to their adherents, persuading them to be proactive in protecting the environment. ) Religious climate activism and Inter-religious cooperation Despite inter-religious conflicts throughout the history, religious groups eave been cooperating to build a greener environment. In fact, early in 1986, five leaders from five of the major religions – Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism, were invited by the WFM to discuss how the teachings of their faiths leads them to protect the nature and environment. These religious groups outlined their approach to care for nature, called the Cassis Declarations on Nature (“The Cassis Declarations on Nature”, n. D. ).
This cooperation continued to expand on an international level. In 2009, a meeting at Windsor Castle was held by the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (Swears, 2012). 00 representatives of nine faith traditions – Bah, Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Shinto’s and Schism – were gathered to discuss and announce major initiatives to mitigate climate change. The Muslims announced a seven-year plan to print the Koran, which amounts to over 15 million copies per year, on recycled paper. Taoist group planned on turning to solar power for 26,000 Taoist temples in China.
Christians, Buddhists and Shinto announced to put effort on reforestation and desertification. C) Green investing from religious groups There is also an increasing trend for religious groups to perform green investing. United Nation Secretary General Ban Ski-moon said that investment portfolios from religious groups were representing the third largest category of global investment (Robins, 2010). And according to a 2010 study by gig, an International Interfaith Investment Group, over 70% of religious institutions invest to build a better community as well as a greener society.