What are the basic differences between how Abrahamic (Jewish, Christian, Muslim) religions relate to nature and how Eastern religions (Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism) relate to and view nature?  (at least five sentences)

What are the basic differences between how Abrahamic (Jewish, Christian, Muslim) religions relate to nature and how Eastern religions (Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism) relate to and view nature?  (at least five sentences)

Based on the readings and powerpoint for this unit, answer the following questions:

1)What are the basic differences between how Abrahamic (Jewish, Christian, Muslim) religions relate to nature and how Eastern religions (Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism) relate to and view nature?  (at least five sentences)

2) According to the geographical distribution of these religions with different attitudes toward the environment, which regions or countries might you expect would live more harmoniously with nature? Is this, in fact, the case in reality? Please give specific examples (at least four sentences). This answer may require some outside research. Please cite any sources that you utilize.

reading:

MAJOR WORLD RELIGIONS

Judaism

  • Judaism (began circa 1,800 BC)

This was the first monotheistic religion on earth

God is all-powerful with many prophets, Jesus among them

Followers are called Jews, 80% of 14 million total adherents live in U.S. or Israel

Christianity
(began around 30AD)

  • Most followers of any religion: 2 billion
  • Most geographically widespread religion
  • Centers on Jesus Christ as the savior whose sacrificial death forgives/erases Christians’ sins
  • Half of global Christians are Catholics (the Americas) and one-fourth are Protestant (Europe and U.S.)

Islam
(began around 615AD)

  • 2nd largest world religion: 1.5 billion followers
  • Over 80% are “Sunnis”, 20% are “Shiite”(Iran)
  • Based on the Prophet Muhammad’s teachings & revelations

Green = Sunni

Maroon = Shiite

Buddhism
(began ca. 450 B.C.)

  • Centered in East and Southeast Asia, 400 million followers
  • Based on the example and teachings of Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha) who lived in eastern India around 500 B.C.
  • Life’s core suffering can be ended by releasing attachment to desires and becoming “awakened”

Taoism
(began ca. 500B.C.)

  • Lao-Tzu (Laozi) founding spiritualist/philosopher
  • Action through non-action, simplicity, compassion, humility, learning from/oneness with the “Tao” (the force/energy of nature/all things)
  • Practiced mostly in China, but expressed in Western pop culture (Star Wars, yoga, etc.)

Hinduism

  • Focused on the enlightened being Krishna who lived 5,000 BP
  • Bhagavad Gita religious text composed by one author
  • Practiced by hundreds of millions, principally in India

Animism/“Primal Indigenous”

  • Polytheistic
  • Practiced largely among tribal groups
  • Everything in nature, even non-living entities, have a spirit
  • Physical and spiritual realms are one, which is opposite of Western thinking

Religious Perspectives on the Human/Environment Relationship

Questions

How do you feel about Evolution vs. Creation?

Do you feel that people are more important than animals, plants, and nature?

Do you think about the effects of your lifestyle on the natural world? (trash, CO2, etc)

Do you believe that nature is here to supply man’s needs or that we have a responsibility to tend and care for nature as well?

Your responses…

  • Indicate a position relative to some very old questions!
  • These questions concern the fundamental or essential nature of the world, and as such they affect geographical worldviews
  • Religious/philosophical worldviews affect how we treat the planet

Man and Nature are Connected

Man and Nature are Separate

Judaism/Christianity/Islam

  • Everything in nature was created by a single supreme being with unlimited powers.
  • Man’s relationship to nature is either dominion or stewardship (but separate from nature either way).
  • Salvation depends on faith and belief (Christianity) so issues like treatment of animals or conservation of resources are of minor ethical importance
  • Eastern religions don’t separate man from nature as much as Abrahamic religions.

Nature as God’s Handiwork

  • “But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth and it will teach you; the fish of the sea, they will inform you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Eternal has done this?” (Job 12:7-9)
  • VERY NEW AGE PERSPECTIVE, VERY ENVIRONMENTALLY SYNERGISTIC, and also LARGELY IGNORED IN TRADITIONAL CHRISTIANITY
  • “Look deep into nature and you will understand everything” – Albert Einstein

Man vs. Nature
(Man Separate from/Against Nature)

  • And to Adam, the Lord said: “Because you have listened to your wife, and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat: Cursed be the ground because of you; in toil shall you eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. In the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, since out of it you were taken; for dust you are and unto dust you shall return” (Gen. 3, 17-19).

Judaism/Christianity/Islam

  • Therefore, Humans sinned and were punished by God by being forced to struggle against nature to survive.
  • Struggling against nature is therefore part of humanity’s “fallen” condition

Judaism/Christianity/Islam

Two Ways to View Man’s Role in Nature

STEWARDSHIP

We have a huge responsibility to care for the Earth,

as God’s brilliant creation

or

DOMINION

Nature is here to provide for us, and cannot be harmed by us (and it’s arrogant and “unfaithful” to think that we are powerful enough to ever harm nature).

Dominion (in Christianity)

  • “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. — from Genesis

Dominion (in Islam)

  • “Each thing that God has created is a wondrous sign, full of meaning; pointing beyond itself to the glory and greatness of its Creator, His wisdom and His purposes for it. ‘He Who has spread out the earth for you and threaded roads for you therein and has sent down water from the sky: With it have We brought forth diverse kinds of vegetation. Eat and pasture your cattle; verily, in this are signs for men endowed with understanding.’”
  • Islamic Organization for Medical Sciences, ISLAMSET http://www.islamset.com/env/section1.html

Stewardship

  • “Because God has chosen the sphere of nature as the setting for human interaction, his covenant with us gives us the responsibility of caring for, nurturing, respecting, sustaining, and replenishing his creation. We often respond by viewing nature as a commodity to be done with as we please. However, God’s relationship to non-human nature, which has intrinsic value, calls for a higher ethic.”
  • “In Genesis 2:15 humans are told to ‘abad’ the garden in which they have been placed. This Hebrew word is most commonly translated as ‘tend’, but elsewhere in the Old Testament, ‘abad’ is translated as to ‘serve’ (eg Genesis 25:23; 27:29; Ex 14:12).

Stewardship (in Islam)

  • Muhammad: “Created beings are the dependents of God, and the creature dearest unto God is he who does most good to God’s dependents.”
  • Islamic Organization for Medical Sciences, ISLAMSET website: http://www.islamset.com/env/section1.html

Judaism/Christianity/Islam

Nature as a place of punishment

Nature as human property (dominion)

Nature as dependent on human care (stewardship)

  • 2 and 3 are contradictory
  • All three reflect a single idea:
  • People are separate or alienated from nature
  • Nature exists “out there” as something separate from us

Buddhism/Hinduism

  • Nature is populated by an infinite number of evolving living souls, from worms to human beings
  • All animals and humans experience multiple reincarnations on the journey to enlightenment
  • To harm part of nature is to harm oneself and potentially delay enlightenment
  • Kill animals only if necessary (but not cows) (India is 50% vegetarians)
  • Killing creates negative Karma (debt to the Universe)
  • Delegate this task (butchering) to “polluted” people of lower social status
  • Ahimsa: harmlessness (a highly-valued ideal)

Buddhism

  • Everything is connected, the perception of separation (me/God, me/others, me/abundance) is an illusion

This illusion of separateness is a form of ignorance and a constant source of suffering

  • The path toward enlightenment involves detaching from the desire to possess and control things (including nature)

Taoism

  • Follow path of least resistance, Less is More
  • Words usually distract from and misrepresent the Truth. Silence and nature teach us more than any book or religion (fundamentally different from Christianity)
  • Learn how to live from observing nature (same as Job and Einstein quotations).
  • Nature is amazingly abundant without exerting itself, forcing things, or developing plans of action (like a river wearing down stones over time).

Animism

  • There are particular parts of nature with special powers
  • Certain plants may give spiritual insight if they are ingested
  • Certain natural features may have supernatural powers (mountains, rivers, caves, springs, etc.)
  • These beliefs are common in indigenous people and remain in our culture as “magic”

Science

  • Belief that logic, reasoning and the scientific method can explain everything
  • Metaphysical explanations (which cannot be measured or detected by the five senses) are useless.
  • In what way would you suppose that Christianity affected the emergence and evolution of science?

Return to your questions… how do they relate to your sense of your religious identity (e.g. “I am a Christian”)

What is your reaction to the evolution vs. creationism debate?

Do you feel that people are more important than animals, plants, and nature?

Do you think about the effects of your lifestyle on the natural world? (trash, CO2, etc)

Do you believe that nature is here to supply man’s needs or that we have a responsibility to tend and care for nature as well?

Do you feel a spiritual connection to nature?

Looking for a similar assignment? Get help from our qualified experts!

Order Now

Related Posts