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...anyone else feel to free to jump in Smile


Are there any specific references in the Bible to do with respecting and honouring the environment and nature?

What is your take on that?

I'd also be interested to hear views on those references in any other religious beliefs?

In general, the environment never seems to 'rate' as a topic in a lot of religious discussion or merit. Why is that?

Has the message become 'lost' or is just not on the religious agenda. Confused
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<small>"Follow the grain in your own wood.” ~ Howard Thurman</small>
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AG,
This is not an area of expertise for me, but I would there are folks who do a lot in the area of creation spirituality in Christianity. You might want to do a search on Matthew Fox and Thomas Berry (author of The Dream of the Earth). This is also a topic dealt with from time to time by the folks who are a part of the Sojourners community in Washington, DC as well as folks associated with the magazine The Other Side in Philadelphia. Finally, I would suggest searches on eco-spirituality,

Some scripture which might be relevant:

Genesis 1:26 - ˜Let us make humankind* in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth,* and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.' Dominion has often been interpreted to mean that humans may do with the land what they wish, but many theologians are now saying that it carries a strong connotation for stewardship.

Genesis 9:8-9. Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: "I now establish my covenant with you and your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you - the birds, the livestock, and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you - every living Creature on the earth."

Genesis 9:12-13. And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will he the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.

Leviticus 25 deals with the land in terms of the sabbath years rest with the reminder from God that "The land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants. Throughout the country that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land." (25:23-24)

Hope that gives you a start at an answer.
quote:
Originally posted by art_gurl:
Anyone else feel to free to jump in. Are there any specific references in the Bible to do with respecting and honouring the environment and nature?


The following passages are excerpts taken from author Rosemary Radford Ruether's, Sexism and Godtalk: Toward A Feminist Theology.

Woman, Body, and Nature: Sexism and the Theology of Creation

1) "The establishment of this relationship between male and female spheres depends not only on males as definers of culture but also on the burdening of women with most of the tedious, day-to-day tasks of economic production. Males become a leisure class with relatively little to do but decorate themselves, sharpen their weapons, and prepare for the occasional great excursions of hunting and war. Confining some women to ornamental status is the luxury of a male aristocratic elite. The domination of women throughout most of human history has depended on the freeing of males for cultural control by filling women's day with most of the tasks of a domestic production and reproduction." (page 74)

2) "Moreover, male culture symbolizes control over nature in ambivalent ways. The later priestly creation story of Genesis 1 may command Adam to "fill the earth and subdue it," but the earlier folkloric story of Paradise (Gen. 2-3) pictures a time of dependence on a fruitful earth that gave of itself without human labor. The human effort to control and define one's own life is seen as a revolt against dependence on God, precipitated by woman and resulting in a loss of the earth as a spontaneously reproductive paradise. Work, intervention, and struggle to control nature is the curse to which man is now confined. Woman is punished for her role by being subjugated to man. Male culture compensates for the sin of intervention in nature by picturing obedience to ultimate reality as abnegation of control, as "childlike dependence" on a power that controls and defines man." (page 76)

3) "This biological tendency has been exaggerated by socialization into dominant and subordinate social roles. Dominant social roles exaggerate linear, dichotomized thinking and prevent the development of culture that would correct this bias by integrating the relational side. Women and other subordinate groups, moreover, have had their rational capacities suppressed through denial of education and leadership experience and so tend to be perceived as having primarily intuitive and affective patterns of thought. Thus socialization in power and powerlessness distorts integration further and creates what appears to be dichotomized personality cultures of men and women, that is, masculinity and femininity." (page 90)
quote:
Originally posted by kresge:
Genesis 1:26 - ˜Let us make humankind* in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the "wild" animals of the earth,* and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.' Dominion has often been interpreted to mean that humans may do with the land what they wish, but many theologians are now saying that it carries a strong connotation for stewardship.


Despite what theologians are saying today, the Hebrew Bible is very clear about how humans should relate to nature and the environment. In the quoted scripture, the word "over" is used a total of five times to describe man's relationship to nature. Thus, there is no mistaking that the scripture clearly situates man above nature rather than having an equal status to nature. This kind of relationship creates an unbalanced, confrontational, and even hostile relationship between the two entities. In the above scripture, nature is also described as being "wild," despite it being THE most organized and consistent organic structure on the planet, even more so than humans. In religions that predate Christianity, however, people are not only expected to respect nature, they are expected to establish a harmonious and intimate relationship with nature, to acknowledge nature (e.g., trees, soil, air, water, etc.) as a living and breathing entity that makes it possible for humans to live. Rather than viewing nature as a subordinate lifeless "thing" or object that is solely dependent upon humans for its survival, nature is viewed as a powerful independent entity, complete with its own rules, system of operation, energy, and even language(s).
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hello Rowe, thanks for contributing. Yes, I agree with your comments immediately above.

As it is I have always had a few 'issues' with Christianity and some of its concepts even though I was raised as a christian in my family but we 'won't go there'.

I'm sure it's obvious I have a very limited education of world religions, and have been slowly reading up about all the 'alternatives'. I still find flaws but to date, the closest religion I find favour with has been Hinduism.

African religions and the concepts of animism are a whole new area and concept to me. And an area of great interest to me. I think Christianity can shackle the mindset and turn people away from appreciating the inherent beauty in other religions. Whereas I always believed that the side benefit of total faith and devotion to any religion was to free the mind, not harness it. Frown

I don't know about anyone else, but once I have 'questions' about certain things I find those books with the answers I need find me... Which only starts a whole set of new questions, and a new search for more information LOL!! And I love it. Wink
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quote:
Originally posted by art_gurl:
hello Rowe, thanks for contributing. African religions and the concepts of animism are a whole new area and concept to me. And an area of great interest to me. I think Christianity can shackle the mindset and turn people away from appreciating the inherent beauty in other religions.


This topic is of great interest to me as well. However, because of the diversity of African cultures, and its widespread aspects, I reject the simplistic use of attributive terms such as "ancestor worship," "fetishism," and "animism" as definitions of African religion. Even among converts to Islam or Christianity, you will find elements of traditional African spirituality. In the Hebrew Bible, for example, animal sacrifices are common, rituals are performed, polygamy is an acceptable form of marriage, proverbs, riddles, and myths are shared, yet very few people associate Christianity to fetishism or animism. In regards to Christianity shackling the mindset of its followers, I will have to agree with your observation. However, I believe the shackling of the Western mindset is more of a consequence of living in a society that nurses a deepseated hatred towards difference. Christianity has been used to justify this hatred.

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