Response to Week 4, Prompt 2: Stewardism and Religion

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Religion can certainly have an enormous impact on environmental ideals as we have read about in terms of Abrahamic and Non-Abrahamic cultures. Whether it is good or bad is a question that is highly individualized and difficult to answer clearly. Forms of Chrisitanity based on the book of Genesis (Lynn White) make non-human goods into instruments, while Judaism (also based on Genesis) has a stronger stewardship component. No universal religion will arise anytime soon, but through a pluralistic system, we may be able to exentuate the stewardship that many religions have in common. I believe that the idea of respect and reverence found throughout all religion is the one that has great power to guide large quantities of people in positive ways.

I have not been a very religious person growing up, but I see religion as a great way to institute ethical values in large masses. The power of some religions to help people through grief and look forward to an afterlife is comforting, but it can be done in more sustainable ways. We need to take a more “earth-centered” approach that focuses on the ecological system that we are a part of. Whether religion is “good” or “bad” for the environment is highly dependent on the situation of the world. In such a world where human population is growing at great rates, I think we must use religion as an important tool to re-focus ideals towards human/nature harmony. Green Buddhism seems pretty cool to me.

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