Response to Week 4, Prompt 2

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This is one of the most interesting prompts I have seen so far, because it begins to address an ethical dilemma I often think about. The issue is that of developing countries. As these countries develop their economies, and do so by exploiting their natural resources (as all of the current first world countries did) they are going to increasingly contribute to global environmental problems such as climate change.  The ethical issue arises when other countries or the U.N try to impose restrictions on how these countries develop in order to protect the environment. These other countries are merely trying to obtain the high standard of living that has been obtained elsewhere on the globe, is it ethical for those who already have achieved this high standard of living to forbid them to use the same methods other nations used in the past?

Here is a place where religion can have a big impact, the question being whether the impact will be positive or negative. Due to how open almost are religions are to interpretation, I think that it could very easily swing either way. If the members of a prominent religion within a developing nation choose to adopt or follow closely religious teachings that preach value of the environment and interconnectedness (such as those discussed in Buddhism) then the country might be encouraged to pursue a more economically sustainable development strategy. However, if the majority of a developing nation chooses to follow one interpretation of the Bible, specifically the interpretation that Man has dominion over the Earth and that it was put here for our use, than the country might develop with little or no credence paid to the environmental problems its development might cause.

My personal experience with faith and spirituality probably contributes to my thinking of it as something that is not concrete, or very open to interpretation. I do not prescribe to any religious beliefs myself, and I amazed by how often certain religious texts and traditions can be used to argue two different sides of the same issue. My motivation for being environmentally conscious does not stem from any faith-based or spiritual belief, and this probably is why I am skeptical of using religion to solve environmental crises. 

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One response »

  1. People often talk about religion as the end all to all our problems. We constantly fight which religion is better and which religion has all the answers to all our problems. I believe that even though these religions have all of the components to succeed and live in a world of peace and harmony with the human species and nature, it has yet to happen because people just claim a religion title and do little to practice it. Change will come from within each and every individual and not just a religion title that one takes up. Often people blame the Christians for how our world is today, but if everyone that claimed to be a Christian followed the Christian beliefs it would mean to live in harmony with nature and treat other how you would like to be treated including the environment and all of God’s creation. Lots of people claim to be something they are not and the religion gets blamed for their wrong doing and irrational actions. To me the practice of religion is like going to school. We learn the basics in school, but it is up to each of us as individuals to choose whether we want to apply what we learned or not. I don’t think there is one right or one wrong religion, I think if we each practice what is preached the world would be a lot better place.

    I agree with Ben when it comes to addressing the ethical issues of today. What gives us the right to tell these third world countries that they can’t sell their land, when we ourselves have done it. I think instead of forbidding them from doing what these higher nations have done we should help them find an alternative to make income with these lands without hurting it. Show them an alternative option to use that land, but not hurt it. Higher nations have the capacity, the technology, and incomes to come up with such plans to educate and aid the not so powerful nations. If we could help each other and teach each other to conserve the world’s benefits, we can help each other thrive along with the world.

    My personal decision to be environmentally friendly and respect the world comes from my practices and teachings as a Christian, what I have learned and being taught in school as a student, and my personal choice to respect all of Gods creations. By living my life based on such values, I believe I can reach a level that I will not harm our world and instead only help it prosper and grow.

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