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Ecotheology, Ecojustice, and World Religions

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Dissident Heart

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Re: Ecotheology, Ecojustice, and World Religions

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irishrose: So then the "we, us, this, that, everything and everyone and everywhere" you speak of really only consist of those who subscribe to your brand of theism. Right? As you say, it "must be" (emphasis yours).Hardly, considering I've included the voices of many scientists who don't share my theistic tendencies. The must be in my post means that the religions of the world must come to grips with the impending ecological disaster, if there is to be any hope for meaningful survival. If you are unable to see that, then you are part of the problem...not because you are an atheist, but because you are obtuse.irishrose: You are the dogmatic, dichotomy-invoking theist I was naming.Again, I don't see the dogma in providing multiple perspectives from different traditions and contrary worldviews...choosing to work together. I am dogmatic in accepting the fact of ecological disaster unless radical, lasting and fundamental changes are made. I think the religions of the world have an important part to play in this.irishrose: The assumption being, of course, that if I do not subscribe to your brand of theism I must have an "obtuse disregard" for the significance of nature and how it affects everyone on earth.No, you are obtuse in your unwillingness to see the necessary and valuable role that the religions of the world can, and must, play in solving our shared ecological crises. If you care about the significance of nature and everyone on earth, you will reconsider the role of religion in this shared stuggle.irishrose: Your insistence that religion "must be" used in every aspect of global issues.Again, the must be goes two ways: religions must take the ecological threat seriously; and the ecological threat must employ the religions of the world as part of the solution.
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Re: Ecotheology, Ecojustice, and World Religions

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Now let me clarify my issue:D.H.: But I don't know how you could understand the subject without personal experience?But can't that personal experience come within the fields themselves, without the trappings of religious education or religious inspiration?So my question to you, D.H.: can one understand the efforts of civil service; of servitude to humanity; of trying to personally sacrifice more than one has taken, without adopting theistic traditions? Is it possible?I think that is the only point I have been trying to make. I can understand how civil disobedience works without fully understanding what inspired MLK's method. I have participated in such demonstrations. I have done so without religion being publicly utilized as an inspiration among any of the participants I encountered in such demonstrations, including organizers.Likewise, can I contribute to environmental conservation without revering the practices of the religious, or religious scientists? Can I choose a different vehicle for my efforts?Are only those who incorporate your brand of preaching into their social efforts the sole contributors to humanity; or is it possible to contribute without participating in religion?I hold that it is infinitely possible to understand the subject of social efforts without having personal experience in religion (or with only having the minute, inconsequential experience you attribute to me, personally).If you think it is possible for the atheist to contribute, without adopting your brand of theism, then perhaps you could take more care with your dichotomous statements. If you think it impossible, then perhaps you should take your brand of preaching and theism elsewhere.D.H.: but don't make judgements if you haven't examined the information.And, likewise, I would ask you to not make judgments about the social/civil/environmental, etc. efforts atheists, and others not willing to share their religion, make without examining those very efforts. Certainly refrain from calling them contributors to the very catastrophes they are raging against.D.H.: Then, you might say, as you did, that I lived a religious life and knew it quite well for a number of years and decided over time that it wasn't for me. Fine. I respect that.I do not take issue with the negative judgment you make about my personal philosophical/belief choices. I am accustomed to theists judging my belief system. It is part and parcel of the theist world. I do, however, take issue with you passing judgment on my ability to participate in social issues without subscribing to religion. It is possible. I personally do it. As I have mentioned before, I think the answers to global issues will come outside of the religious realm. Not to say that people who are religious cannot contribute to the solutions (a claim you revel in contributing to me). Just that it will be human efforts, theist and atheist alike, that will eventually resolve global issues, not religion.(Just as a quick aside, D.H. Considering that my interest in social issues
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Re: Ecotheology, Ecojustice, and World Religions

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irishrose: But can't that personal experience come within the fields themselves, without the trappings of religious education or religious inspiration?I'm not sure what fields you're referring to here. If the field is social and environmental justice, then I do not think religious education or religious inspiration are necessary; but I do think if substanstive, lasting change is sought, then common cause and alliances must be made across secular and religious divides. I am not the best example of this message, and I hope my own limitations don't impede its progress. But I think it's a message that is eminently reasonable and should be taken to heart by intelligent and compassionate people who care about justice and love the earth.Still, as your last comment (hardly an aside in my opinion) states, Considering that my interest in social issues
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Re: Ecotheology, Ecojustice, and World Religions

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D.H.: I'm not sure what fields you're referring to here. If the field is social and environmental justice, Yes, I apologize for the vague reference.D.H.: I am not the best example of this message, and I hope my own limitations don't impede its progress. I think, perhaps, this is so. And I don't mean this as an attack, as a lot of my most recent posts directed at you have been. But to be genuinely honest with you, D.H., I think you--whether intentionally or not--make implicit in many of your posts the dichotomous conflict with which I was taking issue. I will not repeat them here, but many of them are clear above. If you wish to find common cause with the secular community, accusing them of contributing to global destruction is less than helpful. This is, to me, infinitely different than the issue you take with atheists who criticize theism, as I address below. D.H.: I think this shared hope in the impossible and delusional drive to heal the planet is where my theism and your humanism can find a common ground.I hope this is possible too. To clarify, however, common ground for me would require that I would not be forced to participate in religious activities, that would include being subjected to theistic preaching. That is not to say I would reject education of any kind, be it religious history, comparative religion or otherwise.D.H.: in we want to address our shared ecological threats we need to lift up those religious elements that speak to environmental sanity and care for creation; If the religious community wishes to establish liturgical relevance to environmental issues, they are well within their right. And I would respect any efforts at conservation, whether it is religiously or secularly inspired. But I, personally, would not encourage any religious elements (by this I mean any elements that sustain faith in an intelligent, interested, world-creating entity). I, however, do not feel that this means I cannot find common ground with those who do wish to incorporate religion into their efforts.D.H.: we need to support those "green congregations" across the planet who are working to change the personal habits, institutional practices, social policies, and economic systems that are bringing us closer to the tipping point of biospheric no return. I absolutely support any substantial, positive efforts at environmental conservation, even if the methods are, at times, contrary to my belief system. I just think the common ground will have to be found outside of our independent belief systems. I also have some specific questions about how religious doctrine and environmental conservation are resolvable on some issues.D.H.: I think attacking them as superstitious cowards (a generally common description on Booktalk) I agree that calling anyone a "superstitious coward" is likely to make an enemy of them. And I recognize that having your personal belief system lumped with fundamentalists can be insulting. However, criticizing a belief and criticizing a person, specifically a person's to contributions to society because of their different beliefs, are two different things. Atheists can respect efforts of the theistic community, without respecting some of their belief system. Likewise, I imagine, theists can respect efforts of the atheistic community, without respecting their belief system. I think it is possible to make common cause with theists, specifically about social issues, without supporting their personal beliefs. It is the individual's efforts and achievements I respect, not necessarily the inspiration for those achievements.I don't, therefore, think the atheist-specific writing that criticizes religious faith necessarily detracts from those religious peoples' efforts to address global issues. In the same way I don't think theists' criticisms of atheists' lack of faith interferes with their efforts. The philosophical discussion of theism vs. atheism is separate to me than the issue of atheists and theists working together on the common global issues you and I have been talking about.D.H.: I hope I've clarified that I do not hold this position.Well I recognize that you have stated as much; and I trust your statement that the references were not intentional. But I must admit, I will not be exposing my jaw anytime soon. The proof shall be in the pudding, as they say.D.H.: I think the issue is what we mean by subscribing to a religion. What I mean is participation or faith in any religion (specifically faith in an intelligent, interested, world-creating deity) and the resultant prayers, rituals, etc. D.H.: I think real inter-religious dialogue can only take place between people who speak from who they are and where they call home.I hope, D.H., that along with that inter-religious dialogue, you are willing to incorporate an extra-religious dialogue, in order to include the secular world.
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Re: Ecotheology, Ecojustice, and World Religions

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irishrosem: I don't, therefore, think the atheist-specific writing that criticizes religious faith necessarily detracts from those religious peoples' efforts to address global issues. In the same way I don't think theists' criticisms of atheists' lack of faith interferes with their efforts. The philosophical discussion of theism vs. atheism is separate to me than the issue of atheists and theists working together on the common global issues you and I have been talking about.I think this is a critical point for all of us to keep in mind in these discussions. All of us, theists and atheists, alike presumably respect the right of others to believe or not to believe whatever they like (with the rather obvious caveat that such beliefs give no one the right to harm another person or group of people). But respect for the right to believe does not translate into respect for the beliefs themselves. The notion that because an atheist says unkind things about theisms or a theist says unkind things about atheism, they are forever estranged in all other areas as well is just silly. We can certainly disagree about gods and religions while agreeing with one another and working together on human rights campaigns or environmental campaigns or a host of other worthwhile causes that affect all of us, the religious and the nonreligious alike.At some point, and it may well be we're already there, humankind must look past the parochialisms of nationalities and religions and seek the broad common ground on which we all must stand if we are to survive. George "Godlessness is not about denying the existence of nonsensical beings. It is the starting point for living life without them."Godless in America by George A. Ricker
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Re: Ecotheology, Ecojustice, and World Religions

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irishrose: If you wish to find common cause with the secular community, accusing them of contributing to global destruction is less than helpful.Both secular and religious have contributed to our impending global destruction. I think there's an important place for contrition for all parties. Perhaps another common ground can be found where all of us are on our collective knees admitting to our ignorance, forgiving one another for our shared stupidity, and looking at each other's guilty faces free of denial or avoidance. Coming clean about our roles in the mess, religious and secular, is an important first step.irishrose: To clarify, however, common ground for me would require that I would not be forced to participate in religious activities, that would include being subjected to theistic preaching.What if instead of being forced, you were invited? What if the invitation came from a place of genuine hospitality and generosity, and not a desire to convert or capture your soul? Are you able to accept that some religious ceremonies operate from a place of hospitality and generosity, and that your participating in them would not be an act of forced submission, but simply sharing in the celebration of a community that does not share your entire worldview?irishrose: I also have some specific questions about how religious doctrine and environmental conservation are resolvable on some issues.So do I. What are yours?irishrose: I hope, D.H., that along with that inter-religious dialogue, you are willing to incorporate an extra-religious dialogue, in order to include the secular world.Well, I did include An Urgent Call to Action: Scientists and Evangelicals Unite to Protect Creation above with quotations from both scientists and religious leaders. I haven't included EO Wilson's book The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth in this thread yet, but I have in others. Here's a link to a conversation between himself and two prominent leaders in the religious community who are active in environmental issues from Audubon Magazine: Can religion and environmentalism find common ground in the 21st century?garicker: The notion that because an atheist says unkind things about theisms or a theist says unkind things about atheism, they are forever estranged in all other areas as well is just silly.I agree that there are areas beyond theology and discussions about religion that theists/atheists/agnostics can (and must) find important common ground. I think our common ecological threat is one such place. Perhaps it can become a sacred place, where theists and atheists put down their swords and shields and build a new kind of solidarity that transcends tribe, class, language, nation and ideology? Perhaps in this sacred place we can learn a new kind of reverence and love for not only the earth, but all of its inhabitents, including each other?Part of that reverence will involve, I hope, a new care for the language we use: realizing that people are not machines but emotional beings who take things to heart and have deep personal commitments to the traditions they belong to and the religious ideas that permeate them. In other words, criticisms are taken personally because our ideas of personhood, personality, and personal worth are intimately bound within these religious frameworks. It's difficult to trust or share common cause with someone who thinks the most important thing in your life is delusional nonsense. This goes both ways, no doubt.
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Re: Live Earth

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Just dropping this link off. Thought it was topical. Gore is organizing a 24 hour concert on all seven continents to raise awareness about global warming. The U.S. city has yet to be chosen. I'm always curious how effective these concerts (Live Eight, Live Aid) are.
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Re: Ecotheology, Ecojustice, and World Religions

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D.H.: What if instead of being forced, you were invited? What if the invitation came from a place of genuine hospitality and generosity, and not a desire to convert or capture your soul? Hmmmmm....D.H.: Are you able to accept that some religious ceremonies operate from a place of hospitality and generosity, and that your participating in them would not be an act of forced submission, but simply sharing in the celebration of a community that does not share your entire worldview? I'm able to accept the idea of hospitable and generous religious ceremonies, I just don't want to participate in any ceremony that recognizes, prays to, sings to, promotes faith in an intelligent, interested deity, while engaged in any of my social efforts, regardless of how friendly that ceremony might be.D.H.: So do I. What are yours?To begin with, I think it's in Matthew, the Sermon on the Mount (and this is definitely paraphrasing): Birds neither plant nor harvest yet they have food enough. Lilies of the field do not spin, yet they are garbed more beautifully than Solomon himself. Do not ask "What shall we eat?" "What shall we drink?" because your father in heaven knows what you need. Leave tomorrow's worries for tomorrow for today has troubles enough. I think the passage even includes the phrase "You of so little faith." So how does Christianity resolve this message which is so important to many of its faithful? If the religious community values that god will care for them, and take care of their needs, how does the ecotheological community make them reevaluate that belief? I understand that this is largely a lecture about not overburdening oneself with physical (i.e. material) concerns. But if people are taught to look to their spiritual world, how do we make them significantly value looking to the physical world?How does eschatology fit into the picture? If the world is to end in a fiery blaze (or however a particular brand of religion describes it), why would protecting the environment be important? Doesn't Revelations claim that god will destroy and then re-create the world? Likewise, some sects believe in an imminent and necessary end to the physical world, how would they perceive environmentalism? Wouldn't environmental conservation actually run contrary to their religious goals/desires?We've discussed many religions' tendency to split the world into dichotomies. So how does ecotheology deal with religious-inspired dichotomies such as earth/heaven; body/soul; beings without souls (animals)/beings with souls (humans)? Specifically, how are earth, the body and nature sufficiently valued if they are viewed as the opposing and deficient halves to heaven, the soul, and humans?Many Christian religions supported and embraced the technological advances of the industrial revolution. Some feel it is man's place to rule over the earth
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Re: Ecotheology, Ecojustice, and World Religions

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Irishrosem: Would that "new care for the language we use" include a consideration of religious terminology such as "sacred"?One can only hope.George "Godlessness is not about denying the existence of nonsensical beings. It is the starting point for living life without them."Godless in America by George A. Ricker
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Re: Live Earth

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Thank you for the link to the Live Earth tour, irishrosem. The USA location is still to be determined. If it's close to me, I'd go to see the Chili Peppers, Bon Jovi, Korn, and Foo Fighters.
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