Animals, Religion and the Environment

From all-creatures.org
ARCHIVE OF COMMENTS AND DISCUSSIONS
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Our subjects cover: animals, religion (Christian, Jewish and others); diet and lifestyle (vegan and vegetarian); and other miscellaneous subjects.

Animals, Religion and the Environment
Comments by A. L. - 20 Sep 2007

These Comments on based upon the Article: Animals, Religion and the Environment

I'll try any message or method to get people to conserve natural habitat and be good environmental stewards. Unfortunately, Jewish laws (and thus the Bible) are not the best places to start--unless of course one is talking to Christians who believe that the Bible is the word of God and thus they will not behave righteously towards the earth unless it can be found (or showed to them) that it is in some way sinful if one transgresses against the land.

The Bible unfortunately, has mixed messages about the preservation of the earth. One is told to have "dominion" over the land (whether that is a correct translation or not) and many Christians (especially the fundamentalists) will use that passage as a convenient excuse to rape the land at will. Christianity is after, I believe, a religion that promotes narcissistic (or egocentric) behavior because it has less to do with behaving well and honorably for the extrinsic sake of doing so than it does for the quid pro quo effect of "I am doing this in order to reap my personal salvation" which is something done for an intrinsic effect. It is essentially about self-love and not for the love of others or the love of the land.

Nonetheless, like I said in the beginning: If this works then go for it. You will note however that the quotes you use are primarily about fruit baring trees and not about nature in general. The Jews (and we must think in the context of the times in which these texts were written) were not concerned with environmental protection (their world's population was minuscule when compared to what their region has now) and their need to preserve fruit trees (as a law given in the Torah) was because, in fact, people were already abusing nature: They were destroying the trees that fed them.

It would seem that humans have a predilection towards avaricious behavior; they are rapacious by nature. Is Christian or Jewish doctrine a good place to teach respect for nature? Probably not. But again, if it works on some people then go for it.

A. L.

Texas