Buddhism is a world religion that believes in being compassionate toward all living things, especially the environment. It was under a Bodhi tree that Siddartha became the enlightened Buddha so that he could spread the teachings of how to relieve human suffering, and in doing so, he revolutionized Hindu thought. According to Religious Tolerance (2006), “Buddhist reality is profoundly ecological, and Buddhism itself is an ecological religion”. The Buddha taught that having compassion and caring for life and the natural world is vital to our existence.
Absolutely! I can’t speak for any other religions, but the Catholic faith puts a lot of emphasis on caring for the environment. St. Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of ecology and my family has had a little statue of him above our fireplace for as long as I can remember.
Surprisingly, a lot of religions actually have environmentalism worked into them. In ancient times, religions frequently focused on the role that the Earth as a whole played in human’s lives, as evinced by their worship of Earth gods, sea gods, fertility gods, etc. The importance of the world as a whole to human life has carried over into modern religions, though it may have been largely forgotten in modern times. Faced with the environmental problems that we are all experiencing today, many religious people are returning to these forgotten passages, and referencing them as proof that we need to pay more attention to the way we treat the planet. From the Christian perspective, for example, God created everything, including the Earth, and thus the Earth is sacred. By disrespecting the Earth we show a disrespect for God himself.
Druidism is a recognized religion in the U.K. Druids worship the earth and sun and pray to spirits that they believe inhabit natural places. Druidism is linked to Celtic and Pagan religions of old Europe, and draws many traditions from the history of these religions. Druids have a deep respect for nature and seasonal cycles that they view as sacred. Many new converts are drawn to the religion because of the emphasis on protection of the Earth and forces of nature. Shintoism also have a deep reverence for natural forces such as the, “divine winds”. All Shinto shrines are in serene natural places such as caves, grottos, groves, or manmade gardens.
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