Religion and geography is the study of the impact of geography, i.e. place and space, on religious belief. Another aspect of the relationship between religion and geography is Traditional cultural geographical approaches to the study of religion mainly seek to determine religion's impact on the landscape. A more. Jews, too, have not regarded the well-being of the physical environment a Jewish The desired relationship between the earth and the human species has not been and religious segregation and integrate into Western society and culture. We are physical beings with material needs for nutritious food, clean air . The complex nature of the relationship between religion, health and.
People report feeling at peace when immersed in nature and often report a sense of being part of something larger R. Kaplan, ; S. Psychologists have identified a number of barriers to engaging in environmental action that fall broadly within the umbrella terms of uncertainty, apathy and disengagement Gifford, However, they have also mapped certain motivational factors that may help promote pro-environmental behaviors or at the very least environmentally-neutral ones.
Formalized and tight-knit religious communities are, again, well-suited to adopt and propagate norms that promote these environmentally beneficial choices.
Religious organizations and other community groups are well-positioned to adopt new energy-efficient technologies and curtailment behaviors, which may then be more easily disseminated to its members.
As with the civil rights movement in the s, religious groups have the ability to serve as central hubs, instigating transformational change in a broad network. As the remainder of this review will illustrate, many religious groups have taken steps to galvanize their members and become more engaged with the natural world but there remain others who view their identities as unrelated or incompatible with these issues.
This review will examine the structure of religious identity as it impacts environmental engagement. This engagement can take many forms, such as environmental stewardship, sustainability for future generations, mutual dependence between humans and their land, or viewing the earth and its vital resources as a sacred gift.
Each of these forms may have distinct and significant implications for environmental outcomes, and may shape our shared future in the decades to come. Western Religion—Pathways to Ecological Concern The psychological exploration of the theological underpinnings of ecological concern grew out of the assumption that certain religions were more likely to promote environmental action than others.
This perspective has long since been understood as being overly simplistic and subject to multitudinous contextual, cultural, sociological and historical effects. This section begins with an example from one of the early approaches i. These theologies, he claims, possessed unique origin narratives which sharply delineated between humans and nature, giving the former dominion over the latter.
White called for an abandonment of traditional Judeo-Christian values and their consequent cultural perspectives on the role of nature as servicing the needs of humankind, and reformulating it by viewing nature and humans as equal and interconnected.
Religion and geography
There is some empirical support for this proposition. In testing the White hypothesis, Hand and Van Liere found that Judeo-Christians are more likely than others to advocate humans control over nature and tend to have lower levels of environmental concern. They also found that those members of more conservative denominations are more likely to have a dominion framework. However, this perspective on Judeo-Christian teleology of nature has also been contested in the decades since the original White thesis was published.
Not only does it contain different denominations, sects and interpretations of religious doctrines, but within each of these sub-groups exist individual-level variations in factors such as spiritual engagement, formal affiliation, ceremony attendance and scriptural knowledge.
- Religious Identity, Beliefs, and Views about Climate Change
- Culture, spirituality, religion and health: looking at the big picture
Therefore, the cultural mores of any particular religious congregation, which result from interactions between these two levels of communication, may have more to do with the relationship between religious affiliation and environmental beliefs and behaviors than the scripture or doctrine of any particular religion, as postulated by the White thesis.
Viewing religious membership as a continually evolving process allows for flexibility and variation in environmental engagement. This perspective on religion can explain, to some extent, the mixed nature of findings which have attempted to validate the Lynn White thesis. Although a number of studies have found support for Judeo-Christian beliefs as suppressing environmental concern, there are a large number of others which have found no effect Koehrsen,or found that certain Christian orientations, such as the idea of humans as stewards of a God-created environment can even promote pro-environmental action Chuvieco, One leader, in particular, noted: Eschatological Beliefs In addition to promoting a dominion framework of human-environment interaction, it has been proposed that Christian eschatological beliefs also pose a problem for promoting ecological concern.
This perspective, once again, claims that adherence to Judeo-Christian beliefs reifies the distinction between humans and the natural environment, by setting the Earth as simply one step on a road to eternal life Phan, It appears likely that the influence of eschatological beliefs on environmental concern interacts with religious literalism, yet these results are still suggestive in showing that a shortened temporal horizon of the fate of the world may reduce environmental concern.
One empirical explanation of why eschatological beliefs inhibit environmental concern is that end-of-time believers prefer shorter-term over longer-term consumption due to a shortened time horizon.
Another, which has yet to be empirically tested, is that it is not religious eschatology per se which inhibits ecological concern, but rather the despair which accompanies a focus on the end of the world as we know it. A secularist eschatology which stresses the inevitability or irreparability of environmental deterioration may not only foster similar apathy but, unlike religious end-of-times thinking, cause despair with no means of assuaging it Simkins, Non-Judeo-Christian Religions and the Human-Nature Relationship As mentioned at the outset, the goal of this review is not to enumerate the extent to which religious theologies are interwoven with ecological sustainability objectives.
However, the Lynn White thesis implicates a particular theology in the current environmental crisis while acquitting others. We thus turn to those non-western religious perspectives which have been supposed to foster conceptions of harmony in human-nature relationships.
Human-Nature Connectedness Most Eastern religions, particularly Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Taoism, are thought to emphasize the connection between humans and their natural environments. In Buddhism, for example, humans and other living beings are united in the suffering they face and the choices they make Swearer, Hinduism and Jainism create an explicit connection between humans and all other living things through the concepts of karma and reincarnation, with every living thing obliged to abide by its own set of duties through the course of its life Chapple, All in all, wellbeing comes from being connected and engaged, from being suspended in a web of relationships and interests.
Many of the sources of wellbeing are interrelated, the relationships between sources and wellbeing are often reciprocal, and one source can compensate, at least partly, for the lack of another. People can find meaning in life at a variety of levels. Many people today find meaning in the pursuit of personal goals. There is also the level of identity with a nation or ethnic group, and with a community. At the most fundamental, transcendent level, there is spiritual meaning.
Spirituality represents the broadest and deepest form of connectedness. It is the most subtle, and therefore easily corrupted, yet perhaps also the most powerful. History suggests that a measure of both balance and stability in meaning in life is crucial to personal wellbeing and social cohesion. When too much meaning is attached to things that are fragile, transient or ephemeral, disappointment and failure become more likely.
But the imbalance can also be in the other direction, with the search for meaning and belonging ending in the total subjugation of the self — in, for example, religious fundamentalism or nationalistic fanaticism. Many sources of psychological wellbeing are also related to physical health, including longevity.
For example, socially isolated people are two to five times more likely to die in a given year than those with strong ties to family, friends and community. Some argue that the association is not robust and may depend upon unknown confounders and covariates. Furthermore, the mainly statistical correlations on which the associations between religion and health are based barely scratch the surface of the role of spirituality. Its nature is mysterious and elusive, making it extraordinarily difficult for science to define and measure.
Integration is optimal when the two sides are in balance, and part of this balance requires constraining human needs. I have written about their influence on health elsewhere. Historically, individualism was concerned with freeing the individual from social regulation, including by the Church. But, as sociologists have noted, it is a two-edged sword: He considers the effects of pollution, not on natural environment, but on humans.
More specifically, he is concerned with the problem of environmental justice. Diamond shows that halakhic sources struggled with the tension between personal and conventional standards, established the parameters of unacceptable pollution, were aware of the difference between inflicting nuisance or discomfort and causing economic deprivation, and that they have evolved over time because they addressed changing life circumstances.
While Diamond reasons within the parameters of Jewish legal sources, the ramifications of his essay extend beyond the boundaries of Jewish society, for whom this reasoning is normative. He convincingly argues that halakhic reasoning about notions of conventionality and equity in environmental matters could be applied meaningfully to the problem of global warming.
Such application requires a careful analysis of concrete human situations as well as a creative analysis of Jewish legal sources.
The same interpretative creativity can be applied to the nonlegal rabbinic sources that expressed rabbinic theology and shaped religious practices. Kraemer advances our understanding of Jewish views on the relationship between humans and nature by looking at death rituals.
On the basis of a comparative analysis with Zoroastrian and Egyptian death rituals, he argues that in all human societies death rituals are rooted in a certain view about the origins of humanity. In rabbinic death rituals the dead body was to be placed in the ground immediately after death. While one can rationalize this ritual by appealing to the hot climate of the Near East and the need to avoid early decomposition of the body, Kraemer cogently argues that the rabbinic rationale for the practice was linked to the biblical narrative of human creation.
The Bible, however, has two creation narratives: The two creation narratives have very different consequences concerning the relationship between humans and the natural world. Kraemer shows that rabbinic death rituals privileged the earthbound narrative, thereby signifying the essential link to the natural world. From this, Kraemer derives a rabbinically based ecological ethics: An act of abuse against the natural world is an abuse against humanity, and vice versa.
In his response, Eilon Schwartz clarifies Jewish approaches to the natural world by delineating four models. The first focuses on human rationality and posits an instrumental attitude toward nature.
Schwartz admits that this model, in which human rationality manipulates the world to satisfy human needs, makes Judaism susceptible to the accusation of the environmental movement that Judaism endorses human domination of nature.
Yet, the Bible offers a second model that affirms human responsibility toward the earth, highlighting the partnership of humans with the earth and its inhabitants.How Culture Drives Behaviours - Julien S. Bourrelle - TEDxTrondheim
The Doctrine of Creation All Jewish reflections about the natural world, as Michael Wyscho-grod has already noted, take their point of departure from the belief that God created the world and that God is the source of the moral order. The third section of the volume examines more carefully the doctrine of creation in the Bible, rabbinic texts, and Jewish philosophy.
Religion and geography - Wikipedia
The Book of Job is the earliest manifestation of this problem. According to Geller, the book reflected a crisis of faith in Israel during the sixth century BCE, after the destruction of the First Temple. The ancient Wisdom tradition saw the origin of nature and the origin of the moral order to be the same. Wise is the one who observes nature and knows how to live rightly in accord with it.
By contrast, the new Deuteronomic faith posited a covenant law that is discussed in terms of Sinaitic revelation. The author of the Book of Job does not resolve the tension logically, but the book ends with an emotional solution to the tension.
For the philosophers, the laws of nature, in principle, could not contradict the truths of revealed Scripture, and it is the task of the Jewish wise man to sort out the relationship between knowledge about the natural world and the true meaning of revealed Scripture.
Focusing on the Jewish philosophical tradition, David Novak explores how the doctrine of creation relates to the idea of nature, and more specifically to the concept of natural law. Writing both as a historian of Jewish thought and as a constructive Jewish theologian, Novak argues that in the classical sources of Judaism—especially in medieval Jewish philosophy—there is an elaborate discussion of natural law.
The relationship between the doctrine of creation and the doctrine of revelation has to be configured in the context of a natural law theory. Novak argues that all theories of natural law are necessarily teleological and that they presuppose a hierarchical order of the universe. His views are shaped by the philosophy of Franz Rosenzweig — Novak argues, therefore, that nature cannot be grasped as a mere given, or an abstraction of the human mind.
Whereas Novak focused on the philosophical interpretations of the doctrine of creation, Neil Gillman looks at the link between the doctrine of creation and Jewish liturgy and ritual. Jewish rituals express the underlying theology of rabbinic Judaism better than Jewish philosophical theology. Gillman shows how the Jewish marriage ceremony and the prayer of the morning service are organized on the basis of the doctrine of creation that is the linchpin of the sacred narrative of Judaism.
Again in agreement with Kraemer, Gillman shows that the rabbis privileged the earthbound creation narrative in Genesis 2: He shows how the rabbis intentionally changed the biblical phrase Isaiah In the response to these three papers, Jon D.
Nature and Revealed Morality If it is true, as Novak claims, that verbal revelation is the only context through which Jews can experience the natural world, how does revelation organize Jewish attitude toward nature? In traditional Judaism revelation is understood to be the origin of morality, and so how does morality, the prescriptions and prohibitions of Judaism, relate to the natural world?
Does morality, as articulated in the Torah, stand in opposition to nature? Is the human called by God to transform nature?