Religion and Environment Problems

Topics: Religion, Natural environment, Environment Pages: 3 (996 words) Published: May 4, 2008
Environmental Problems and Religion
The treatment of nature has been debatable for as long as people have existed. People learn how to treat the environment from different sources such as their parents, education, and media. These all influence people’s treatment of environment, but Lynn White Jr. suggests a different contributor to environmental treatment, religion. In “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis,” White believes that environmental problems are caused by religion and therefore must look towards religion for the answer. I believe religion can help solve the environmental crisis, but is not the main solution. In the end, education will fundamentally be the solution to the environmental problems the world faces today.

In the beginning, White provides examples to support his belief that the roots of our environmental problems are religious. To begin his argument, White states, “human ecology is deeply conditioned by beliefs about our nature and destiny-that is, by religion” (48-49). White believes that the victory of Christianity over paganism was the greatest accomplishment in our culture and because of this; we have and still are continuing to live according to the Christian faith. White further establishes that the fact Christianity has a remarkable creation story of a God who created nature for deposal of humans, thus leading Christianity to be the most anthropocentric religion in the world. One-way people have interpreted the Genesis story is that they view it as God’s will for humans to exploit nature for their gain (49). While other religions, such as paganism, believe they have to make peace with animism before cutting down a tree, Christianity substitutes the belief of objects with souls with saints to avoid conflict with abusing nature. White says it best in, “Man’s effective monopoly on spirit in this world was confirmed, and the old inhibitions to the exploitation of nature crumbled” (49). The belief in animism was the only thing...
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